The gin drinkers' guide to Yorkshire

27th February 2018

Pouring tonic into gin glass

Apart from London, Yorkshire drinks more gin than anywhere else in the UK. It’s no surprise then that Yorkshire has taken gin creation into its own hands, and now boasts a large range of its own trademark gins. Research by CGA has shown Yorkshiremen and women drank 64,188 more litres of gin last year compared to the year before, so it seems they really are trading in their tea for something much stronger (and arguably more delicious!)

Just like craft beer 10 years ago, craft gins are now on top. With the spirit having an unlikely revival recently, gin is now the tipple of choice for a lot of the country so it’s no surprise that so many craft gins are now appearing on the scene. A lot of distillers start because they are looking for something different, and for something that tastes like home. In this guide we will take you through some of reasons Yorkshire has become famous for its gin.

 

Masons Yorkshire Gin

Probably the biggest Yorkshire gin on the market right now, Masons Yorkshire Gin launched in only 2013, on International Gin Day, and has grown rapidly ever since. Masons Yorkshire Gin was the first gin distilled in Yorkshire, and Danielle Chapman, administrative assistant from Masons spoke to us about what makes it so unique: “When it comes to distilling, Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin is made in small batches, not because it’s easier, but because the owners believe that this traditional distilling method is better and produces a higher quality product. We are proud to be the first gin distilled in Yorkshire and try and use local products where we can; pure filtered Yorkshire water, lavender grown in Yorkshire and of course, Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea in our gins.”

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin

The history behind Masons Yorkshire Gin is an unexpected story of two people who stumbled into the gin business by chance. Danielle told us Masons’ story: “Based in Bedale, North Yorkshire, Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin Ltd. was started by husband and wife team, Karl and Cathy Mason. The Masons took their love of gin to social media by setting up the ‘Gin & Tonic Friday’ Facebook group for their friends, so they could all share the pictures of their G&Ts. After being inundated with countless pictures of G&Ts, the group’s fan base grew rapidly to over 10,000 followers.

Masons gin distillery

“As the group grew, so did Cathy and Karl’s knowledge and palate, allowing them to become connoisseurs of gin, as well as spokespeople for various events commenting on gin trends and tastes. After trying so many gins and finding that many tasted similar and were short of a depth of flavour, the pair decided to take a big leap and craft their own gin, created in their home county of Yorkshire.

“The pair underwent hours and hours of tasting, experimenting and distilling, with the help of a small distillery in Cambridge as none existed in Yorkshire. They created the perfect flavour and finish which would become Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin and more importantly a gin that Cathy and Karl would choose to drink and put their name to. They officially launched their product on World Gin Day in 2013.”

 

True North Brew Co

True North Brew Co’s story starts back in 1992 when Kane Yeardley bought an old, disused warehouse and turned it into The Forum, one of Sheffield’s most loved venues. From there Kane has started a successful brewery, coffee roastery and you guessed it, a gin distillery.

True North Sheffield Gin is the first gin to be distilled and bottled in Sheffield in over 100 years. True North is a small batch gin with an unusually herbaceous character and is all distilled in Sheffield by the head distiller Ben Schulze.

Sheffield Dry Gin

Ben Schulze himself spoke to us about the history and brewing process of Sheffield Dry Gin: “The first gin to be distilled in Sheffield for over 100 years, distilled right in the city center. With the distillers being from a bartending background, it was imperative that Sheffield Dry Gin be versatile, complimenting a wide variety of tonics while standing up to any cocktail (we think it holds its own in a gin martini – wet or dry).”

“This led the distillers to use an unusual – but justified – range of botanicals; traditional gin botanicals include Juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root and cassia bark making the spirit instantly recognizable as a dry gin, giving off resin-y pine and citrus. On top of these we add fennel, cardamom and gentian root – this gives Sheffield Dry Gin its herbaceous, dry and woody character. To add balance and brightness, a small amount of fresh grapefruit peel is added. Finally, a touch of Sheffield honey and a dash of Hendersons Relish are included, bringing more complexity to this unique spirit. Try with a slice of orange in your gin & tonic, the juicy citrus compliments the dry, woody notes exceptionally well.”

Ben also gave us the scoop on the rise of proper Yorkshire gins: “Did you know, outside of London, Yorkshire consumes the most gin in the U.K.? It’s no surprise that such an abundance of top-tier Yorkshire distilleries have emerged out of the furore that we often reference as the ‘Gin Renaissance’. While we can’t say for sure that the best gin comes out of Yorkshire (it does… Sheffield Dry Gin) what we can say is, God’s own country clearly has something special when considering the discerning taste buds of its passionate revellers.”

Finally, Ben told us his best way to enjoy a G&T in Yorkshire: “Get down to the Devonshire on Division Street in Sheffield and work your way through the 200+ gins, and don’t forget to order a Sheffield Dry Gin martini, wet or dry.”

 

Addingham Fruit Liqueurs

Addingham Fruit Liqueurs is a small family-run business on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Addingham Fruit Liqueurs produces not only gin but also vodka and is made using primarily locally sourced or picked natural ingredients.

Addingham Fruit Liqueurs

We to the team at Addingham about the history of the company: “A small family run business started by Fiona Mann, set in the picturesque, rural village of Addingham on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Introduced to Sloe Gin by her late father-in-law several years ago, Fiona decided to set up the business idea following encouragement from friends and family who tried the delicious recipes she was creating from the family kitchen.

Addingham Sloe Gin

“Having suffered a spinal stroke a few summers ago, she decided to take her cottage-industry business to the next level rather than get a 'proper 9-5 job' as she found that running a business from home fits in perfectly with her limited mobility. Made using primarily locally sourced or picked natural ingredients to create some truly delicious fruity drinks, Fiona has expanded the range to include not only the ever popular Sloe Gin but a number of other fruit liqueurs such as Rhubarb & Ginger Vodka and Gooseberry Elderflower Gin.”

 

Spirits Of Bronte Drinks

Spirits Of Bronte Drinks Company was started by self-proclaimed Yorkshire Lass Samantha Long. As a lover of small batch gin, she was inspired by the landscape and heritage of her home to create an old-school drink. The company is named after the famed Bronte Sisters, who famously wrote and lived on the local Haworth Moors, pictured below.

Haworth Moors

Within a few months of the company’s Yorkshire Lass’ Gin hitting the market, it managed to scoop up some awards and had started to be showcased across Yorkshire. Sam now partners with a local distillery to create small-batch Yorkshire Vodka, and is now dedicating herself to having Yorkshire Lass’ Gin distilled, bottled and labelled locally using spring water from the Haworth Moors.

 

That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company bottles and brands delicious and obscure gins from all around the world. Boutique-y curates some truly unusual gin flavours, such as Chocolate Orange, Swedish Rose, Hot Sauce, Cucamelon, Spit-Roasted Pineapple and many more. The original labels are all hand-illustrated and often contain some gin-based satire.

Although the gins from That Boutique-y Gin Company aren’t distilled in Yorkshire, the range is collected, designed and sold from Yorkshire. It shows the diversity of taste within the county, and the appeal of having a Yorkshire based gin brand.

 

Jacqson

​Jacqson Gin is a Yorkshire-based distillery creating bold and uniquely flavoured gins from the family team. Jacqson is a fairly new company in the world of gin but has already taken a space in the market with its unusual flavours and distinct taste

Jacqson Gin and cocktails

Jacqson talk about the history of their gin on their website: “The idea for Jacqson Gin came to mother and son team Jacqueline and Sam Dumigan (hence Jacq-Son) one sunny afternoon in early 2016 when Sam treated his mum to a gin appreciation session in a bar in West Yorkshire. During the afternoon mother and son decided that they very much enjoyed the flavours of the different gins they were tasting, and it occurred to them that here was an opportunity to create something new and exciting and personal to them.
​
“With a love of the beautiful county of Yorkshire both Jacqueline and Sam were passionate about creating a superb gin that would reflect something of their local area. The search was on for botanicals to combine and blend that would make a distinctive and tasty Yorkshire Dry Gin. Many fruits, herbs, spices and plants were tried and rejected and husband, Peter, was brought on board to help with the tasting.”

We spoke to Peter Dumigan about why he believes Yorkshire has the best gin, and the best way to enjoy a glass of the good stuff: “Yorkshire has the best gin because Yorkshire has the best everything - surely? And the best way to enjoy a glass of gin in Yorkshire is to make sure the gin is from Yorkshire!”

 

Whittaker’s

Whittaker’s Gin is a family-run business started by the Whittakers on their family farm in North Yorkshire. The family, with the help of some local tradesmen, refurbished an old agricultural building to create their own small-batch distillery. Whittaker’s takes full advantage of its surrounding and flavours its gin with local Hawthorne berries and Bog Myrtle, shown below.

Bog Myrtle

The team spoke to us about Whittaker’s Gin: “Est in 2015 by husband and wife team Toby and Jane Whittaker, the Harrogate Distillery, home of Whittaker's gin, is the only distillery in the Harrogate region with a growing collection of small batch gins and spirits distilled in a Yorkshire-made still called Jezebel using natural spring water from the heart of Nidderdale.”

 

Gin Festival

The Gin Festival is quickly becoming one of the most popular festivals in the country. The Gin Festival travels the country showcasing the best gins on offer, as well as providing food and entertainment. The Gin Festival, like all good things, was born in Yorkshire and the first event was held in Leeds in 2013. Since then the festival has grown from strength to strength and has more events, an online stall and a dedicated team.

Gin Festival

We spoke to Charly Bourne part of the team at the Gin Festival about the history of the Gin Festival:” Founded by husband and wife, Jym and Marie in 2013, GinFestival.com is on a mission to bring the best craft gins, packed full of flavour, to as many people as possible, while supporting both home-grown and international brands of gin and tonic. For example, at York Gin Festival over 100 different craft gins were available at our bars. With a massive 120 available to purchase at our event Gin Shop. â€‹We love and are massively proud to have built up a loyal gin community online and at our events.” ​

Pouring gin cocktail into Gin Festival glass

“There was never any doubt that Gin Festival would be founded in the northern home of gin - Yorkshire! With so many fantastic local gin brands and founders who are Yorkshire born and bred, it was an easy choice.” Laura told us “Helping small, local craft gin brands and distilleries has always been an important part of our ethos. Showcasing local brands gives these smaller companies exposure to our wider audience, both at events and online.”

If you are interested in getting a ticket for the Gin Festival, they have a handful of Yorkshire dates coming up.

 

So, next time you are looking for hotels in Scarborough, then get a taste of Yorkshire before you even get there with a try of some proper, Yorkshire gin.

 

Image Credits: Masons Yorkshire Gin, Addingham Fruit Liqueurs, Jacqson, Tim Green, Ole Husby, Bobby Bardsley