The growth in the category has been astronomical over the past few years, and whether it's in a G&T or a cocktail, the thirst for juniper spirit is showing no signs of drying up.
It's fair to say that Britain's love affair with gin is stronger than ever.
Distilleries are popping up all over the country, meaning you're never far from a local gin these days. Five years ago, there were just 152 distilleries in the UK there are now more than 315, and it's fair to say that many of them are distilling gin! This vast growth has meant that brands and venues are having to do more to stand out from the crowd than ever before.
The gin drinker is also becoming more savvy when it comes to their gin drinking habits, they want to know where it comes from, how it's made and how to drink it.
There are now countless gin experiences available in the UK. Whether it's making your own gin, learning a bit more about its history, or sleeping in an actual distillery (well, upstairs in a lovely hotel room at least), there's something for everyone!
Here's our pick of the best...
DISTIL YOUR OWN GIN
One of the brilliant things about gin is that it's fairly quick to make.
There's no oak barrels and no ageing which keeps spirits locked up in warehouses for years, so it's possible you to make your own recipe in a few hours (under supervision from the experts of course).
If you're in London check out the City of London Distillery just off Fleet Street and 58 Gin in Hackney. There's also the excellent 45 Gin School in Leicester and you can combine gin distilling with a trip to the seaside at Salcombe Gin School in Devon. All of these experiences allocate you a mini copper still, and provide everything you need, including a selection of botanicals to choose from, to craft your very own gin recipe.
SLEEP IN A DISTILLERY
The Distillery may be the ultimate destination in London for gin lovers.
Home to Portobello Road Gin you'll find a working still, two bars, a restaurant, and three boutique hotel rooms. Yup, you can finally make all your dreams come true, and spend the night in an actual working distillery.
Their still is located downstairs, distilling incredible gins, including some exclusively available at The Distillery. You'll also find the Ginstitute, where you'll learn so many incredible facts about gin your head will be buzzing. Head to their Resting Room bar where you can mull over your new-found encyclopaedic gin knowledge over a cocktail or two. When you're ready for some sustenance it's up just one floor to Gin Tonica, a Basque inspired restaurant and bar where all gins are served up in huge Copa de Balón glasses. Then, once the food coma sets in, you've just got one more flight of stairs to go to the lodgings. Three unique hotel rooms await, with views across the iconic Portobello Road, a selection of vinyl curated by Rough Trade, and one of the best mini-bars in London. Fact.
If you're looking to learn more about gin then what better way place than a distillery? The newly opened Hayman's Distillery in Balham is a truly gorgeous space, equipped with a laboratory/kitchen and beautiful bar overlooking the whole operation. In London, you've also got Sipsmith in Chiswick who brought gin distillation back to the capital after a near 200-year hiatus, who host weeknight tours and complimentary tutored tastings.
Pickering's Gin in Edinburgh is well worth a visit, housed on the site of a former animal hospital, and for £10 including a G&T, three samples and a tour it's a steal. If you’re more of a country bumpkin then Chase is for you, a distillery set on a beautiful farm just outside of Hereford, or for those with a head for history, head to the iconic Plymouth Gin, the UK’s oldest working gin distillery with records of a “malt-house” on the premises going back to 1697.
VISIT THE COUNTRY'S BIGGEST GIN COLLECTIONS
If you're more for exploring the gin category on your own terms, then get yourself along to one of the growing number of bars across the country who are boasting huge gin selections. How big? Well Evil Eye Lounge in York currently stocks over 700, the Holborn Dining Rooms is London's largest at just over 500, and The Old Bell Inn in Manchester is on around 600 at last count.
VISIT A GIN SPA
The first botanically inspired day spa can be found in the center of Glasgow. Treatments are inspired by the botanicals found in gin, from the essential juniper to pink grapefruit, lime, lavender and geranium. Once you're fully relaxed, settle in for an afternoon tea with prosecco and a G&T from their trolley, or book in for their Twilight tasting, which includes a welcome drink at Gin71 and a five-course gin inspired tasting menu for dinner!
DRINK GIN ON A BOAT
Did you know that the navy used to get gin rations alongside rum? Well the officers at least. The Liquorists in Manchester have revived this concept of gin and boats back with their 'Gincident' cruises, and why the hell not. You'll sample different gins, each mixed into G&T's and cocktails, with huge sharing platters to mop it all up, all whilst cruising down Manchester’s canals. Lasting around three hours you'll come away with a fully belly, that wonderful ginny afterglow, and a head full of gin history.
OR... DRINK GIN AT OUR BRAND NEW FESTIVAL!
New to our DrinkUp calendar is our partnership with World Gin Day - a four day gin-tastic celebration of all things juniper. Just like all our festivals - our favourite bars in London will be throwing open their doors and serving up delcious £6 cocktails for those with a Festival Pass. Get ahead of the game and book yours now!