Six of the best gins from Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 09:36 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:36 20 February 2018
A look at some of the best gins that hail from Yorkshire
What’s the most embarrassingly unfashionable drink you secretly like, writes TONY GREENWAY. It’s a discussion I was having with an old friend of mine the other evening over a glass of Dubonnet. We were reminiscing about the time we volunteered to be bartenders at my brother’s wedding when we were 19. I’m afraid things got out of hand fairly early doors when we discovered a bottle of Malibu in the kitchen. (Can you guess the decade this happened, by the way? Here are a couple of clues: I was wearing a T-shirt which bore the legend ‘Frankie Says Relax’ in big letters. And I was drinking Malibu).
Anyway, we started tucking into the Malibu while we served drinks, which turned out to be A Very Bad Idea Indeed. By the time the disco started 90 minutes later, one of us had passed out under the table and the other was on the dance floor doing all the actions to the Birdie Song... but to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham (well, it’s an easy mistake to make). I learned some important life lessons that evening: it’s vital to drink responsibly; you cannot — no matter how hard you try — take your trousers off over your head and Malibu is absolutely disgusting. To this day, the mere aroma of coconut makes me feel slightly woozy.
There are other unfashionable drinks I have tried and failed to get along with over the years. Advocaat. Cherry brandy. Irish cream. Blue Nun. Black Tower. I also used to not like gin very much because it was always the sort of drink you drank because nothing else was available. Not anymore. These days, a glass of the old mother’s ruin with a splash of tonic slips down extremely well, I find. In fact, has there ever been a drink whose reputation has been so completely reassessed? Gin had faced declining sales for around 50 years but is now deeply cool, achingly fashionable and, more to the point, a pleasure to drink. What took us so long to rediscover it? Distillers and gin bars are popping up all over the place. That includes Yorkshire with a number of award-winning gin-makers creating superior tipples. Some of my favourites are listed below. Cheers...
True North’s Sheffield Dry Gin is the first gin to be distilled and bottled in the city in more than 100 years. True North also let us know that their Sheffield School of Gin — where (among other delights) you get to learn all about the drink’s history and develop your own blend to take home — is incredibly popular with punters. Better get booking.
This fantastic Harrogate-based producer was awarded a double gold medal at the China Wine & Spirits Awards early last year for its Navy Strength Gin, launched in 2016. It also makes a wondrous Rhubarb Gin — and it runs three different tasting packages called The Spirit of Gin, The Cocktail Master and Just the Tonic.
This award-winning small batch gin producer — which only launched in 2015 and makes its magic in a Yorkshire-made still called Jezebel — is the brainchild of Nidderdale-based husband and wife team Toby and Jane Whittaker. Whittaker’s Pink Particular was named Best Contemporary European Gin 2016 at the Craft Distilling Expo in London, while its Clearly Sloe was singled out by The Independent last year as one of the Top 10 Best British New Gins. Good work.
2017 was a good year for Bedale-based Masons, whose Dry Yorkshire Gin won the Gold Peoples Drinks Award for Taste at Peoples Drink Awards — a prize judged solely by the general public. It also won four awards at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Their gin (they make a Yorkshire Tea edition which we have yet to try) is available from their website and at stockists across the country.
The North Yorkshire headquartered multi award-winning Raisthorpe opened its first-ever gin shop in 2017, at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, York. Apart from its Yorkshire gin, it produces some excellent fruit gin liqueurs including raspberry, rhubarb, gooseberry and sloe.
The Little Red Berry Company
Ripon-based Little Red Berry — launched in 2011 and using Yorkshire ingredients when in season — produce a lemon and thyme flavoured gin, elderflower and cucumber flavoured gin plus a raspberry gin liqueur using Yorkshire raspberries. Its damson gin liqueur, meanwhile, won Best Yorkshire Spirit a few months ago at Deliciously Yorkshire’s Taste Awards 2017. You can buy direct from their website or at various outlets across the county.