We love gin, you love gin, and the North West makes some of the country’s finest gin – so what better excuse for a round-up of our top 10 locally made favourites?
1. Forest Gin, Macclesfield
One of the nicest things about what is arguably the county’s most famous gin, is that it’s produced by a husband and wife team – Karl and Lindsay Bond. Earthy and solid in its flavour, this is a gin that lends itself to al fresco drinking, neat over ice with a rosemary garnish, its connection to nature running throughout its various layers, including mossy notes, wild bilberries, gorse flowers and blackberry leaf.
2. Hunters Cheshire Gin, Penketh
Although the recipe for this prestigious gin is kept a closely guarded secret (and the brand’s distillers aren’t planning to part with it any time soon – trust us, we’ve tried), it’s certainly one of the most versatile spirits hailing from the North West. Essentially, this means that it’s an ideal choice for a dinner party, where guests might be craving anything from martinis to Singapore Slings.
3. Three Rivers Gin
This brand’s name stems from the fact that ‘before the cotton, the coal and the canals, there were three rivers’ in Manchester, evoking the idea that it was these rivers – the Irwell, Irk and Medlock – which pumped life into the city and made it possible for its industries to develop. In effect, that it was the three rivers which started Manchester’s story. The flavours are similarly complex and deeply thought-out, with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, almond and oats preceding a long, spicy, black pepper finish. This is a gin that isn’t playing around.
4. Manchester Gin
Overflowing with Manchester pride (it’s even got a bee on its label), this is a gin that reflects the attitudes of its home with solid, sturdy flavour, balancing dryness and citrus, spicy and sweet, and determined finish. The gin is made by two native Mancunians in ‘Wendy’, their bespoke-made copper column still, with everything being done by hand and the evident personal touch making this small-batch brand something rather special.
5. Cheshire Grins Gin
The story behind the name of this quirky gin is loosely based on the Cheshire Cat that grins in Lewis Carrol’s classic Alice in Wonderland. Grins is distilled using locally sourced Peckforton Spring Water, Cheshire blueberries, cassia bark, lemon peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet orange peel, cucumber and of course, juniper – but, personally, it’s the fabulous bottle we’re really obsessed with.
6. Bloom, Warrington
Distilled by Warrington resident Joanne Moore, who is ranked among the world’s best female gin master distillers, this classy, beautiful brand is a delicate London Dry Gin with gentle floral notes courtesy of chamomile and honeysuckle direct from Joanne’s own garden. Best of all, Bloom make a pre-mixed gin and tonic, too, so you can enjoy Joanne’s gin just as it was intended.
7. Tappers Gin, Wirral
As we edge towards the coastal North West, it’s only fair that we should mention a gin that’s characterised by a fabulous blend of seaside botanicals, including red clover flowers, chickweed and sea beet. It’s a lovely way of bringing the taste of the sea into your home, should you live further inland, and is a perfect choice for those with a preference for the savoury (with a nice big sprig of thyme). This is also what’s known as an artisanal bathtub gin, meaning that its produced using traditional methods.
8. Greenalls, Warrington
Not only has Greenalls been made right here for the last 200 years – the distillery it calls home is actually one of the UK’s oldest, too. Created using high quality botanicals such as Tuscan juniper, Moroccan coriander and Spanish lemons, this is a truly traditional gin – crisp and flavourful, and perfect for a G&T.
9. Torintone Gin, Wirral
Distilled at Spital on the Wirral using local water, this is a light, slightly floral blend thanks to the touch of elderflower included in its botanicals. It’s the creation of the Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, and takes its name from The Doomsday Book reference to Thornton Hough, Torintone, where the hotel is located. It’s already made quite a splash among discerning gin drinkers, and since it’s only available from the hotel or its website, it’s about as local a gin as you’re likely to find.
10. Bulldog Gin, London
Ok, we’re cheating a little bit with this one – but while not a Cheshire gin, this newcomer is nevertheless quintessentially British and, at the moment, still a well-kept secret that we’re eager to share. Infused with the most exotic combination of natural botanicals ever assembled in a gin – 12 botanicals from 8 countries, including lavender, lotus leaves, dragon eye and organically farmed Italian juniper – and created with pure British wheat, this is one of the most interesting (and good value) gins on the market right now, and certainly one to watch.