There’s no doubt that London is home to a thriving artisan gin community. Since Sipsmith set up shop in Hammersmith with Prudence in tow, we’ve witnessed an incredible renaissance in gin distilling in the capital – the first in over 200 years. However, while London is unarguably a gin lover’s paradise, the rest of the country is also home to a number of distilleries, old and new, that are flying the flag for English gin.
From the geographically protected Plymouth Gin to Cornish distilleries that practice local foraging to perfect the balance of their botanicals, these producers are crafting highly quaffable and innovative English gin that works for mixing, sipping, and sharing.
The Plymouth Gin Distillery
On the south coast of Devon, Plymouth Gin Distillery is the sole producer of the unique, geographically-protected Plymouth Gin, one of the classics of English gin distilling. Known for being slightly sweeter and earthier than a typical London Dry Gin, Plymouth first came about in the late 18th century, back when a number of British cities had their own distinctive gin styles. These days, it’s a favourite choice in a number of classic cocktails and as a base for homemade sloe gin.
Based in picturesque Kent, Anno Distillers, founded by a pair of PhD chemists, uses the county’s local bounty to dictate its gin’s complex flavours. With unusual botanicals like samphire, lavender, and even hops used during the distilling process, the gin, made in a still called Patience, makes for a citrusy, herbal spirit.
The Cambridge Distillery
Opened in 2011, The Cambridge Distillery is the only gin producer in town. Housed within a Victorian-era cottage, the distillery is unique in that it specialises in bespoke, individually tailored spirits. Distilling a number of single-botanical gins that it can then blend to each client’s taste, Cambridge gives drinkers a unique opportunity to craft their ultimate gin from scratch. The team even macerates and distils botanicals brought in by punters.
Southwestern Distillery takes a uniquely Cornish approach to its spirits. In addition to its popular riff on the anise-laced French aperitif, Cornish Pastis (no, not pasties), its Dry Gin became the first gin made in Cornwall in over a century when it was recently introduced to the market. Using orange zest and locally sourced Devon violets, the distillers craft a spirit that’s delicate, floral, and perfect in a Martini.
Elemental Cornish Gin
Another new addition to Cornwall’s distilling scene is Elemental, which blends a high-quality spirit with local Cornish spring water that is then bottled in small batches. Produced by the husband-and-wife team Jon and Jilly (with the help of their children Alice and Jeremy), the family-made gin makes for elegant and full-bodied sipping.