In celebration of World Gin Day on 8 June, and in commiseration at the end of Game of Thrones, James Newman presents The top 3 Gins of the North…
The hugely successful HBO series, Game of Thrones, has ended (don’t worry, no spoilers here). To lift our spirits we are, well, lifting our spirits – with a World Gin Day tribute to the World of Westeros. I’ve trawled the moorland and dales of the North to find you some of the best Gins our Kingdom has to offer. Paying juniper-homage to Winterfell, here are my Gins in the North…
Alnwick is an historic market town in Northumberland. Famous for its medieval castle (which acted as ‘Hogwarts’ in Harry Potter filming), the town now hosts its own distillery, started in 2016 in the owner’s shed. The inspiration for the distillery was owner, Neil’s, memories of his Grandad Willy’s own home-brews, made with ingredients foraged from the moorland surrounding his home. Thankfully now on a slightly larger premises, Alnwick Gin has already won accolades, with a silver medal at the 2018 London Spirit Competition.
This is one of my favourite gins. It has a wild, botanical taste and a gorgeously smooth finish. It has 11 botanicals including: black pepper, cardamom, coriander, rosemary, rosehip, lavender and fennel.
Alnwick Gin & Lixir Indian Tonic, with a slice of pink grapefruit, and slapped rosemary. Alternatively, serve with ginger ale and red apple.
Bottles start at £16.00 and can be purchased here.
PURPLE RAM GIN
Sarah and Tony Brotherton settled in a small village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and established Yorkshire Dales Distillery in April 2016. Tony’s grandparents, who lived in a farm cottage, were the original G&T fans inspiring a passion for home grown quality and the finest natural ingredients. Grandad used to scrimp on the gin for himself if times were hard but he always made sure that Grandma had her share.
There is a rapidly growing team at the Distillery and the employment and training of veterans, ex-offenders, young people and the long term unemployed is prioritised. There are two stills at Yorkshire Dales Distillery both of which incorporate copper plated columns and enable the flavouring of spirits through 100% vapour infusion. It is these features and the properties of the ancient natural mineral water from Swaledale, that helps to make Purple Ram so smooth.
Inspired by the rugged and challenging beauty of its home, the Yorkshire Dales, many of their Purple Ram Gin’s ingrediants are sourced or created locally including a honey drawn from hives less than a mile from the Distillery.
Exceptionally smooth, quadruple distilled and 100% vapour infused through select Yorkshire botanicals, including local honey. A sweet nose of spicy orange, a smooth citrus palate and a balanced juniper finish.
Serve with a premium light tonic and serve with pink grapefruit and fresh basil.
Bottles start at £13.95 and can be purchased here.
The Hepple Distillery was founded in one of Britain’s last wild sanctuaries in the remote moors of Northumberland, to create spirits in high fidelity. The owners have created an expressive and experimental laboratory seeking to distil the tastes of nature with their innovative triple technique.
The story began with the green juniper on the hills of the Hepple estate and the generations of old bushes that thrive there. The aim was to bring juniper back to the heart of gin. By combining a fresh source of juniper with a pioneering distilling process, Hepple Gin was created.
Since launching Hepple Gin in 2015, the distillery has won the prestigious Double Gold Award at the San Francisco Spirits Awards in 2017 and has also developed a sustainable juniper propagation programme on the moors around the site in association with Northumberland National Park, Newcastle University and Hepple Whitefield Farm.
Through a combination of outstanding technology and exceptional sensitivity to the environment, they make spirits that taste as alive in the glass as in the wild.
This gin features green junipers, Douglas Fir pines, fennel, liquorice and fennel. On the nose, there are immediate scents of green apple, grapefruit and spicy juniper, which opens into the notes of Douglas Fir, raspberry and blackcurrant. Initials taste gives zesty citrus, melon and fragrant juniper. There is a long finish where sandalwood and cedar compliment blackcurrant and liquorice.
A classic Gin & Tonic with lemon brings out the best in this gin. However, ‘The Hepple Martini’ is worth a try. This sees 150ml of Hepple Gin and 20ml of vermouth stirred into a mixing jug of ice, before straining into two chilled glasses. Lemon rind can be wiped around the rim of the glass.
Bottles can be purchased here.
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