The best summer gins for 2019 – and five are made right here in Manchester


Thanks to the recent explosion of craft gin, there are more bottles on the market than even the most ardent juniper enthusiasts can properly keep up with.

There’s spiced gins, flavoured gins, pink gins, bathtub gins, London dry, American wet, gins with wine, and even barrel-aged gins. Overwhelmed? We don’t blame you.

To keep things simple, we’ve made sure every gin on this list works in a classic G&T. We’ve even included perfect serve suggestions to help you get the most out of their botanicals.

Still, most are varied and interesting enough to work in classic gin cocktails too, whether its a martini, a negroni or a gin sour you’re hankering after at the end of a long hot day. Just bear in mind the gin you use will have a large impact on the overall flavour of your drink.

Oh, and one last thing. Never forget: a good tonic will do wonders for a poor gin, but a good gin can be ruined by a bad tonic.

Gin Mare

Best for: Pretending you’re on holiday in the Med
Drink it with? 1724 tonic, a sprig of lavender and four wedges of lemon and lime

This savoury, herbal gin uses botanicals like Spanish Arbequina olives, Italian basil, thyme and rosemary to conjure the aromas of the Mediterranean. Distilled in a converted chapel between Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, every year the distillations are different as the acidity levels in the Arbequina olives vary from year to year.

The recommended tonic pairing 1724 (so named because it is created 1724 metres above sea level in the Andes) bubbles delicately without imposing on the gins crisp, dry finish. A perfect serve for a chilled summer evening.


Best for: Any time really, it’s delicious 
Drink it with?
Premium tonic and a few grapes

This silky gin comes from France’s Cognac region and is distilled using a neutral grape spirit most commonly associated with Brandy.

Botanicals include a macerated vine flower which blossoms once a year in mid-June for just a few days before giving birth to a grape berry, plus ginger root, green cardamom, nutmeg, lime and liquorice. Floral flavours dominate with a zesty mix of juniper and ginger to finish.

Forest Gin

Best for: Winding down after a stroll through Macclesfield Forest 
Drink it with?
Premium tonic, a sprig of rosemary and a grapefruit peel

Produced using a range of botanicals native to Macclesfield forest including wild bilberries, gorse flowers, moss and raspberries and housed in a beautiful Staffordshire Porcelain bottle, Forest Gin is up there with the very best.

Handcrafted by husband and wife team Lindsay and Karl Bond, it is incredibly fresh and complex.

Manchester Three Rivers London Dry

Best for: A stylish pre-dinner tipple
Drink it with? Double Dutch tonic, gin-soaked apricots and a sprig of rosemary

The only gin we would want to drink neat. Made in the heart of the Green Quarter at the City of Manchester’s distillery, this London Dry style takes its name from the three rivers that run through Manchester: the Medlock, Irwell and Irk. The addition of oats, in an intelligent nod to Manchester’s industrial past, give it a mid-palate sweetness.


Best for: Sushi picnics in the park (or at Picnicadilly) 
Drink it with? 
Premium tonic and a slice of crisp, green apple

A Scottish made, Japanese-inspired gin with an English woman at its heart, Jinzu shares its name with the Japanese river that flows through the prefecture of Toyama.

Combining traditional botanicals with yuzu, Junmai sake and cherry blossom, the sake provides an underlying sweetness whilst the yuzu gives it a citrus edge with an Eastern flair.

The Bay Horse Tavern Gin

Best for: After work G&T’s in the gin garden
Drink it with? Fever Tree original, a slice of orange and a bay leaf

Made in collaboration with Portobello Road gin, this one-size-fits-all gin works just as well in classic cocktails as a G&T (just like Portobello itself). The pub has been selling booze since the gin craze and created their own in homage to its history.

It takes inspiration from a traditional London Dry style with heaps of juniper and citrus and adds bay leaf, hay and pink peppercorn.

Ferdinands Saar Gin

Best for: Feeling sophisticated on those light summer evenings  
Drink it with?
Premium tonic, a sprig of lavender and a slice of lemon

Thirty organic botanicals infused with Schiefer Riesling constitute the basis for this intriguing German gin. But you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell, it doesn’t feel like there’s too much going on when you drink it.

These include lavender straight from the vineyards in the Konzer Talchen valley, garden-grown lemon thyme, juniper, sloe, rose hip, angelica, hop blossom and rose, plus almond shell, coriander and ginger – which provide a spicy kick.

Manchester Gin – Hacienda Edition

Best for: Nights reliving your misspent youth
Drink it with? Straight from the bottle at 4am because the mixer has run out

A tribute to Manchester’s history past and present, Manchester Gin’s new FAC51 edition has been created to celebrate our city’s music, culture and love of a good time in collaboration with New Order and Joy Division legend Peter Hook.

Paying homage to the iconic nightclub and the yellow-and-black-striped columns which once rose around the edge of its dance floor, its zesty notes of lemon and lime peel give a nod to the vibrant acid house movement.

I Love MCR Strawberry Jam Gin

Best for: A proper Manchester party 
Drink it with?
Double Dutch basil & pomegranate tonic and a sprig of rosemary

The I Love MCR Strawberry Jam gin has been made in partnership with the country’s oldest jam makers F. Duerr & Sons Ltd, based in Wythenshawe. It ticks all the boxes for this summer’s gin trends: pink, flavoured, and sweet.

Distilled in small batches in the heart of the city centre, this is about as Manchester as it gets.

Zymurgorium sweet violet gin

Best for: Reliving your tuck shop days in style 
Drink it with?
Premium tonic and a healthy dose of lemon

Technically more of a liqueur than a gin, Zymurgorium’s sweet violet edition tastes just like parma violets and will take you back to your childhood (albeit with an added boozy kick). It’s also great neat on the rocks.


Best for:  Enjoying with the takeaway curry you got in because it’s too hot to cook
Drink it with?
Double dutch tonic, a grapefruit peel and a few cardamom pods

Ophir takes its name from the legendary port from which King Solomon was said to receive a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, pearls, ivory, apes and peacocks every three years.

Its flavour profile was designed with the exotic ancient spice route in mind, and whilst the botanicals alone aren’t particularly unusual (cumin, bitter orange, cubeb, black pepper etc), the end product is exceptionally vibrant and aromatic.


Fancy enjoying a gin out on the town instead? Atlas bar is a mecca for gin-lovers in the city centre, with over 500 gins on its back bar. They update the list so regularly they host the full menu on their website to avoid those pesky printing costs.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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