Manchester may not have as many gins as the Big Smoke, but we’re finally starting to punch above our weight when it comes to the delicious juniper spirit. Enough to be able to put together an A to Z of local gins.
So grab some tonic and ice and let’s pour a glass. Or head to Atlas Bar, Manchester’s biggest gin bar, which stocks the majority of these Manchester gins among its 350+ strong collection.
Alderman’s Didsbury Gin
Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood were no strangers to a G&T or two, and one Christmas Eve wondered if it was possible to pull the characteristics of their favourite gins into one. So they did. Taking inspiration from Fletcher Moss and Parsonage Gardens, and working with Union Distillery in Market Harborough, their first gin was a light citrus version of a London Dry gin, and is perfect with lemon thyme and pink grapefruit.
And they’ve not stopped there. A festive Christmas gin followed, and now a Raspberry and Elderflower edition is about to launch. Expect more to come.
Faith & Sons
A favourite with bartenders, Faith & Sons Gin is handcrafted in Manchester by Felipe Sousa. It’s a classic London Dry-style gin using six organic botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, lemon verbena and mandarin peel. But again, the gins don’t stop there because Sousa has expanded the range with vodkas, gin liqueurs and his own, in-house roasted coffee gin.
Fenney Street Gin
The new kid on the block. Elderflower, lavender and rose are just three of the thirteen hand selected botanicals giving Fenney Street Gin its distinctive light floral notes. A labour of love with only around 85 bottles produced per batch and each bottle hand labelled, hand filled and hand batched by Paul Carruthers and Becky Brown in a fully licensed nano distillery in their kitchen. They decided not to chill filter their gin which means that when ice or a cold tonic is added, a pearlescent haze appears in the glass as the essential oils from the botanicals are released. Definitely one to watch. And drink.
This gin from the four sisters of the seven brothers is actually from Salford, but as I love both cities and gin can be found at the Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse in Ancoats, I think that allows me to include it (plus I’m the one writing it, so…). Another difference with this gin is that it’s distilled a little differently. The botanicals are held in the basket at the top of the still so it’s light and crisp. A very easy drinker.
Though inspired by Japan, Kuro has its roots in Manchester. Craig Fell and John Thomson have taken the pine scented ski slopes of Japan and with the help of a master distiller behind most of the gins on your supermarket shelf, created a fresh, clean gin with botanicals including silver birch and bamboo.
A gin love story. It began in a tiki bar in the centre of Manchester where two gin lovers found each other whilst surrounded by rum lovers. Seb Heeley spotted Jen Wiggins from across the room (le sigh) and offered to buy her a drink. Two years later they released their first gin, a distinctive juniper-led drink with earthy flavours from dandelion and burdock. That was followed by three more, including their very popular and delicately pink Manchester Raspberry Gin.
Manchester Three Rivers Gin
Our second city centre based gin is Manchester Three Rivers. Taking inspiration from Manchester’s past, present and future, it’s the creation of Dave Rigby, who moved from lecturing to bar owning to master distiller. Not only is there a distinctive gin to be found in the railway arches of the Green Quarter, but also a gin school – offering both you and I the opportunity to learn a little about gin, how it’s made and also to make your own and take it home.
Thomas Dakin Manchester Gin
Thomas Dakin was the gentleman behind the Greenall’s distillery in Warrington, which isn’t just the oldest (established in 1761) but claims to be the home of the world’s first female distiller. The plan was for Thomas Dakin Gin to be distilled in Manchester but as yet there is no still distillery. Nevertheless, the gin carries Manchester’s name, and there’s no denying the innovation and skill behind the brand. Oh, and it’s also a rather lovely savoury style gin.
Another one that crosses the border into Salford, Worsley may be most well known for a copper coloured canal and a footballer or two, but now can count gin amongst its claims to fame. Created in collaboration with biochemist and master distiller Dr J, it includes botanicals from Worsley itself – buttercups, roses and dandelions – making it a distinctively floral gin.
Perhaps our most prolific distillers, Zymurgorium claim to be the original Manchester gin, and have followed it up with more, including a Manchester Marmalade Gin (using a locally made marmalade), and the incredibly popular Sweet Violet Gin (think parma violets in a glass). They also have a slew of liqueurs, mead and absinthe. Their original gin is made using their own brewed mead, which gives it an incredibly rich, honeyed, almost biscuity flavour profile.