Words by: Jane Ryan
April 23rd is St George's Day, making it England's national day. Whilst it might not be celebrated quite like St Patrick's Day there is plenty to love about England, including it's capitals infatuation with gin.
Here is our 10 favourite gins to toast St George and England with. Cheers.
Launched in 2000, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin is based on the traditional Tanqueray botanical recipe but with unusual extras such as camomile and fresh grapefruit. It takes its name from the distillery's number 10 still, known as Tiny Ten.
Aroma: Spruce-like juniper, pink grapefruit and camomile with complex spice.
Taste: Wonderfully rounded palate is incredibly silky considering its heady alcoholic strength. Juniper is integrated with freshly squeezed lemon, orange and zesty pink grapefruit while white pepper and coriander spice add depth.
Plymouth Gin's navy strength was reintroduced in 1993 when Desmond Payne, the master distiller at the time, sought to create a gin to celebrate Coates & Co's 200th anniversary.
Aroma: The addition of a little water releases a wonderfully floral, citrus nose with strong notes of lavender, camphor and pine.
Taste: Supercharged Plymouth in both flavour and strength. The wonderfully flavoursome palate includes more floral notes with rounded lemon and sage coriander, lemon zest and clean juniper notes.
Based on spirit distilled from malted barley, wheat and oats by the brewer, First Rate is flavoured with 13 botanicals: juniper berries, orris root, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cassia bark, vanilla pods, angelica root, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, thyme, liquorice, sweet orange and lemon peel.
Aroma: A very complex and integrated nose with juniper, thyme, cardamom and orange zest being the most obvious aromas.
Taste: Wonderfully clean and strongly flavoured palate with the balance between the juniper and the other botanicals well struck with juniper leading the charge with the other botanicals in tightly integrated formation behind.
Launched in 1996 by The Edrington Group, makers of The Famous Grouse Scotch this gin is named after Matthew Gloag, the man who created Famous Grouse. An extended steeping period is used to extract the flavour from the 11 botanicals, which include sweet orange peel, nutmeg and grains of paradise.
Aroma: Citrusy nose with mandarin orange zestyness and celery-like aromas (perhaps angelica seeds).
Taste: Fresh, crisp palate with balanced juniper, citrus/orangey ripeness, liquorice, angelica, nutmeg, and refreshing citrus acidity.
Distilled in Hammersmith London using ten tradition London dry gin botanicals: Macedonian juniper, Bulgarian coriander seeds, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Seville orange and Spanish lemon peel.
Aroma: Clean, assertive fresh, pine forest juniper with perfumed floral lilac, pine sap and lemon meringue.
Taste: Clean with piney juniper and coriander rightly leading, with zesty citrus and spice.
Simon Ford who developed this gin with Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers. It is flavoured with 9 botanicals (juniper, coriander seeds, orris, jasmine, angelica, cassia, bitter orange, lemon and grapefruit peels) steeped for 15 hours before distillation in 500 litre stainless steel pot stills.
Aroma: Clean pungent lavender and camphor from the high juniper content with celery, parma violets and citrus.
Taste: Juniper and fresh floral notes compete with zesty citrus for attention with just enough spice. Very soft mouth feel, especially given the high alcohol strength.
As the name would suggest, this is the original Bombay gin, predating the now better-known Bombay Sapphire. It was conceived by American entrepreneur Allan Subin, who was inspired by one of the oldest known English dry gin recipes, created by Thomas Dakin in 1761. It launched in the USA in 1960.
Aroma: Coriander, juniper and citrus with hints of Olbas oil tablets.
Taste: Juniper, citrus and coriander flavours predominate with liquorice, parma violet and an underlying rootiness. Superbly structured.
Said to be distilled to a recipe dating from the 1850s and then cask rested for 3-4 weeks in casks ex-Scotch whisky casks. Hayman's 1850 Reserve Gin is distilled in small batches of 5,000 bottles with each bottle carrying the batch and individual bottle number.
Aroma: Clean attractive and aromatic nose with generous pine forest-like juniper and fresh coriander.
Taste: Reassuringly traditional, pine-fresh juniper and coriander palate with earthy parma violet (orris root?), liquorice and gentle dry spice.
Caorunn, pronounced 'ka-roon', is the Gaelic word for rowan berry which along with dandelion, bog myrtle, heather and Coul Blush apple comprise the 5 Celtic botanicals of the 11 botanicals used to flavour this proudly Scottish gin. The number of botanicals are reflected in the pentagon-shaped bottle.
Aroma: Citrusy and floral with spicy pine-fresh juniper.
Taste: Fresh and superbly clean and balanced with good juniper notes, zesty citrus, delicate spice and floral flavours.
Launched summer 2013, this German distilled gin is supports African Elephant conservation with a donation of 15% of profits to two African elephant foundations. A London dry gin in style it redistilled with 14 botanicals, including five African ingredients in a 400 litre copper Arnold Holstein still.
Aroma: Aromatic dry pine, lavender, freshly cut celery, root ginger, grapefruit and orange zest.
Taste: Dry pine and sweet floral flavours with rounding angelica root woodiness, zesty citrus and zingy cinammon spice.