This city happens to be home to some of the country’s very best distilleries and gin-makers
Thanks to its status as a firm favourite of sailors in the 19th century, gin has long been the spirit of choice in pretty much every port in England. Liverpool, of course, is no different and is thus home to some of the country’s very best distilleries and gin-makers. Many are only made in small batches, so be sure to get behind your local producers... preferably with some ice and a splash of tonic.
Liverpool Gin has arguably been the cream of the crop of Merseyside’s gin industry for quite some time now. They distil their product just over the road from the site of one of Liverpool's oldest distilleries - at Bank Hall. Their gin, which is probably the easiest of all to find, is made from juniper, coriander, angelica roots and citrus fruits and is defined by a balanced, botanical flavour with a cereal note and a citrus finish. Liverpool Gin is only going to become more prolific, too, with the company planning to open a new distillery and bar on Castle Street at the end of the year.
Three Graces is something of a new kid on the block, having only been released over the summer months. Created as the result of a collaboration between father-and-son duo Alan and Drew Hutchinson and Sam Mercer of the Volunteer Canteen, Three Graces is a rose gin made with juniper, rosebud essence, coriander, angelica root, orange and lemon peel. The result is a dry and delicate gin with a kick of citrus and a warm, spicy aftertaste. It's pretty rare - only 1,000 bottles are made in each batch – but is available to buy online.
Read more here: Three Graces gin - Liverpool gets its spirit back
Tappers are an independent family distillery based out of West Kirby on the Wirral. They're a locally-sourced, ethical gin-maker who keep their batches small (around 40 bottles at a time) and produce gins using a rare method known as compounding, which was traditionally used in the production of bathtub gin during the American Prohibition. Wintergreen is a seasonal gin distilled by Tappers in the colder months of the year. Its botanicals include spruce needles, birch bark, cassia bark and meadowsweet, giving the gin a crisp note with a smooth and dry finish. Wintergreen is available online from Tappers themselves.
Sisterhood Rhubarb Gin is another newcomer to the Liverpool gin scene. Created by close friends and gin-lovers Jamie-Leigh Burgess and Claire Barclay, Sisterhood is - as you might have guessed - a celebration of feminist action and inclusivity. It's a small batch produce, made from juniper, lavender, coriander, cardamom and, of course, rhubarb, giving it a sweet and easy taste. Don’t expect to find it in any supermarkets anytime soon, but you can buy it now over on MyGin.co.uk.
Pink Dog is produced at a distillery over on the Wirral and, for two years now, has been a firm favourite for gin fans across Merseyside. It's made on a copper micro-still named "Pinkleton" using botanicals which include rose, cardamom and citrus, resulting in a bright, sour fore with a piney core and a smooth finish. It's best served with a good tonic and ice, and preferably with some fruit (such as strawberry) as garnish. Pink Dog is available on Amazon too, meaning you can get it in your cabinet with minimal effort.
Ginsmiths make their gins right in Liverpool itself - in a distillery located in the Baltic Triangle - using a number of local ingredients and exotic botanicals. Their dry gin is a classic, and is defined by the inclusion of sea holly, the city's own flower, foraged from the shores of the Mersey. It's juniper-led with no small amount of citrus and spice notable in its character. Perfect for a real taste of Liverpool.
No prizes for guessing where this one is made. Ormskirk Gin draws on the town's culinary history and includes one of the area's most renowned foodstuffs for its botanical make-up: ginger. It's ginger which gives Ormskirk Gin a spicy finish after a leading aroma of citrus and floral tones. Only around twenty bottles are made in each batch, so snap it up if you can find it.
Formby Gin began as a hobbyist distillery, but has grown in the last few years into one of Liverpool's finest dark horse gin-makers. Its botanicals - which include lavender, orris root, coriander, citrus, angelica and liquorice root - are sourced in and around the Formby area, and create a juniper-led nose with citrus aromas and a floral finish.
Torintone Gin launched just over two years ago as a new venture by the Wirral's Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa. Inspired by the Norman Domesday Book's name for Thornton, this particular gin uses juniper, coriander, caraway, lemon, cubeb and elderflower to give it a unique, zesty taste. It’s not available to buy online, but you shouldn’t have any problems getting hold of a glass if you stop by the hotel itself.
Darkside is another gin produced by Tappers – and arguably their most famous. Taken from the term given to the Wirral by Edwardian day-trippers, Darkside is another compounded gin made with red clover flowers, chickweed and sea beet foraged by the distillery themselves, to give it a warming, smooth and dry taste with significant herbal notes. According to Tappers, it’s a gin which earnestly reflects the nature of the English coast… but you’re probably best off tasting it yourself to make sure.