The spirit of the East Coast
We handpick the craft distilleries blending gin, whisky and other spirits on the east coast mainline
Drinking has become a whole lot more foodie in the last few years: words like ‘artisan’, ‘small-batch’ and ‘craft’ are cropping up everywhere.
There’s a trend to seek out something quirky and different when talking gin, whisky and beer, and that shows no sign of slowing in 2018.
Fuelling this craze for artisan booze is a new generation of craft distilleries. Here are some of the best along our route.
Abbie and Chris at Cooper King ditched the rat race for the spirits game after a year-out trip to Oz. It’s gin-making with a scientific feel; using cold-vacuum distillation (whatever that is) as well as the traditional copper pot. The result? The best from each individual botanical. Yorkshire malt spirit keeps things local, and, well Yorkshire. You can find the distillery in Sutton-On-The-Forest, 8 miles north of York.
These guys do exactly what they say on the tin. Make gin in Leeds. And what a gin it is. It’s made using rhubarb from highly respected Leeds grower E Oldroyd & Sons. The woman behind Leeds Gin describes it as a ‘traditional dry gin with a heavy juniper taste’. You can taste it at some of Leeds’ hippest bars.
There’s a new kid on the block. York Gin is fast becoming the spirit of choice within this fine old city's walls. It’s handmade by a small team of gin-loving friends from York, who all felt the city needed a distinct flavour of its own and spent five years bringing their dream to life. You can try this unique craft dry gin across the city, including at York's Hilton hotels.
Prefer a pint? Northern Monk Brew Co in Leeds uses centuries-old brewing techniques to craft amazing beers from its base in an old mill.
This place is cool. Spread across 4 floors in a building on Portobello Road near Notting Hill is a gin distillery, several bars and boutique hotel rooms. They celebrate the history of gin in London with references to Dickensian days, pubs and ne’er do wells. It’s all very hip and rock and roll. Don’t miss the Ginstitute – a gin blending experience run from the basement of one of London’s oldest pubs.
East London Liquor Company
Long before the hipsters moved into East London, there were distilleries – and lots of them. Now both live side-by-side with the East London Liquor Company.
They are ‘bringing spirits production back to London’s East End after more than a century,’ they say.
They offer gins, whiskies and vodka for the more discerning customer like their wheat vodka which is distilled in a state of the art copper pot and boasts a creamy mouthfeel and anise aftertaste.
Prefer a pint? Head to indie central Camden and the Camden Town Brewery –home of Hells lager and weekend street food vendors.
These guys are all about the gin. And it’s the first Edinburgh distillery to do only gin in over 150 years. The gin in question is named Pickering’s, and it’s made in small batches in 500-litre copper stills named Gert and Emily (honest – they’ve even got their own back story) with 9 botanicals. Its secret? The bain-marie that gives a ‘slow, luxurious simmer,’ apparently.
The Clydeside Distillery
Head down to the Queen’s Dock in Glasgow and you can see craftsmen distilling finest single malts the good old fashioned way – by hand at Clydeside Distillery.
The perfect spot for whisky lovers who aren’t quite ready to commit to a favourite tipple yet, the Tasting Room gives you the chance to sample wee drams from across different regions of Scotland.
Langstane Liquor Company, Aberdeen
Tucked away in the Orchid cocktail bar, this micro-distillery may be small but it puts out perfectly-formed spirits. The brand’s Porter’s Gin combines modern cold distillation with classic methods, resulting in a gin that has both a fresh citrusy flavour and a strong juniper body – perfect for cocktails and long drinks.
Prefer a pint? Brewdog is a craft beer giant – head to their state-of-the-art eco brewery in Aberdeenshire to see how it’s done.
Discover the spirits of the east coast for yourself.