Best Gins to drink this summer

It’s Gin Season at Fine Wine Delivery

Gin is going through something of a renaissance lately, the first iteration occurred in the 11th century and was used predominantly for medicinal purposes, before becoming popular as a beverage in the mid-17th century. Fast forward another 300 years and consumers, mixologists and distillers are spoilt for choice. At Fine Wine Delivery we have an ever-rotating selection of over 70 of this popular Juniper-based spirit, the majority of which are New Zealand made but with consumer demand for Gin and the waves of gin submissions we receive, we expect this number to increase dramatically over the coming years!

You may regularly drink Gin, or are new to trying it but do you know how it's made?

Gin starts off life as a colourless spirit, to which Juniper berries must be added and nearly always other botanicals too. The base spirit is derived by fermenting grain, sugar beets, potatoes, sugar cane, or even whey (as is becoming increasingly common in NZ – a by-product of the dairy industry). Basically, anything organic with a high starch/sugar content that can be fermented can be used as a base spirit for gin, but the best Gins are made from grain. Juniper is added to the base spirit (in large tea bags) before the base spirit is heated, evaporating the alcohol, turning it in to vapours. As these vapours rise up the still, they condense and the near pure alcohol passes through botanical cages, extracting flavour. Each distillation helps to increase the alcohol content. Sometimes other botanicals are steeped in the base spirit to extract colour and flavour before its heated and distilled, but this is up to the creativity of the distillery.

There’s an ever-growing range of Gins being produced, but the main (traditional) styles are:

Genever: “the mother of gin” this is the original gin developed in Belgium, it’s exclusively distilled from grain and only contains Juniper. Genever’s work well in ‘gin’ cocktails and/or mixed with soda and garnished with fruit.

London Dry: this is the most common style, it’s Juniper forward and dry on the palate. A vast array of botanicals are infused, often by way of column distillation through the 2nd and 3rd passes. This often is what you’ll be served when ordering a G&T from the bar.

Old Tom: this is a sweeter version, made so, through the addition of simple syrup, honey or liqueur, often these styles also appear citrusy, or ‘spicy’ through the addition of, for example, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla etc. Old Tom gin was originally used for the popular ‘Tom Collins’ cocktail.

Barrel Aged: as the name suggests, these are gins aged for an extended period of time in barrel. Often oak barrels are used (new/virgin oak or seasoned), but you sometimes see fruit or citrus woods also used. Occasionally these barrels have previously held other liquids like whisky, bourbon, or wine – each imparting their own nuance to the gin. Length of time in barrel and the wood used is up to the distiller and each result in vastly different and unique products. Barrel aged gins can typically be sipped neat, over ice, but also work well with Ginger Ale.

What style of Gin is for you?

With so much choice, it can be tricky to navigate your way through an endless sea of Gin labels, which is why we have developed our world leading AI technology Expert Assist to help you. If you want to try something new this is a great place to start, or if you have a favourite you already drink and want to see the breakdown of flavours, smells and tastes or compare to a similar product you can!

Every Gin on our website has it's own profile which will show you the style, smells, tastes, price and flavours. See example below for Monkey 47...

Hit the 'compare' button, and instantly be served up with a range of products that are similar to the one you're looking at. Feel confident trying something new!

Fine Wine Delivery have many great gins for you to enjoy this summer, see our top picks below:

Reefton’s Little Biddy Summer Gin (40%)

Reefton Distillery, located in the South Islands West Coast, started producing product in 2018, expanding their facility in 2022 to keep up with growing demand. Whilst their main production is in Gin, they also make fruit liqueurs, vodka and have some Whisky in barrel (to be released in 3+ years). All of their gins are grain based and use locally foraged botanicals. Little Biddy Summer would be classed as a London Dry and is infused with fresh, juicy New Zealand Oranges and Lemons with the summery addition of local West Coast Rata Honey. This gin is delicately floral and zesty, best enjoyed with Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water. Try a summer garnish of a sprig of mint passed through a fresh strawberry.

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (42%)

This could possibly be Australia’s most well-known and awarded Gin, amassing an impressive 11 gold medals, they clearly know what they’re doing too, twice being named International Gin Producer of the Year. Four Pillars focus is Gin and they do it very well. They exclusively source wheat grain from Bomaderry on the south coast of NSW, Australia – this creates an incredibly clean and smooth base spirit. This neutral base spirit is diluted to 30% ABV, pumped into the belly of the still where the botanicals are also added (steeped). Redistillation occurs over 7 hours, eventually resulting in an end product, highly botanical gin of 94% ABV, which is then diluted (proofed) down and bottled at the desirable and palatable 42% ABV. This benchmark gin is best enjoyed in a refreshing G&T, get experimental with the garnish – try Rosemary and Lime.

Gin133 Blue Alchemy (43%)

Gin133 is a collaboration we created in partnership with Puhoi Distillery. Made from the finest organic ingredients, with water sourced from a fresh artesian spring 221 metres below Puhoi and distilled to what we believe is the perfect balance at 43% abv. This is small batch distillation at its best with only 133 hand numbered, limited-edition bottles created each time. Our Blue Alchemy uses the magic hidden within the Butterfly Pea flower, that changes colour with the addition of a premium tonic water. It’s soft and delicately sweet, fresh and floral, with a hint of citrus.
Match this with East Imperial Old World Tonic to really emphasize those floral notes in a dry style which was hugely popular at the turn of last century.

Lighthouse ‘Mt Difficulty’ Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Gin (45%)

Lighthouse Gin is owned by Foley Family Wines, who own (along with many wineries both here and internationally) Martinborough Vineyards and Mt Difficulty Vineyard… so they’ve got access to an array of barrels, both new (virgin) oak and seasoned casks (namely Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Gin is a limited release, launched in November 2022. Here their ‘estate’ gin is aged for up to 12 months in seasoned (used) Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir barrels. The result is a naturally blush gin, with subtle ‘pinot’ notes of wild red-berries, thyme, and floral orange blossom. Try a Summer Gin Martini – replace the vermouth with a Pinot Noir wash and add the chilled gin. Alternatively, a G&T served in a large Pinot Noir glass with a garnish of fresh cherry and thyme will keep everyone happy this summer.

Makar Mulberry Aged Gin (43%)

This Gin is made by Glasgow Distillery (Scotland’s first Licenced Distillery), The ‘base’ gin is grain based and distilled 7 times, there are also 7 key botanicals, on top of Juniper, at the heart if this gin (fresh lemon and rosemary, pepper, coriander seeds, liquorice, cassia bark and angelica root). This London Dry gin is then aged in small 50L Handmade Mulberry Wood casks… Mulberries are small purple/black berries similar in look and taste to Boysenberry’s. The Mulberry wood also inherently has a sweet, zesty aroma – which infuses and imparts its character on to the gin. Makar Mulberry Aged Gin is a naturally light-straw colour with notes of vanilla, waxy lemon and subtle spice, it’s a smooth, delicately sweet gin with a lemony/citrus finish. This truly unique gin is Exclusive to Fine Wine Delivery, it’s lovely neat over ice, or mixed with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale and Lime. You could also experiment, by riffing an ‘Old-Fashioned’ cocktail, subbing out the Bourbon for Makar Mulberry Aged Gin.

Experiment with new and exciting gins this summer, Fine Wine Delivery have what you’re looking and the team will be able to point you in the right direction if you’re looking for something new. Check out our full selection of Gins online.
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