2016 was a smashing year for sippers — and we’re celebrating by reliving five of the year’s top moments in gin.

Looking back on the past twelve months, it’s fair to say we’ve enjoyed a uniquely spirited year. From royal birthdays and cocktail anniversaries to London’s flourishing cocktail bar scene, 2016’s gin news was unabashedly bright. We’re celebrating by reliving the year’s top five gin highlights (and by treating ourselves to a tipple, naturally). 

1. The Relaunch of the Sipsmith Sipping Society

Of all the gin news in 2016, the official launch of the Sipsmith Sipping Society was our top highlight. We’re biased, naturally, but we’re also incredibly proud of what it offers: every quarter, subscribers receive four limited-edition, seasonal distillations sent straight to their door, dreamed up by the genius minds of our Master Distiller Jared Brown and Head Distiller Ollie Kitson.

The Sipping Society’s origins actually go back to last year when, thanks to truly fantastic support on Indiegogo, we first sent shipments out as the Quarterly Sipping Service. But it was after a successful trial run that the Sipping Society made its formal debut this past autumn. If you’re curious to sample some thrillingly inventive distillations — think everything from Mince Pie Gin to Strawberries & Cream Gin Liqueur — go on and subscribe here.

2. A Ginful Celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday

Was it a coincidence that the Queen’s 90th birthday happened to overlap with World Gin Day on 11th June? Given that Her Maj is a famous fan of Gin and Dubonnet — and that there’s a long history of royal gin appreciation — we’re not convinced. In celebration, we released a limited edition distillation (and woke up with sore heads on the 12th).

3. London’s Big Wins at the Spirited Awards

There’s never been a better time to be a London-based sipper. Just ask the judges of Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards: seven different bars in the Big Smoke received international accolades during the ceremony on 23rd July this year, including the American Bar at the Savoy, Callooh Callay, Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Happiness Forgets, the Connaught Bar at The Connaught, Dandelyan, and Oriole. If you’ve yet to visit, now’s your chance to grab a festive end-of-year tipple.

4. The 100th Anniversary of the Aviation

Violet of hue, lightly floral, and beautifully balanced, the Aviation is a classic for a reason. First recorded in the 1916 cocktail tome Recipes for Mixed Drinks, the serve was created in honour of the 20th century’s early aviators. Though the recipe was almost lost to the sands of time, it was revived in 2007, when key ingredient crème de violette become commercially available once again. Here’s to 100 more years!

5. The Debut of Lemon Drizzle Gin

Of course, we can’t end a 2016 gin news round-up without mentioning our Lemon Drizzle Gin. The newest addition to Sipsmith’s portfolio of spirits, Lemon Drizzle got its start as a limited-edition distillation for the Sipping Society. Its reception was so positive that we decided to make it a permanent member of the family. Naturally sweet, made with several additions of lemon, and a wonderful gift, it’s a perfect way to bid adieu to the year (and usher in the next).

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