Higher strength gins are starting to trend among aficionados who are swapping their regular gin tipples for a bolder, braver gin…but why? Here, we speak to Gin Master Simon Buley and hand pick our favourite higher strength gins to see you through to these tricky times.
So why are stronger gins better?
- Bolder flavour – a higher alcohol gin ensures the flavours are not overly diluted therefore a higher strength gin lends itself to a much bolder flavour
- Great for mixing with cocktails – a stronger gin has all of the core DNA you would expect from a classic gin however the higher strength gives a G&T or cocktail a little more punch
- Stronger taste profile – although a stronger gin is made in the same way as a classic gin, bottling it at a higher ABV gives a stronger juniper character to the liquid and gives the taste profile herbaceous notes which aren’t found in a classic gin
- Dilutes a bitter tonic – for those who went keen on the taste of a bitter tonic, a higher strength gin will dilute the bitterness of the tonic
- The alcohol evaporates quicker – alcohol evaporates quicker with the temperature of your mouth, leaving a much rounder and lasting mouth feel.
OUR FAVOURITE NAVY STRENGTH GINS
BeauFort Fifty-Seven Smoked Sipping Gin (57% ABV) – This is a true homage to navy strength gin. It’s said that gunpowder soaked in gin (or any other spirit) above a certain ABV (around 57%) would still ignite. This wonderful English gin has also been infused with smoked oak and hickory as botanicals as well as more traditional gin botanicals, giving it a soft, smoky yet savoury tone, perfect for sipping. As the gin is at 57% ABV, you don’t need any water so sip away and savour the flavour. Click here to buy
Manchester Gin Overboard (57% ABV) – This is a delicious and vibrant gin full of flavour and character. The higher ABV amplifies the citrus and intensifies the aromatic juniper on the nose. The palette will find a smooth liquorice start which develops into a burst of lemon and orange. Finally, the Overboard gin has a surprisingly sweet finish with a hint of warming spice. Click here to buy
Rock Rose Gin Navy Strength (57% ABV) – This gin in a striking ceramic bottle gets its name from the distillery’s first botanical forage along the Pentland Firth cliffs of Caithness, where they were introduced to Rhodiola rosea (a rose in the rocks), which adds a delicate floral note to the gin. The new Navy Strength gin gives these flavours further intensity, making it great for gin based cocktails. Click here to buy
Northmoor Navy Strength Gin (57% ABV) – Exmoor Distillery is a young distillery run by husband and wife team, John and Nicola. Whilst the alcohol content is higher they have created a recipe the delivers a smooth and enjoyable textured flavour due to extra botanicals and distilling times. Traditional juniper berry with botanicals of angelica root, citrus and spice a smooth and enjoyable textured flavour. Click here to buy
Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin (57% ABV) – This original navy strength gin is the historical proof at which gunpowder might still be fired should it unfortunately be soaked by spilled precious gin. Aromatic and smooth, you will find juniper on the front palate with a balance of light citrus. The nose and finish are supported by gentle floral and earthy notes. Find out more here.
OUR FAVOURITE (NON NAVY STRENGTH) STRONGER GINS
Monkey 47 (47% ABV) – With 47 botanicals, this dry gin from Germany’s Black Forest is one of our favourite martini gins as it has plenty of spice, fruit and herb notes. It’s very well structured, and difficult to unpick but a citrus fresh start turns into pine and woody notes for a dry finish. This hand-crafted gin unites British traditions, the exotic allure of India and the untouched roots of the Black Forest.
Monkey 47 is also celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year so look out for a limited-edition Distillers’ Cut. The bottle is super sexy too. Click here to buy.
No.3 London Dry Gin (46% ABV) – The pedigree behind this gin is immense. Berry Bros.& Rudd is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant (since 1698) and holder of two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. It is also one of the favourites of bartending royalty Alessandro Palazzi at Dukes Bar.
This multiple award winning liquid was created to be “gin, just as it should be” with a delicate combination of juniper, citrus and spice. Two years in the making with Dr David Clutton (the only man to hold a PhD in gin!) and distilled in Holland, the result is a classic gin combining coriander, angelica root, cardamom, grapefruit, sweet orange peel and juniper. Click here to buy (UK customers only).
The Source Pure Cardrona Gin (47% ABV) – All the way from New Zealand, The Source showcases locally-foraged rosehip as a botanical, alongside lemon and orange zest. Forged by the four seasons that blow through the Cardrona Valley, they don’t chill-filter to deliver that full flavour and character so it clouds with dilution or when cold – a mark of distinction for this special gin. Click here to buy
Holy Island (44% ABV) – Sitting one mile off the North East Coast of England is the historic and beautiful island of Lindisfarne. Cut off by the sea twice a day, the Island is home to just 200 people including Andrew Cowan, founder of boutique gin distillery The Holy Island Gin Company. The original signature dry gin has been crafted to capture the spirit of the high tide, delivering a flavour profile with botanicals like sweet orange peel and nutmeg that have been infused without losing the distinctive juniper. Click here to buy
CBD Craft Gin (54.5% ABV) – Top Beverages distill their gin with juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orris root, elderflower, lemon peel, lime peel, a fresh Valencian orange and 10 mg of premium full spectrum CBD. Distilled in Scotland, there are a limited edition of 500 Italian glass bottles labelled by hand. Click here to buy
Martin Miller’s Westbourne Dry Gin (45.2% ABV) – Westbourne is blended with Icelandic spring water, the purest in the world so doesn’t need processing or de-mineralisation, resulting in an ultra soft bouquet and mouthfeel. The flavour profile has emphasis on the spicier, peppery notes of cassia and nutmeg along with a higher strength. From its launch it has enjoyed cult status as the bartender’s favourite gin, perfect in a martini or Negroni. Find out more here.
Mary-Le-Bone Cask Aged Gin (51.3% ABV) – Distilled in London with 13 botanicals from around the world, the gin is then rested in West Indian Rum casks for a rich, full flavour. On the palate, you get smooth rich juniper and creamy brioche with hints of spice, citrus and vanilla followed by lingering notes of cinnamon and black pepper. Click here to buy
Oxley Gin (47% ABV) – Made with a unique cold distillation process, this English gin is made at -5c in small batches using 14 botanicals and fresh frozen citrus peel instead of dried peel. This process captures some subtle, delicate flavours from botanicals that might be lost when distilling in the usual way. The gin is silky smooth and gentle at the same time. Find out more here.
Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin (46% ABV) – A touch lower in ABV, what we like about Brookie’s is the natural element of the ingredients which are sourced from a sub-tropical rainforest that surrounds the distillery. Of the 25 botanicals used for the gin, 18 are native to the Byron Bay region including Byron sunrise finger limes, aniseed myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, macadamia, river mint and raspberry. Flavour wise, citrus and juniper take the lead with a backing from refreshing green spice and a hint of red fruit. Click here to buy
Please drink responsibly, not reprehensibly.
By Mark Captain