With the whole country seemingly in the grip of gin fever, Yorkshire certainly hasn’t been slow when it comes to offering a variety of ways for those wishing to enjoy their favourite tipple. So if you’ve confessed to being a ‘ginster’ and are looking to get in the spirit of things with new places to go or Yorkshire gins to try then here are some of our recommendations.
Artisan gin producers
Yorkshire folk are pretty good at artisanal endeavours, and copper stills have been bought, named (names include Jezebel and Steve) and skills honed to distill a variety of gins that incorporate locally-sourced ingredients – everything from juniper, bog myrtle and bilberries through to spring water and even Yorkshire tea. Local gins to look out for include:
- Bedale-based Masons Yorkshire Gin where the range now includes versions infused with Yorkshire tea and lavender.
- Whittaker’s Gin (with a very fetching label of a hare on the bottle) from Dacre Banks in Nidderdale.
- Harrogate’s Slingsby Gin where Yorkshire rhubarb and the town’s spring water are key ingredients.
- Newcomer Spirit of Masham has a very distinctive and pleasing flavour - enjoy it neat & with tonic!
- Special mention to one of our personal favourites, Sir Robin of Locksley Gin which is distilled in Sheffield and has a really pleasing hint of pink grapefruit.
If hangovers aren't really your thing, or you're the nominated driver you might want to make sure you have a ready supply of a new alcohol-free gin, Teetotal created in Skipton from The Temperance Spirit Company. It's been through thousands of blind-tastings when many people declared it to be one of the best "gins" they'd tasted!
There are new Yorkshire gins springing up across the county - the easiest way to keep track of them all, and discover the latest ones is to take a trip to the excellent Town End Farm Shop at Airton in Malhamdale, now dubbed, "The World's Leading Retailer of Yorkshire Gin"
Gin-teresting places to get in the spirit
Hmm, we could probably write a book on this but here’s a sprinkling of places we’ve come across in, or fringing, the Yorkshire Dales, offering an extensive range of gins:
- The Royal Oak, Dacre Banks, Nidderdale. This lovely country pub offers an extensive gin menu and each time we’ve popped in there’s a new one to try – ok, if we must!
- V.Sq, Skipton – a swish bar in the heart of this market town with gins tipping the 100-mark and staff with a passion for making the most of the beautiful grog! The bar also does private functions that might be handy for a gin-tasting group.
- The Gin Experience, Harrogate – a bar run by the Slingsby gin creators which also offers tasting and mixology events for groups.
- The White Lion, Cray, Wharfedale – if ever you need to be reminded about what makes Yorkshire gins special, then try sampling them while surrounded by archetypal Dales surroundings as found at this lovely refurbished pub.
Some quirky group gin-tasting ideas
If there’s a group of you and you’re looking for an alternative venue to hold your gin-tasting foray, then why not hire a narrow boat for an evening? We did just that in May from Pennine Cruisers in Skipton and meandered along the canal before mooring up to sample and discuss the Ginstitute’s gin library.
Not only did the gang reveal previously unknown skills for helming and lock-negotiating, but the languid mode of travel proved an ideal match for the gimlet cocktails being served (gin and lime juice for those not in the know!).
Alternatively, if all you have is one of those ready-mixed tins of gin and tonic then head to Brimham Rocks for a picnic. This beautiful area just outside Pateley Bridge has fantastic views and you’ll be amazed at your imagination’s ability for seeing the resemblance that many of the rock formations have to various creatures after a few good slurps of gin. Blog by Amanda Brown, Founder & Chair of the Ginstitute