As the mercury falls and 2023 draws to a close, we’re reminiscing on the year that was and thinking of the very special releases we’ll be enjoying in 2024. We’ll also be talking about some big news in the year ahead.
It’s been a great year for gin, with some exciting new distillery launches, as well as the continued development and experimentation with the spirit we love so dearly.
The past years have ushered in a gin renaissance as well as the drive to eco-friendly, sustainable production. These go hand in hand with a passion for the environment and local fauna: 2023 saw a real increase in makers taking inspiration from the botanicals and herbs growing around them. We see this continuing in 2024, and expect some serious terroir-driven examples in the new year.
This leads neatly into the flavoured gin space, with a rise in interest in organic, fresh, authentic flavours. Over the past few months, there has been a slew of releases with citrus and berries at the fore, as well as some beautifully floral pink gins. We’re looking forward to more of the same in 2024.
And speaking of flavours, watch out for some astonishing new spirits riding a new wave of Asian influence. We’re expecting even more unique gins flavoured with exotic botanicals like cherry blossom (sakura), yuzu, tea leaves, sansho pepper, or galangal.
It’s an exciting time for Edinburgh Gin. For starters, we’ve just had the launch of their newly rebranded Dry and Full-strength range. They’ve upped their sustainability game too, removing all secondary packaging and pushing for recyclable materials, like the new aluminium tin capsules and FSC-certified paper labels. It’s all part of a move towards net zero. The new-look range also echoes the premium spirits in the bottles – multi-award-winning gems which pay tribute to their Scottish roots with botanicals like milk thistle and heather.
In even bigger news, summer 2024 will see the unveiling of Edinburgh Gin’s new distillery. This is a multi-million-pound project at the junction of Cranston Street and East Market Street in the heart of the city.
Released to coincide with the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Blackeye Gin is another one to watch out for. Created by ‘03 World Cup winner Mike Tindall, ex-England and Wasps legend James Haskell, and sports broadcaster Alex Payne, this is a gin with a mission. For every bottle sold, they’ll make a £1.50 donation to the Blackeye Rugby Fund. This helps fund research, reduce sports-related risk, and offer aid in recovery for players affected by serious injuries sustained playing the game they love.
It’s a tart, subtle, floral citrus-forward gin, made with botanicals sourced from each of the major rugby nations. Great in a G&T, but really rather good in a citrus-forward cocktail a Gin Fizz.
Another celebrity gin here… This is from Sam Heughan, the debonair Scotsman who stars as Jamie Fraser in the sci-fi series, Outlander. He’s set up his own drinks brand which celebrates all things Scottish. His range started with an award-winning Sassenach blended Scotch, and now he’s only gone and done it again with a fabulous Scottish gin.
This stuff is infused with eight different botanicals inspired by his home region of Galloway in the southwest of Scotland. It’s a bold, fresh, fruity spirit, with tart apple, berry fruit, juniper and some toasty cereal notes.
Since its inception in 2018, Oxfordshire’s small-batch gin distillery Sky Wave has caused quite a stir. The brand was launched by the adventure-loving pair Rachel Hicks and Andrew Parsons, who set out to make gin which was inspired by their adventures, whilst paying homage to their home county. The result earned the title of World’s Best Contemporary London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards, as well as various Gold and Double Gold medals from the great and the good in the industry.
They’ve relaunched the range in reimagined bottles, giving the gins a smart, premium feel that reflects their craft, small-batch nature. At the same time, they’ve moved away from the 50cl size to the industry-standard 70cl. Their Signature London Dry is a recent favourite, made with 13 botanicals from around the world. Bursting with flavour, it’s crisp, and tangy, with big spice notes and nicely balanced sweetness.
New in 2023, Hendrick’s launched a stunningly floral, botanical, luscious gin in the form of Flora Adora. This limited edition takes their signature mix of cucumber and rose, and introduces a range of floral botanicals beloved by pollinating insects. It was created by the brand’s master distiller, Lesley Gracie, who took inspiration from watching the insects pollinating flowers in her garden on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast.
It’s full of blossoms and fresh flowers. It’s like the classic Hendrick’s but even greener and more evocative. Try this in a Clover Club or in a really refreshing Gin and Tonic.
We also have big news from Eden Mill, which is currently building a brand new distillery on the new St Andrews University Eden Campus. The facility will open its doors in 2024 and will feature large glass windows to marvel over the stunning views of the Eden Estuary and the St Andrews skyline. It’ll also be an eco-friendly affair: all the electricity will be 100% renewable, either from solar or other renewable sources. In addition to this, they’ll capture any CO₂ produced during fermentation so it can be used by the university.
In case you missed it, check out the result of a collaboration between Eden Mill and the one and only Gordon Ramsay… Ramsay’s Gin also got a brand-new, more sustainable bottle in 2023, made with 18% less glass than the standard industry size. It’s flavoured with Scottish coastal botanicals, including honeyberries and mara seaweed. It’s a really bright, vibrant spirit, with plenty of fruit up front, and a charming salinity which will pair it neatly in a Dry Martini!