With the hundreds of gins available in the shops today, it can be hard to work out where to start. As a rule, the spirit falls into three categories: fresh and floral, citrusy and herbaceous and juniper-rich and robust. Here, we take a look at the second category, discovering the taste profiles and botanical make-up of the finest citrusy and herbaceous gins made in the UK.
Juniper has always been the dominant flavour in gin, but a new wave of distillers are turning the traditional spirit on its head and focusing on different botanicals instead. By increasing the amount of lemon, lime and other citrus fruits present and including inventive new botanicals found growing wild in both Britain and abroad, juniper (while ever-present) is beginning to take a backseat in an increasing number of gins. And when mixing a gin and tonic with this style, using a tonic such as Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic (made with lemon thyme and rosemary) complements the flavours beautifully.
One of the biggest success stories of the recent gin renaissance and a perfect example of citrusy and herbaceous gin, Portobello Road started out as a gin museum above a Notting Hill bar before the founders realised they needed a gin to call their own. It’s made in south London and has gained fans across the UK (and beyond) thanks to its clean, classic flavour.
The nine botanicals adhere to traditional gin-making – juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice, cassia bark and nutmeg – but it’s the balance of flavours that makes it unique. The juniper is present but certainly not overpowering, allowing the citrus peel and warming spice to shine through. For a gin and tonic, the distiller recommends using Fever-Tree tonic water with a twist of pink grapefruit.