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12 best gifts for gin lovers: From glasses and games to tonics and sweets

It’s be-gin-ning to look a lot like Christmas...

Alicia Miller
Friday 17 December 2021 10:27
<p>The ginaissance means that alongside a boom in boutiquey brands, related paraphernalia has flourished</p>

The ginaissance means that alongside a boom in boutiquey brands, related paraphernalia has flourished

That gin lover in your life deserves something special, so, when birthdays and holidays roll around, don’t just default to gifting another bottle of the juniper-infused spirit. There are so many gifts to give that are far more creative.

The ginaissance of recent decades means that alongside a boom in boutiquey brands, related paraphernalia has flourished. You can now buy everything from gin-scented candles to juniper-flavoured chocolate. One might even say that the choice is overwhelming. At least it would be, if you didn’t have this handy guide.

But what makes the ideal gift? It depends, of course, on what else your recipient likes; whether they have an affinity for homewares, games or treats. But it also depends on how they take their gin. Are they a dedicated G&T drinker? Or are they big on crafted martinis or negronis?

When choosing the best gifts, we cast the net wide – after all, we wanted to include something for everyone. We firmly believed that not every gift had to be alcoholic. Just because your gift recipient loves gin, doesn’t mean they want to consume it 24/7 (or at least, we hope they don’t). Instead, we focused on including gifts that felt unique and captured a different element of what people might love about the spirit.

How we tested

We tested our gin products first-hand: sipped from the glasses, devoured the boozy sweets and played (and won) the gin board game. We read the gin book cover to cover too, just to make sure that it would meet the exacting standards of the gin obsessive you know.

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Finally, when compiling our list of the best gifts for gin lovers, we chose not to include anything over-the-top expensive. If you’ve got a budget to cover more than one of the below gifts, why not consider gifting two items, or three? It will only double or triple your gin lover’s pleasure.

The best gifts for gin lovers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Smith & Sinclair gin obsessed alcoholic cocktail gummies: £15,
  • Best for trivia geeks – Talking Tables the gin game: £22,
  • Best for colourful drinkers – Anton Studio Designs fizz gin glasses, set of four: £46.10,
  • Best for samplers – Drinks by the Dram tasting set: £19.95,
  • Best for G&T fans – Double Dutch exploration pack: £18.15,
  • Best for martini fiends – No.3 Gin’s Vesper martini: £35,
  • Best for Instagram drinkers – Polly’s Petals the gin botanical collection: £24.99,
  • Best for bookworms – ‘Gin Glorious Gin’ by Olivia Williams, published by Headline Publishing Group: £10.99,
  • Best for slogan fiends – The Just Slate Company gin is my tonic’ set of four gin tonic stemless glasses: £40,
  • Best for DIY types – Sandy Leaf Farm the ultimate gin maker’s kit: £30.87,
  • Best for kitchenware lovers – Peak extra-large ice cube tray: £15,
  • Best for mixologists – Urban Bar coley jigger, copper: £12.28,

Smith & Sinclair gin obsessed alcoholic cocktail gummies

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Alcoholic gummies might not sound like the height of sophistication, but these knee-wobblingly-good treats really impressed us. More akin to a crafted French pâte de fruits than a Percy Pig, Smith and Sinclair’s treats are grown up, innovative and (blissfully) not too sweet. And though they pack a bit of punch – they’re about 5 per cent ABV – it’s done with class and balance; we wouldn’t be surprised to see these dished up at the end of a Michelin-starred meal. We can’t imagine a gin lover who wouldn’t enjoy ‘em.

The flavourings are genius. The sugar-dusted gummies are modelled after four classic gin-based cocktails (G&T, gin fizz, negroni and bramble), but with a herbal twist of hibiscus, elderflower and thyme. They genuinely taste like their respective drinks, but in solid form. The hibiscus negroni has a pleasant kick of bitter orange; the classic gin and tonic a freshness that reminded us of Mediterranean-style G&T. As for impact? Let’s just say that after two gummies we were having a great time. Do ask your giftee to consume responsibly.

Talking Tables the gin game

Best: For trivia lovers

Rating: 8/10

What to get for the gin fiend who has everything? It has to be this trivia-based board game, perfect for a spirited night in with a favourite pour. Grab a bottle-shaped token and be-gin the journey around the board, answering questions and picking up essential G&T “ingredients” – gin, tonic, ice, botanicals and garnishes – as you go.

There’s no actual drinking involved (a pro or a con, depending on your point of view). But it does pay to have sunk a few gins in the past, as it’ll help with the trivia. Expect questions on gin history (true or false: gin and tonic originated in India?), mixology (the Vesper is the signature drink of which spy?) and brands (what colour is Tanqueray’s bottle?). It’s not only suited to pros, though. Pop culture questions keep gin-appreciating novices interested in the game, too. Cheers to that.

Anton Studio Designs fizz gin glasses

Best: For colourful drinkers

Rating: 9/10

We love a G&T, but of all the drinks out there, it can often look kind of dull. Enter, these eye-catching balloon-shaped glasses, which add a flash of colour to the otherwise transparent serve. Packaged in a set of four, each glass is mouth-blown, and therefore entirely unique.

They’re uniformly jazzy though: think hues of blue, orange, green and purple, with “fizz” bubbles dotting each bowl’s base. Pretty enough to look at when empty, but the real magic happens once filled with liquid. Viewed from the right angle, hues are augmented, so the entire glass seems to glow. Those fizz bubbles appear magnified too, adding real wow-factor to your recipient’s G&T.

Of course, because the glasses are largely clear, it’s still possible to appreciate any crafted garnishes or theatrically large ice cubes. And your giftee can go wild, because there’s plenty of space to include them. At 700ml, each glass is – as coincidence would have it – large enough to hold an entire 70cl bottle of gin. Not, of course, that we’re encouraging that…

Drinks by the Dram tasting set

Best: For samplers

Rating: 9/10

This testing set describes itself as “the end of buyer’s remorse” and, actually, we have to agree. When you buy a cheap gin it’s not a big deal if you don’t like it, but if you’re splashing out? It’s got to be a winner. And this set of 30ml bottles lets the gin obsessive in your life try before committing to a fancy pour. It includes five top-shelf gins perfect for mixing into G&Ts, sipping straight or splashing into martinis.

The five tipples – Bathtub, Conker, No. 3, Hernö Old Tom and Four Pillars rare dry – are all packaged up in a gift-worthy style, with wax-dipped seals and info cards that give your recipient space to scribble their own tasting notes. And they should have plenty of tasting notes, as each gin included is an entirely different, delicious style. The origins are interesting, too: Hernö is from Sweden, for example, and Four Pillars is Australian. Basically, you’re gifting your loved one a globe-trotting sipping adventure – all for just £19.95.

Double Dutch exploration pack

Best: For G&T fans

Rating: 8/10

Maybe your giftee is all about trying new gins. But have they ever experimented with different tonics? This aptly named “exploration pack” from premium tonic producer Double Dutch will let them customise and tweak that other big ingredient that goes into a G&T.

We named Double Dutch’s Indian tonic water as our favourite tonic water recently, and your giftee will be able to taste why: there’s a 200ml serve included in this case. They’ll also get to sample 10 other tonics and mixers from the range, including cucumber and watermelon, pomegranate and basil, and rhubarb and pine needle. Once they find their favourite Double Dutch mixer, you can order a whole case of that for their next birthday or holiday gift. And, suddenly, that’s a year’s worth of gin-spired gifts, sorted.

No.3 Gin’s vesper martini

Best: For martini fiends

Rating: 9/10

If you didn’t know, Alessandro Palazzi of London’s Dukes makes some of the best martinis on the planet. And, if you didn’t know, we named No.3 Gin as our favourite gin of 2021. So, a bottling that combines Palazzi’s know-how with No.3’s sippable spirit? We can’t imagine anything more tantalising for a martini drinker.

The vesper martini – the most popular martini at Dukes, and a supposed favourite of James Bond – is made with just gin, vodka and vermouth. It sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly hard to get the balance right, and this readymade pour has done all the hard work for you. Just stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving, then pour away. Even drunk neat, minus a twist of orange (as suggested) or an olive, it tastes like it’s been freshly made in a quality bar – creamy, smooth, savoury.

One tip: don’t forget about the bottle in the freezer. At 28.6 per cent, it can actually freeze solid if left for too long. Which, to put it mildly, might put a dampener on cocktail hour.

Polly’s Petals the gin botanical collection

Best: For Instagram drinkers

Rating: 8/10

Gin, tonic, ice – they’re not the only things that go into making a great G&T. The right garnish can elevate your drink to a whole new level, enhancing existing flavours or bringing out new ones. And if you’ve got a friend who’s into dressing up their serves like they’re at a first-rate bar, this prettily packaged kit will help them do it.

Produced by a family-owned business in Dorset, the set of six jam jars contains a range of herbs and spices for adding colour and zip to cocktails. There are wrinkly juniper berries for enhancing flavour in G&Ts; pink peppercorns for adding gentle fruity heat to brambles; cardamom for highlighting exotic aromas in tropical gins; or dried pea flowers to naturally dye any drink blue and purple. Refills are available at a discounted price, so you can keep your gin-lover topped up over the long-term, too.

‘Gin Glorious Gin’ by Olivia Williams, published by Headline Publishing Group

Best: For bookworms

Rating: 9/10

Mother’s ruin – we bet you’ve heard the old 18th-century nickname for gin. But do you know how the juniper-flavoured spirit got it? Or, for that matter, how gin came to be in the first place? For your friend who has a fascination with the tipple – or anyone with an interest in London history in general – this engrossing book by Olivia Williams is essential reading.

As we’ve alluded, it’s not just about gin itself, but the societal implications of OTT alcohol consumption in historic Britain, the rise of cocktail culture and the drive towards the “gin-aissance” of the 2010s. A perfect read for devouring alongside over a refreshing G&T.

The Just Slate Company ‘gin is my tonic’ set of four gin tonic stemless glasses

Best: For slogan fiends

Rating: 8/10

Even when they’re only drinking water, the gin lover in your life can proclaim their affinity for the juniper spirit. All they need is a set of these four slogan glasses, complete with “gin is my tonic” scrawled across the front.

Because they’re on the dainty side – with a slightly inverted rim, similar to a white wine glass – we found these cute glasses to be best-suited to gin drinks using crushed ice or smaller cubes, rather than enormous ones. Gin fizzes, in particular, work a treat. Alternatively, your giftee can use them for tasting gins neat – that shape concentrates aromas better than a straight up-and-down rocks glass.

Sandy Leaf Farm the ultimate gin maker’s kit

Best: For DIY types

Rating: 7/10

When your giftee has tried every gin there is on the market, why not encourage them to make one of their own? They don’t need a still. Just a bottle of run-of-the-mill vodka and this little kit, which packs in all the botanicals to produce 10 bottles of simple gin at home.

It’s very easy. Plunk some of the herbs and spices – which include juniper berries, cacao nibs and dried lemongrass – into a jar, add the vodka and away you go. The kit’s included strainer, pipette and brown card labels let you do things with a bit of a professional flair, though in fact you hardly need them to make it work.

It is a tad on the pricey side: you could probably buy a lot of the included kit for cheaper, if you can be bothered to source it all. But who has the time? And besides, what you’re buying here is a fun, nicely packaged, readymade project for the gin-lover in your life. It will give them the chance to build gin-making confidence using reliable instructions. It’s hard to argue with that.

Peak extra-large ice cube tray

Best: For kitchenware lovers

Rating: 8/10

As any enthusiastic G&T-maker will know, ice is an essential part of the equation. For this drink, you need to go big. Real big. For example, with these extra-large ice cubes. They’ll cool both gin and tonic down quickly, but melt slowly, giving drinkers the best chance to get to the bottom of their glasses before dilution occurs.

But is an ice cube tray gift-worthy? This one is. Not only does it look fabulous, with its confetti-sprinkled exterior. The case is made of silicon, so you can easily pop frozen cubes out; but it’s reinforced with a steel frame. That means it doesn’t wobble on the way to the freezer and keeps its shape as you slide it over that bag of frozen peas. Finally, there’s a lid, so you can keep pure water in – and any funky freezer smells, which might taint the ice, out.

Urban Bar coley jigger, copper

Best: For mixologists

Rating: 8/10

Whether the object of your gifting adores complex cocktails, or just a straight-up G&T, a jigger (spirits measure), is an essential for their home bar. So why not make it a good-looking one? This eye-catching number from Urban Bar is made with premium 18/8 Japanese steel and finished with gleaming copper to make for an on-trend mixology spread. The company claims it’s got a high resistance to corrosion, too, which means the cocktail-making fan in your life should be able to use this for years to come with no worry of rust.

Besides looking great, we loved that the thin central rod makes the jjgger easy to grip, so you can whip up cocktails with ease. And we loved that, despite looking sleek and simple, it’s versatile. The two cups hold up to 25ml and 50ml respectively, but other subtle markings set out smaller measurements. That means this is the only jigger you’ll need to make almost any cocktail to perfection.

The jigger will be next in stock from 31 January.

The verdict: Gifts for gin lovers

It’s hard to pick a best gift here, because what you buy will depend on your giftee’s tastes. But our favourites? We thought Smith & Sinclair’s gin obsessed gummies were inspired – delicious, effective (we felt the kick) and innovative. They’re the perfect treat for someone who loves the flavours of gin and appreciates the spirit in all its forms.

We did, however, also adore the No. 3 Gin’s Vesper Martini. If you have a loved one who enjoys a good martini, this gift should not fail. It’s one of the best pre-made versions of the cocktail we’ve sampled, hands down.

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If all these gin inspired gifts have made you thirsty for a G&T yourself, check out the best gins to add to your home bar cart

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