Gin has seen a significant increase in popularity across Britain in recent years. The juniper-based spirit was previously considered old fashioned, or as my mother says, ‘the alcoholic’s drink of choice’. However, consumption of gin has risen significantly in the last five years, with new micro-distilleries popping up all over the UK to meet the growing demand. In fact, the number of UK gin brands has doubled since 2010 increasing from 31 to a whopping 73. So what is the secret behind this gin revolution?
Firstly, gin has a lot to thank cocktails for. Over the last few years cocktails have become more popular than ever, with many restaurants, pubs and bars adding the delicious drinks to their menu to help increase revenue. The last five years has also seen the rise of the cocktail bar, the London trend has spread throughout the UK, with trendy boutique cocktail bars popping up all over the country. These bars have helped to promote gin as a fashionable drink. The diverse, floral flavour of gin lends itself well to a range of cocktails and is the key ingredient in hundreds of recipes, from the sophisticated Martini to the fruity Singapore Sling. There is also an increasing trend for dedicated gin bars across the country. Cities like London and Bristol boast a number of boutique gin bars which offer hundreds of varieties of gin and flavour combinations, further promoting gin-drinking as exciting and fashionable.
As an increasingly health conscious nation the revival of gin could also partially be down to the fact that it is perceived as a ‘skinny option’. Britons are more aware than ever that what we drink can affect our weight in exactly the same way as what we eat can, with a large glass of red wine coming in at 228 calories, around the same amount as a Cornetto Ice Cream. A gin and slim-line tonic, however, contains just 56 calories causing many people to plump for a gin over their usual glass of wine or sugary Coca-Cola.
The provenance of gin is also having an influence on the gin-drinking culture of our nation. As I mentioned previously there are small distilleries popping up all over the country, meaning that wherever you live there is probably a fantastic local gin that you can try. More so than ever, people are interested in where their food and drink comes from. We like to eat locally sourced produce and, in the same vein, if there is a gin being produced nearby, the chances are we would like to try it!