The Great Gin Revival

The Great Gin Revival


From Campari to bourbon, retro spirits and liquers are having something of a revival right now – but if there’s one comeback we’re truly getting behind it’s gin. With the Negroni, Martini and French 75 topping the bill on cocktail menus across the UK and with artisanal distilleries offering us the best sips in town, it would seem that there really is no better time to be a gin lover. We caught up with three of London’s hottest new wave distillers – Sipsmith, Sacred and The London Distillery – to find out what makes gin today so darn good.

Leading the charge in 2006, former City head-hunter Ian Hart set up Sacred Spirits in the kitchen of his Highbury home. Enter the double gold winning Sacred Gin. Distilled in glassware under vacuum using organically sourced botanicals and whole citrus, the results are exceptionally fresh, almost creamy, and superbly balanced. The beauty of gin is that it doesn’t stop at the London Dry variety. ‘There are so many different gins to experiment with,’ says Ian. ‘After all, there are hundreds of thousands of botanicals available. If you don’t like gin, you just haven’t found the right one yet.’ 

Joining the gin game in 2009, heavy hitters Sipsmith famed for introducing London’s first copper-pot still in nearly 200 years – is now stocked proudly all over the country in the swankiest of bars. ‘Gin is a fascinating category with so much to offer,’ explains co-founder Sam Galsworthy, ‘and the rise of craft distillation has definitely had an impact on people’s awareness of what great gin really is.’ As sales of super-premium offerings have reportedly soared by up to 48 percent recently, it’s no secret that we’re getting more discerning about what passes our lips.

Dodd’s gin, created by The London Distillery further proves that good things come in small, perfectly crafted packages. ‘Being small means that we have a lot more flexibility in terms of experimentation,’ explains co-founder Darren Rook. ‘We love that we have the capacity to try something new, push boundaries and also look back in time to old recipes and methods. Dodd’s stylishly bottled signature blend (each numbered and signed by the team) fuses fresh zippy notes of locally sourced honey, raspberry leaf and lime peel with an earthy juniper base. ‘We wanted to develop a gin so good that it could be enjoyed neat, as well as in all manner of cocktails,’ says Darren.

How to Order A Martini

1. Ordering it dry will reduce the vermouth and let those gin notes shine
2. Like your cocktails bitter? Up the vermouth factor and ask for it wet
3. For a zing, ask for a twist and you'll get an artfully curled strip of lemon rind
4. For those with a savoury palate dirty is king. Expect plenty of olive Juice
5. Traditionalists like it stirred, but an alternative option is shaken with ice

  • Words: Georgina Bacchus

  • Illustrations: Josh Bristow