For a drink that’s over 400 years old, gin seems to be enjoying a somewhat belated moment in the sun. The 2019 Gin Masters awards are a pretty good gauge of this, with over 300 entrants this year – a huge advance on just four years ago when the competition attracted fewer than 100.
So what were the big winners? The Spirits Business has an in-depth writeup of the day, but if you just want to create a boozie shopping list, then these are the tipples you should be targeting.
If money is no object, you’ll be looking for bottles from the Ultra Premium category – gins that sell for over £36 a bottle. Of these, five gins earned Master medals: Short Cross Bartender Series One, Scilly Spirit Distillery’s Island Gin, North Uist Distillery’s Downport, Glenrinnes Distillery’s Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin and the classic version of Shortcross Gin. The last of these was said to pack “smoothness in abundance”, which is something I would love to have engraved on my tombstone.
In the price bracket below, Super Premium (£21 to £35 a bottle), two gins earned the Masters medal: Atlantic Galician Spirits’ Nordés Atlantic Galician Gin and Masons Yorkshire Lavender Gin.
Gins in the Premium and Standard categories didn’t achieve any Masters medals, but the tiers were a triumph for supermarkets Aldi and Lidl. The Darley Traditional Dry Gin (Aldi Australia), Harrison’s Gin (Aldi UK) and Richmond Gin (Lidl) all grabbed gold medals in the standard category for bottles under £15. Lidl also grabbed a gold and silver medal in the Premium group (£16 to £20) for its Aquine Scottish Craft Gin and Hortus Premium Pink Gin respectively.
Aldi also grabbed a Masters medal for its Greyson’s Seville Orange & Persian Lime Gin in the flavoured category, while Lidle bagged a gold medal in the Sloe Gin group for its Hortus Artisan Slow Liquer.
If all of this has made you thirsty for a tipple, then be sure to check our our list of the best gin in 2019. Bit early for me, but no judgement here.
Image: Bethany Khan, used under Creative Commons