Spirit of the sea: why your next bottle of gin should come from the coast

These are the off-coast gin brands proving they are worth their salt...

The relationship between the ocean and gin is a romance which has spanned centuries. In the 1700s, the Royal Navy legislated that the juniper-based elixir had to be onboard every vessel as a panacea to the dangers faced when sailing the high seas. The Navy also did much to propagate gin to other countries, with cargo of both the spirit and the sailors who had a taste for it, docking into cities around the world.

And, whilst health and safety laws have come a long way since that time, the Great British love affair with gin has remained much the same — and continues to break industry records year on year. Now, with this wealth of history behind them, a handful of producers are spotting a unique opportunity, thanks to their location, to bring a taste of the coast to their bottles. Here, we’ve rounded up our favourite brands who are looking to the nuances of their local botanicals to create spirits with a little help from the sea.

For a taste of the Suffolk Coast: Fishers Gin

Crafted in Aldeburgh, between the sea and the salt marshes, Fishers gin infuses local herbs and coastal botanicals, capturing the wild flavours of the British Isles. Fishers founder, Andrew Heald, whose family has lived in Aldeburgh for many generations, was inspired to create a gin that reflects the power of the sea and the beauty of the wind swept landscape that surrounds this majestic old fishing town.

Botanicals are foraged locally and sourced from remote stretches of the British coastline, paying tribute to the maritime history of these islands.

Key botanicals:

  • Spignel
  • Rock Samphire
  • Wood Avens
  • Bog Myrtle

For a taste of the Outer Hebrides: Downpour Gin

North Uist Distillery, the only legal distillery located on Scotland’s outermost Hebridean islands of Uist, announced the release of the Island’s first ever gin in April. Downpour Gin is crafted to capture the spirit of Hebridean Island life, and is a strong, bold-flavoured spirit drenched in extra-strength botanicals — handpicked from the coast.

Unusually, despite being clear in the bottle, Downpour becomes cloudy once poured into the glass – and bursts into life with a splash of tonic, releasing essential oils from specially selected ingredients you can only find in this remote region.

Key botanicals:

  • Heather
  • Cassia
  • Clove
  • Orange

For a taste of the Isle of Wight: Mermaid Gin

Having undergone a recent design update, Mermaid Gin now looks as impressive as it tastes. Hand-crafted on the Isle of Wight using ten ethically sourced botanicals — it delivers a smooth blend of fresh organic lemon zest and peppery grains of paradise. The unmistakable hint of sea air in the gin comes from the fragrant rock samphire, which is handpicked on the island.

Key botanicals:

  • Rock Samphire
  • Orris Root
  • Liquorice Root
  • Boadicea Hops
  • Grains of Paradise

For a taste of the Scottish sandy beaches: Isle of Harris Gin

Every drop of Isle of Harris Gin is distilled in Tarbert in a small copper gin still, known affectionately as ‘The Dottach’, after a similarly fiery and feisty local woman. It’s an appropriately small-town system for a gin which takes its inspiration from its local environment in the southern part of the Scottish Hebridean island of Lewis and Harris.

The gin features nine botanicals, seeking to capture the elemental nature of the island and the sea which surrounds it.

Key botanicals:

  • Sugar Kelp
  • Cassia bark
  • Cubebs
  • Orris root

Further Reading