Short Haul Gin Destinations
The Christmas break is a time of year to make plans and, come New Year to make promises. Throwing them out the window is a January job, of course, but let’s put the guilt aside for a moment and basque in the opportunity to daydream about destinations far and wide for your next jaunt. Probably far and wide away from the family that’s been camped out in the living room for four whole days, too…
Forget googling a cheeky trip to the beach, plotting a trail for a hike in the forest or checking out the exhibition schedule for your favourite art gallery! Distillery tours are in, so we’ve rounded up five of the best European gin makers to add to your short haul destination list. So, if you’re all set to sketch out some 2018 holiday plans, and if you, like us, think gin should be the focal point of everything in life… look no further than these fantastic open door distilleries.
Fly in to Stockholm and transfer to Sund for some Scandi soul.
Perched in the picturesque landscape of Northern Sweden lies arguably the world’s best gin producer. With not one but four award winning gins to taste through, it’s more of a pilgrimage for gin fans than a distillery tour, and sipping the Hernö Gin range in the soft amber hue glowing from the still is a moment to savour. Combine it with a weekend jaunt up the High Coast to get a real understanding of the distillery’s visceral connection to the landscape and just how magnificent an area they have managed to reduce into each drop. A breath of fresh air and a belly full of tasty gin…
Fly to Belfast for a quick and easy city break.
On the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland, lies the Rademon estate, home to Shortcross Gin. With acres of verdant gardens skirting its walls, the distillery’s newly opened visitor centre marks the continuing and impressive progress of the Northern Irish craft distilling scene, as well as the start of a new era for the region, with more places expected to open their doors and welcome visitors in 2018.
The distillery centre is expansive and sizable, but guests can expect intimate and small group tours befitting the personal nature of the husband and wife duo behind the gin, David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong. The tour will cover how they make their Shortcross Gin (with a tasting or two thrown in), as well as providing a glimpse into the awe inspiring surroundings of the estate itself from which they collect some of their ingredients. If this wasn’t enough, the Belfast food and drink scene is rapidly growing a name for itself, with ever more bars, restaurants and foodie fairs popping up all of the time. Cocktails await.
Fly to Madrid for Gin and tapas. Then more Gin. Mainly Gin.
Madrid may boast elegant boulevards, manicured parks and museums packed with masterpieces, but the city’s proudest moment (in our opinion, at least) is its status as the global capital of the Gin & Tonic. So many bars specialise in it, so there are more creative gin, tonic and garnish pairings to pick from than you ever thought possible. “Gin Tonica” fever has taken over the aperitivo hour, making this destination the perfect place for juniper loving gastronaughts.
The city is also home to Santamania, whose distillery space has recently grown to be able to accommodate guests, host masterclasses and – most importantly – produce an array of tasty gins to quench your thirst. Book ahead and keep track of time… it’s all too easy to graze on tapas washed down with fish bowl sized gin and tonics and whisk away a few (too many) hours in the Spring sunshine!
Fly to Oslo for a step out of the ordinary and into a dose of the good life.
Known for its green spaces and museums, few destinations offer the change of scene Oslo effortlessly delivers. From a swanky room at The Thief to a day trip on the fjords or an afternoon cross-country skiing, there’s a lot to pack into a weekend break in the Norwegian capital. Top of that list, though, is a trip to Himkok, not just a bar and dining space but home to the city’s very own micro-distillery, as well as an innovative cocktail bar that combines local twists and ingredients with classic cocktail recipes. It’s a must visit, and between the men in white lab coats and the jars of pickled ingredients, you’ll find yourself well taken care of – if you can find its well hidden entrance that is!
Fly to Hamburg, become the ultimate Europhile and combine it all at once.
Can’t agree on a destination? Well, how’s about this for a compromise? Germany meets Portugal in the form of Hamburg based Gin Sul. Hamburg not only has a great choice of stylish design hotels, neighbourhood delis and fun activities to fulfil the city break needs of all travellers (and all budgets), it’s also a gin lover’s paradise, with many of the bars boasting well considered selections to match their impressive G&T menus.
The drop in distillery of Gin Sul is a perfect pit stop during a walking tour, but can also be a destination in its own right, hosting must-book tastings and mini make your own distillation workshops. What better way to spend the evening?
Don the round horn rimed specs, turtleneck and furrowed brow and fly to Basel.
Home to 40 museums, Basel is a city of culture for connoisseurs, and with the Art Basel show (sister to Miami and Hong Kong) an established part of the art circuit, no excuse is needed for culture vultures to descend on the city. Gin heathens can get in on the action too, however, as there’s a distillery in the city to provide a suitable watering hole as you contemplate the existentialism of life through the medium of performance art (don’t get too caught up… it’s just a fella dancing around in his pants). nGinious has four gins under its range, and the distillery will be expanding its horizons so you can expect tasty tipples aplenty to work your way though.
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