Published: 09:47, 25 November 2020
| Updated: 11:19, 25 November 2020
Let’s beGin this festive season by raising a glass to Kent’s gin makers, who have tours, experiences, and plenty of tipples, to put on your list - or on someone else’s - for Christmas.
Here's what they have on offer:
Sited right in the heart of the town centre at Market Buildings, the distillery, which only opened in June, offers people the chance to make and name their own gin, complete with a personalised label. Customers can make their own mix using a miniature copper still during a two-hour session, a set of scales to measure the right amount of botanicals and neutral grain spirit, before the distillation process begins.
Founded by Darren and Sam Graves, the distillery has its own signature George Bishop gin, made on site, and the firm also turned its hand to making hand sanitiser this year. Tours and experiences are postponed until after lockdown. Book at themaidstonedistillery.com
Copper Rivet Chatham
The award-winning gin producers based at Chatham Maritime, who also turned to making alcohol-based hand gel in the current crisis, also produce whisky and vodka, and last year made Leeds Castle’s limited edition 900th anniversary gin.
Based at the Pump House in Leviathan Way, they use Kentish grain grown in fields just 20 miles away, and products include the signature Dockyard Gin, along with strawberry and damson gin. Tours, which are usually very popular, are currently on hold. Buy at copperrivetdistillery.com
Anno Distillery Marden
The Marden-based gin makers make, among others, the strongest gin in the world, which even comes with a measuring cup to ensure you’re not overdoing it. Anno Extreme 95, which comes in a presentation box, is one of those made by the firm, launched by lifelong scientists Andy and Norman who decided to use their expertise and passion to start Anno in 2011.
They produce nine spirits, including whisky, sloe gin and vodka. Tours and experiences have had to be postponed until after lockdown.
Shop at annodistillers.co.uk
Wild Spirits of Kent, Maidstone
Founded by Louise Newland and Gill Ford after being inspired by the botanicals they could forage on long walks with their dogs, the Bearsted pair use hand picked fruits and flowers steeped in Kent-distilled premium gin or vodka. Their products include damson gin and sloe gin, as well as blackberry vodka and quince vodka.
You can buy online and the firm also sell at some Kent farmers’ markets. Find out more at wildspiritsofkent.co.uk
Chapel Down, Tenterden
Think Chapel Down is all about wine? Then think again - the company makes two gins, the Bacchus Gin - a first made from distilled Bacchus grape skins in the country - and Pinor Noir gin. The company also has a Chardonnay vodka, besides its many award-winning wines too. The company also has the Ashford-based Curious Brewery as another string to its bow. The company has various combinations of the drinks as gifts and the winery shop is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm. Find out more at chapeldown.com
Greensand Ridge, Shipbourne
The carbon-neutral micro-distillery near Tonbridge is on a mission to develop breathtaking spirits the slow way. It takes its name from the hills that surround the Weald, where the flavours are sourced. The signature premium London dry gin includes eight botanicals that can be found within a mile of the distillery. Find out more at greensanddistillery.com
Founded in 2011, the award-winning drinks brand was created by three friends who wanted to make distinctively delicious drinks that they would enjoy themselves - be that a gin, a rum or other treats - and took some inspiration from the past. Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin is made in small batches of 30 to 60 bottles and is made using a traditional hand crafted method. ableforths.com