Drink: Top gins (and tonics) to buy this Christmas
With gin still the nation’s top-selling spirit - apparently we bought 48 million bottles of the stuff last year alone - you’re likely to have a gin lover on your gift list. Here are four of our favourite bottles to buy this Christmas (plus game-changing new tonics to pair them with)
Nethergate Melford’s Gin, from £20 for 35cl, nethergatebrewery.co.uk
Produced in Bonnie and Clyde, a pair of copper and wash stills, Melford’s Gin is new from Long Melford’s Nethergate Distillery. Paying tribute to the distillery’s surrounding Stour Valley countryside, its seven botanicals offer a Suffolk twist on the traditional London Dry - delightfully floral, the nose alone marks it out from the gin crowd. Serve with Indian tonic, lots of ice and a lime slice.
Cardona & Son Spirit Co. Hitchin Elderflower & Borage Honey Gin, £39.50 for 70cl, cardonaandsonspiritco.co.uk
The latest release from Cardona & Son, the raw honey spirit distillery founded by beekeeper Andre Cardona, this Hitchin-made gin is a blast from summer past, the floral elderflower balanced by the citrus-meets-sweet borage honey. Gorgeous as the base for a French 75 (gin, champagne, lemon juice, sugar), it’s also lovely drunk alone over plentiful ice.
Bullards Coastal Gin, £40 for 70cl, bullardsspirits.co.uk
From first sniff, this gin is deliciously seaside-y. Hand-foraged in Bullards’ native Norfolk - the company has been distilling in Norwich since 1837 - standout botanicals include sea purslane, sea aster, marsh samphire and Douglas fir, all of which combine to create a distinctive salty, herby, woodsy profile. Brilliantly, the bottles are designed for life, with replenishments coming in eco-friendly pouches. Drink long with tonic and ice, garnished with a handful of blackberries and a twist of lime zest.
Ramsbury Single Estate Gin, £33.50 for 70cl (currently on offer at £27), Waitrose stores
We rarely venture outside East Anglia on our food and drink pages, but this gin is worth journeying for. Among a mere handful of distilleries in the world to make spirits from its own, homegrown wheat, each bottle traceable to a single Wiltshire field, Ramsbury’s gin is a delight. Aromatic floral and crisp quince give way to a punch of juniper and - aptly for this time of year - a festive citrus-and-cinnamon finish. Serve with traditional tonic, ice and slices of lime and apple.
FeverTree Refreshingly Light Damson & Sloe Berry Tonic Water, RRP £1.80 per 500ml, Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury’s
Pairing autumnal hedgerow fruits (damsons hand-picked in Herefordshire, wild sloes foraged in the Black Mountains) with winter spices (including cardamom, star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon), pair this full-bodied limited edition mixer with any traditional London Dry for an instant Christmassy cocktail. If you’re feeling *really* fancy, add a measure of Cointreau and a prosecco top-up for a swift Damson and Sloe Fizz. It’s also lovely solo over ice.
Nexba sugar-free tonic, available in Classic and Lime, Cucumber & Mint, £1.50 for 1l, Sainsbury’s stores
New from Aussie brand Nexba, best known for its kefirs and kombuchas, these tonics are game-changing: as well as being made from 100% natural botanicals and sweeteners and no artificial ingredients or added sugars, they are lightly carbonated, freshly flavoured and equally delicious drunk alone as with gin. The Lime, Cucumber & Mint is particularly good with Hendrick’s, ice and a cucumber slice.
FeverTree Gin & Tonic Crackers, £8 each or £32 for a set of four, exclusive to John Lewis
Coming in eight different flavours - classic, fruity, whisky ginger, two citrus, three spiced - these crackers each contain a 150ml tonic water and gin mini; all you need for the perfect G&T, save ice and a slice. The perfect table favour or stocking filler for any grown-up fond of a tipple, our pick of the set is the citrus combo of OG Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water and Salcombe Rose Sainte Marie' Pink Gin - chin chin!
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More by this authorAlice Ryan