Think of the classic Gin and tonic, and it’s hard not to conjure up images of long summer evenings of al fresco drinking. But when the winter nights draw in, there’s no need to shun Gin in favor of the darker spirits.
Gin is wonderfully versatile; with a myriad of different flavors and styles, there’s a Gin to suit every cocktail and every palate. So if you’re a Gin-lover looking for winter warmers, we’ve rounded up the best brands, cocktails, and bottles you need to know about. And if you’re looking for gift g-inspiration, look no further. Any Gin lover would be happy to find one of these bottles in their stocking on Christmas morning.
Spiced GinsWarming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are common in mulled wine, but did you know you can find them in Gin, too?
Darnley’s Spiced Gin is made with all of the above spices, plus juniper, cumin, coriander, and angelica, giving it a warming, earthy feel.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin is made with cardamom, ginger, cumin, coriander and black pepper (amongst other things), all of which would have been picked up on the ancient spice route.
Both of these Spiced Gins taste great in a G&T, giving a contemporary twist on the classic drink. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or slice of fresh ginger. Or for something with a real kick, try them with ginger ale. If mulled drinks are your thing, Spiced Gins make a great hot punch (or Gin Hot Toddy). Check out the best Hot Gin Drinks for Winter here).
Gin-based LiqueursThere are oh so many of these on the market now (and it’s this writer’s mission to try ‘em all this winter) but here are the best, newest or most unusual flavors we’ve found.
Often known as shooting Gins by the Brits (that’s hunting shooting, not shots, just FYI), these are usually Gin-based drinks with added fruit and sugar, the latter of which is what differentiates these from spirits. The most common is, of course, the classic, seasonal Sloe Gin.
Sloe berries come from the blackthorn plant. They’re dark, round berries with a slightly bitter flavor but when added to Gin, ferment to create a juicy, sweet liqueur. It’s fairly easy to make at home if you can find the berries. Simply add them to Gin and shake every 24 hours for a week, add sugar to taste, and sieve.
Good quality Gin makes good quality Sloe Gin - just because you’re adding flavor, doesn’t mean the base spirit shouldn’t be good in its own right. Start with an excellent base and you can’t go far wrong.
Can’t be bothered to make your own? (We don’t blame you.) Our favorite is made by Sipsmith.
The Edinburgh Gin Company has just released a series of new liqueurs, made with their signature Gin. The Rose & Pomegranate is a personal favorite, which is sweet, light yet delightfully floral. If that’s not your thing, try their Plum & Vanilla or Rhubarb & Ginger liqueurs.
Gin-based liqueurs are great sipped neat (especially from a hip flask on a wintery walk with friends), but just as good in cocktails. Add a splash to your prosecco, Champagne, or other sparkling wine preference, or try it topped with Fever-Tree’s Sicilian Lemon Tonic for a truly refreshing tipple.
Flavoured GinsNot to be confused with their sugary brothers, flavored Gins are different to liqueurs, and not just due to the sugar content.
While liqueurs are usually around 20-25% ABV, the Gins we’re talking about here are full strength.
Citrus Gins are popular; Sipsmith’s Lemon Drizzle Gin (which started out as an experiment until the distillery realized they were on to a winner) and Chase Pink Grapefruit are both excellent examples of crisp, refreshing Gins which could almost be sipped neat they taste so good.
If Citrus isn’t your thing, or it just isn’t festive enough, try Sacred’s Christmas Pudding Gin. It might sound a little odd, but trust us, it works.
Finally, try Audemus Pink Pepper Gin, with spicy notes of pink peppercorn and cardamom at the fore, which give way to the sweetness of vanilla and honey.
Stock up on any of these beauties for the holiday season and make sure you’ve got something for everyone.