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 first category, discovering the taste profiles and botanical make-up of the finest fresh and floral gins made in the UK.
To be called gin a spirit must contain juniper, which means the berries are always present. But there are other common botanicals found in almost every British bottle too – citrus peel, angelica root and coriander seeds are usually in the list of ingredients. It’s the more interesting herbs, spices and flavours, however, that give a gin its unique flavour profile. They can radically change the smell, taste and even how a drink feels in your mouth. Gins containing fresh and floral flavours should be matched with similar tasting tonics for G&Ts, such as Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic.
By including grains of paradise, caraway seeds and chamomile in the list of its twelve botanicals, Hendrick’s is the perfect example of this variety of gin. Elderflower adds plenty of floral notes and the addition of rose essence and cucumber at the end of distilling really lifts the fresh, perfumed flavour and adds top notes to the deeper, more common ingredients. Arguably the most popular high quality gin on the market, it has been on shop shelves since 2001 and was launched to celebrate ‘Britishness’ – which, as it was developed by an American ad agency, meant cucumber sandwiches, pretty English gardens and a quirky afternoon tea vibe. A few slices of cucumber used to garnish Hendrick's in a gin and tonic instead of the traditional lemon wedge complements the included botanicals.