Craft distilleries are popping up in all sorts of unusual places, from former welding shops to woodworking studios, as a new generation of UK & European distillers focuses on bringing the best of their range to you this Christmas. These unique small batch spirits will make great gifts for the cocktail lovers in your life – or add some spice to your own bar for holiday entertaining.
London, UK & EU Craft Spirits
Hands down my favourite London spirit. Hear Tomas and I have a chinwag on #TheReastauRANT podcast to see why you should part ways with your hard earned cash and add this to your home bar setup.
To give your spirit a name like BOLD, you’d have to be pretty ballsy. Giving a drink an audacious title like bold gives an assumption of strong flavour with a unique taste that can’t be compared. And BOLD is thankfully promising just that.
This spirit is concocted by bartender Tomas Lenko who set out to create something completely unique that could be used by other bartenders when crafting the perfect drink. He was inspired by the lack of bitter spirits around and enraptured by British fruity flavours. BOLD is made quite similarly to gin and could be described as an aperitif. The spirit is distilled and infused with tart sour cherries and 15 botanicals.
Kamm & Sons
It’s not a gin, it’s not a vodka and it’s not a liqueur: this pioneering product is made by timeserved former cocktail king Alex Kammerling, and is described as a ‘British aperitif’. In other words, a London version of Continental pre-dinner hunger-piquers such as Campari. Take a sip of the sunset-hued spirit and see if you can identify every one of the 45 ingredients, which include ginseng, echinacea and fennel seed.
The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum
The Duppy Share is a fine golden Caribbean rum. A perfectly balanced blend from Jamaica and Barbados, this is rum grown up, with real flavour and real character. Bottles come with a beautiful gift bag and recipe cards for you to shake, muddle and stir cocktails at home.
Esker Gin is distilled on Royal Deeside in a traditional copper still with silver birch sap and over a dozen other botanicals. It is a genuinely exclusive, small batch, hand-crafted gin blended with pure Deeside water to create a spirit with a depth of flavour. Best with tonic over ice and garnished with a twist of orange, it is the perfect bottle for Christmas gift or festive party.
JENSEN OLD TOM GIN
Most of the gin drunk these days is the London dry type, but Old Tom was a slightly sweeter variety popular among the gin fiends of the eighteenth century. This modern version from Bermondsey derives its subtle sweetness and explosive flavours not from sugar but extra handfuls of botanicals. It’s like gin turned up to ten – and it’s the stuff that started the famous London gin craze, so go easy on it, okay?
Want to go see them in person? When you’re down visiting Druid Street and Maltby Street market you can head into their distillery to try it first hand!
This new Hackney Wick distillery describes its gin as ‘light and crispy’, but there’s no crunch here – just a smooth-sippin’, easy-drinkin’ blend of lemongrass, cardamom, fennel and plenty of other tasty aromatics. So good, and so Londony, it’ll have you singing ‘gin gin ger-ee’ with every sip, like a merry Dick Van Dyke. Plus, all ingredients are organic, which makes Butler’s almost good for you.
East London Liquor Company London Dry Gin
Known as East London Liquor Company’s hero gin, the London Dry Gin (40% ABV) is distilled using the finest 100% British wheat spirit infused with lemon & grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cubeb berries and cardamom. Produced since 2014, the signature gin is produced in small batches in the distillers beautiful copper still before being infused with the carefully selected botanicals.
LITTLE BIRD LONDON DRY GIN
This glamorous little number is the most exciting drink to come out of Peckham since Del Boy’s piña colada. It’s restrained with the botanicals – citrus, ginger and coriander create a sparklingly exotic flavour that never gets out of hand – which makes it the perfect partner for a good-quality tonic, or as part of a martini. Head to LB’s Maltby Street gin café every weekend to get your hands on a bottle.
And if you like their gin why not drop into their cafe cum bistro in Peckham. We’ve had many an amazing meal there and they may even do gift cards…
Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin
The guys at the Sacred Spirits Company have created this festive themed (and slightly insane)gin. They’ve taken high quality English grain spirit and infused an 8kg Christmas pudding in it for two months, before re-distilling it to produce a transparent, Christmas pudding flavoured gin. Mad, but we love it!
Rock Rose Gin Winter Edition
Crafted especially for Christmas, the husband and wife team behind Dunnet Bay Distillery have hand distilled a unique Winter Edition of their multi award-winning Rock Rose Gin. Featuring the same based botanicals as the lauded original, the Winter Edition also features local spruce tips to give it fresh lemon pine notes, plus the ceramic bottle has received a festive make-over. Rock Rose Gin was launched to critical acclaim in 2015, securing a host of prestigious listings and awards. It features traditional and local botanicals that are hand-foraged from nearby cliffs and forests. In fact it gets its name from the distillery’s first botanical forage along the cliffs of Caithness, where they discovered the Rhodiola rosea (a rose in the rocks) which adds a delicate floral note to the gin.
Silent Pool Gin
Silent Pool Gin is a classic gin at heart. Full-bodied and fresh, with depth, clarity and flavour, Produced with 24 unique botanicals, it’s a rich and clean juniper-driven spirit with floral layers of lavender and chamomile. Fresh notes of citrus and kaffir lime are grounded with the subtle sweetness of local honey. The perfect combination of artistry, craftsmanship and attitude.
Garden Tiger Gin
The Capreolus Distillery produces an incredible range of unique British eaux de vie (fruit brandies that take up to an astonishing 45KG of fruit to produce each litre of spirit) and the UK’s most complex gin, Garden Tiger. Built upon distiller Barney Wilczak’s vast experience of eaux de vie production, the gin is as far from your standard London Dry as you can get. 34 botanicals include myriad flowers, spices, herbs, fruits, organic blood orange drawn from the wild, homegrown and traded – each bottle is a superbly balanced and complex whole. A wonderful present, the presentation extends to UV resistant bottles, natural cork and hand produced letterpress labels. A perfect present indeed.
Wight Mermaids Gin
Feeney’s Irish Cream
A Christmas drinks cabinet wouldn’t be complete without an Irish cream liqueur. Feeney’s Irish Cream is the world’s most luxurious Irish Cream Liqueur and contains 100% Irish grain whiskey masterfully distilled in the heart of Ireland and matured for at least three years.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin
Thomas Dakin Gin
Berkeley Square London Dry Gin