Ian Buxton’s new book, 101 Gins To Try Before You Die, is a superb beginner’s guide to the dizzying variety of new gin brands hitting the market.
The author of 101 Legendary Whiskies, and judge at the recent World Gin Awards, Ian Buxton is well placed to offer some advice on what makes up the most indispensible, unique and delicious gins available to try. Plus, with his London dry wit and an eye for a humorous anecdote, 101 Gins is both a fun, brisk read and an informative guide.
We’re in the middle of a huge gin boom with well over 600 gin brands lining the shelves of bars and approximately 4 new gins being launched every week. With so much choice it’s difficult for even experienced gin drinkers to discover a true gem and quite baffling for novices, so having a short pocket guide to the world of gin acts as an invaluable compass to what’s worth trying.
It should be said that this book doesn’t claim to be the world’s 101 best gins or even the most interesting or most important gins, but simply a collection of gins that Buxton thinks are notable. That might be because of their novelty, their historical importance or sometimes just because they’re especially delicious. 101 Gins is a snapshot of the world of gin as it currently stands, covering tiny one-man craft distillers, the boom in artisanal distillers and some industry giants (and industry dinosaurs). It also strives to try and mention the many varieties of gin available such as sloe gin, gin liqueurs and even gin aged in whisky barrels (although we were shocked not to see a single Navy Strength variety featured.)
Buxton’s main criteria for including something seems to be whether or not he has something interesting to say about it and rather than extensive tasting notes entries can take the form of a funny story about his personal experiences with the drink or snarky comments about the terrible design of the bottle just as easily as they can be a brief history of the distillery or a flavour profile of the drink itself. This is part of Buxton’s charm though and the reason why 101 Gins is such a fun and breezy read.
There is a lot of interesting information here on the histories of distilleries and the people behind them and people new to gin will learn a lot.
If you, or someone you know, has only recently started enjoying the wonderful world of gin then 101 Gins To Try Before You Die is a light-hearted field guide to what to drink next. And we’re happy to say that we stock the majority of entries in our gin shop.
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