York Gins - The Perfect Tonic
Photo: Graham Hermon
Yorkshire has fast become a name recognised with quality gins, which is hardly surprising with over 50 distilleries across its four counties.
One distillery of note is York Gin, based in the city, it quickly established a reputation as a producer of some great flavoured spirits and for anyone who has yet to try a tipple of the six gins, my advice is do not delay.
The range of six world-class gins in what is York's only distillery, uses traditional methods perfected over centuries and it is not hard to see why Yorkshire Gins have won many awards.
The six gins all have different qualities. I like my gins neat and often use them as a digestif after a meal. That is how I first try them, and these gins are superb for just that, either neat, or poured over a piece of ice. A characteristic is that they are pleasing to the mouth and none of them have any harshness.
There are nine botanicals used in the typical York Gin (42.5% ABV), a London Dry (42.5% ABV)
, Gold Medal winner at the New York International Spirits Competition in 2020 - juniper, coriander, cinnamon, orris root, angelica, cardamon, black pepper, lemon peel and grains of paradise all of which, were available on the spice route in the 18th century. And this excellent gin has a good depth of flavour with a lovely smooth silky feel, one that can be savoured, with a lovely aftertaste. It makes for an enjoyable and pleasing drink and with the addition of tonic makes the perfect accompaniment to enjoy whilst putting the world to rights with friends.
If, like me, the only tea you drink is Earl Grey. On its own no lemon or milk, then York Gin’s Grey Lady (42.5% ABV)
will more than delight. It is deliciously subtle containing a wonderful surprise the bergamot is exactly right. I felt that shiver of pleasure as I tasted it. I complemented it with a little ginger, and I am sure cinnamon and coriander will work plus garnished with a hint of grapefruit when preparing the long drink will add that something special. Perhaps the introduction of lemon grass will add a little something else. York Grey Lady Gin is distilled with Earl Grey tea and infused with pea flower to create a hauntingly spectral blue-grey hue. It is quite simply divine.
Old Tom (42.5% ABV)
is a Victorian-style dry gin with White Rose of Yorkshire and fragrant herbs as its name implies. Old Tom is a straightforward and elegant gin that has the most exquisite finish and is smooth. This will not disappoint and if adorned with pink peppercorns and a carefully chosen tonic will be supped with pleasure and take it to a further level. Yorkshire’s Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome, provides the locally foraged herb and flower syrup that is added to the gin. This includes the Alba Rose -the Yorkshire Rose (it is white) that gives it a Yorkshire heritage.
Outlaw (navy strength 57% ABV)
Wow! This has an enticing nose and a stronger taste than the bouquet. It draws you in immediately and as it hits the back of the throat, it has a gentle warm kick to it and a slight sweetish taste. The botanicals are subtle and is smooth because of the double distillation method used. It is totally understandable why it won a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco 2019 World Spirits competition,
These gins have everything you expect from a dry gin and are rounded that is why I shall be returning to York Gins again and again - they will form part of my postprandial routine. That said they would all make for great classic aperitifs.
The last two in York Gin’s drinks cabinet include:
Roman Fruit (42.5% ABV)
another smooth and full-strength dry gin with the addition of strawberry and no added sugar. A Yorkshire-made tea infusion of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, and hibiscus gives the gin its deep imperial hue. The addition of the fruit is not overpowering it is diluted and as York Gin says, a light tonic and a few frozen raspberries will make this a good summer drink.
Whenever I visit York, I get the urge to indulge in chocolate and this last gin celebrates York’s history with chocolate manufacturer Terry’s, famous for its chocolate orange invented in York in 1932.
For me, Chocolate Orange (42/5% ABV),
is not quite my cup of tea. However, there are many people who will enjoy the chocolate flavour. The flavour was reminiscent of cooking chocolate but that said it works superbly well neat. The chocolate combines well with the distinct orange and the nine classic botanicals.
If you have not tried York Gin and yet a lover of this spirit, I would recommend you start today and enjoy the botanical flavours that have been captured. They match the best in their field and will become classics.