Is gin becoming Cheshire's favourite drink?
PUBLISHED: 11:53 20 August 2016 | UPDATED: 20:48 06 November 2017
We are famous for the champagne lifestyle here in Cheshire, but is the modern day gin craze about to take over?
It’s safe to say there has been somewhat of a gin revival over the past few years as the juniper berry based spirit has arguably become one of the most popular spirits on the market. It has cemented itself as the sophisticated drink of the times, is often referred to as ‘adults vodka’ and its popularity spans across all age ranges, from trendy twenty something’s to classic gin drinkers.
The quintessentially British drink has also found a following in Cheshire. With the county once being known as the champagne capital of the North, it appears that many of us are now opting for a gin based tipple instead. Mike Parker from Dexter & Jones believes that Cheshire’s newfound taste for gin is down to the simple fact that it is such a versatile spirit with so much choice; “The choice of gins now available has just created a whole new market and with each craft gin that emerges comes a completely distinct flavour, plus they usually have fascinating stories behind them. Many people are also more aware about the provenance of food & drink and often want to support locally made products and the Cheshire gins we stock are amongst our best sellers”
The gin boom within Cheshire has also meant that there has been an increase in local craft gin producers. Karl Bond, the creator of local gin Forest Gin, believes that if it wasn’t for the recent gin boom, smaller distilleries would have a hard time competing against the big brand names within the market. “The smaller distillers are producing some amazing products and the people of our county are definitely more interested in quality than quantity which has really helped family distilleries, such as ours”, he says. “Gin simply isn’t just about the mass-produced big brands any more and I believe that Cheshire drinkers are amongst the most knowledgeable and discerning about what is in their glass.”
The local craft and artisan gin scene within Cheshire seems to be going from strength to strength, as there are many local producers emerging and thriving within the market.
Forest Gin, Macclesfield
The unique Macclesfield produced Forest gin is a family affair as husband and wife team, Karl and Lindsay Bond, are the creators of this distinctive earthy gin. Made from botanicals sourced from Macclesfield Forest, the gin has a number of layers including earthiness from moss, wild bilberries, gorse flowers and blackberry leaf. Rosemary makes the perfect garnish for Forest gin and according to producer Karl, is best served neat with lots of ice.
Hunters Gin, Penketh
Produced in Cheshire, Hunters is a unique London Dry gin made with natural botanicals and is the perfect gin for a broad palette as it can be enjoyed with a variety of drinks. Citrus peels, juniper berries and coriander seeds are just some of the ingredients used in Hunters, however, like all top quality gins the exact recipe remains a top secret.
Bloom is a luxury London Dry Gin with a delicate and floral twist and is distilled by Joanne Moore, who is among the world first female gin master distillers. The inspiration for Bloom came from Joanne’s personal love for nature and the recipe even includes botanicals from her very own garden such as chamomile and honeysuckle. Bloom have also created some luxury pre mixed G&T’s which make for the perfect picnic beverage.
Greenalls has been distilled in Warrington for more than two centuries and is produced in one of the country’s oldest distilleries. Production is overseen by their seventh Master Distiller, Joanne Moore using the finest ingredients from across the world including exotic botanicals such as Tuscan juniper, Moroccan coriander and Spanish lemons to create its unique flavour.
Tappers Gin, Wirral
Tappers Darkside Gin has a coastal twist as its distinctive flavours consist of seaside botanicals such as red clover flowers, chickweed and sea beet, coming together to create an authentic taste of coastal Britain. Inspired by the Wirral, the artisan Bathtub Gin is produced using traditional methods and is best served with a sprig of thyme and a zesty orange wedge.
The newfound gin craze has also hit some of the best bars across Cheshire, as tasty gin events have become an incredibly popular and regular occurrence across the county’s bar scene.
Gin Rickey’s ‘Gin Flight’ evenings in Chester are a slightly more obscure take on a master class as you can sample three out of a possible seventy five gins on offer, all accompanied by your very own connoisseur offering all the gin information there is to know. Gins can be sampled at random; however, there are also specific flights for you to book on. For a local touch, there is the ‘Cheshire Flight’ where you can sample local gins, or for the more adventurous (and brave) the ‘Turbulent Flight’, a flight full of their three strongest gins.
Knutsford based bar Dexter & Jones stock an impressive seventy gins and also hold monthly tasting events. Each flavourful evening is hosted by the producer or brand ambassador of the gin and you can indulge yourself into a selection of different craft gins accompanied by a platter of delicious cured meats and olives. The Botanist in Alderley Edge is another gin gem, as they hold masterclasses and tasting sessions on a weekly basis for big groups or for private parties. (Interesting fact: The Botanist chain are the current world record holders for the largest gin tasting event)
Whitmore & White host The Gin Crowd, an events showcasing gins and accompaniments from around the world at their Heswall and Frodsham branches.
The Cholmondeley Arms are true connoisseurs of gin, they have gin tasting classes four times a week and the ‘Gin in the Inn’ scheme where they buy rare gin from you to add to their extensive collection.
Cheshire Mersey Wine School organise Discover The World Of Gin events every month that alternate between Chester and Liverpool.
Corks Out have branches in Alderley Edge, Chester, Knutsford, Stockton Heath and Timperley who all host regular gin tasting sessions.
Red Willow Bar, Macclesfield stock over 60 gins and have a ‘Gin of the Week’ so you will never run out of something new to try.
An array of unique gin festivals also happen across Cheshire each summer such as the Wirral Gin festival, Vodka and Gin Festival in Chester, the Gin Jamboree at Congleton, and Ginfest at the Cholmondeley Arms.