The Top 50 British Spirits (Updated For 2020)
Our team has put together a comprehensive guide to The Top 50 British Spirits. The spirits market in the UK has snowballed and we have found the best products from up and down the country.
British spirits have become something of a global phenomenon and are leading the way in field to glass beverage production. It was reported earlier this year that England has more distilleries than Scotland for the first time in history….this shows the huge increase in production in the UK.
We have British spirits in every category now. Our team have produced a comprehensive list of the best spirits Britain has to offer and some inspiration for your next gin purchase, addition to the back bar or parents Christmas gift. Our Top 50 is not to be missed, we have searched high and low to find the very best spirits Britain has to offer.
Whether you are a seasoned cocktail bartender, an enthusiastic amateur or you simply want to find out more about what spirits the UK has to offer then look below to find the definitive guide to British spirits and their producers.
To quickly scroll to different spirit categories then hit the relevant link below:
1. Chase Single Estate Vodka | Herefordshire
Super-smooth, full-bodied artisan vodka. By using some of the finest potato crops and traditional distillation methods, Chase ensures a superb purity of style, with light notes of toasted almond, white pepper and rich, buttery mashed potatoes. Created in copper stills at the Chase Farm, the distillery was founded in 2006.
Tasting Note: Clean and smooth, with a creamy texture and just a hint of potato.
2. Spirit Of Toad Rye Vodka | Oxfordshire
The first vodka release from The Oxford Artisan Distillery, Spirit of Toad was distilled in two handmade, purpose built stills, Nautilus (2,200 litre) and Nemo (500 litre). This rye vodka uses an ancient population of heritage grain that’s grown exclusively within a 50-mile radius of the site on organic farms.
Tasting Note: Clear and light, black pepper and rye bread lead with a splash of vanilla essence.
3. Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka | Dorset
The creation of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber, Black Cow claims to be the world’s first pure milk vodka, made from nothing but pure whole milk. The whey is used for vodka whilst the curds go into Jason’s award winning cheeses!
Tasting Notes: Warming and clean. A creamy texture and a hint of cinnamon.
4. Whitley Neill Blood Orange Vodka | Lancashire
The Whitley Neill range has branched out from gin to explore a new category with their first flavoured vodka! While their gin took inspiration from Africa, their Blood Orange Vodka draws its inspiration from Sicily. A delightfully flavoured vodka.
Tasting Notes: Bright and zesty flavours. Complex and slightly tart.
5. Sipsmith Sipping Vodka | London
A superbly sippable vodka from London distillers, Sipsmith. Made with a base of English wheat in their 300 litre copper-pot still, charmingly called Prudence, this vodka makes for an epic Vodka Martini.
Tasting Notes: Soft and creamy mouthfeel. Delicate vanilla and sweet biscuit finish.
6. Baller Vodka | London
Baller comes to us via the Doghouse distillery in Battersea (producers of Renegade Gin). It’s made using a base of 100% wheat, completely distilled in London, and bottled without any filtration. The result is a marvellous base for cocktails and mixed drinks. Little known but a mighty product.
Tasting Notes: Complex vanilla pastry, soft fennel and black pepper.
7. Keepr’s Cotswold Honey and British Apple Vodka | Oxfordshire
This premium English Vodka from Keepr’s is infused with British apples and locally sourced, raw, unadulterated honey from the Cotswolds to create a delightfully flavoured drink. Produced in the wilds of Oxfordshire, it’s certainly something special.
Tasting Notes: Floral honey, vanilla and apple strudel. Full mouthfeel.
8. The Lakes Vodka | Cumbria
From The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria comes The Lakes Vodka, which is made with water from the River Derwent and triple distilled for the desired clarity and flavour profile. The vodka is incredibly clean, which is due to the pure water it is distilled from.
Tasting Notes: Clean and rich with a hint of wheat. Ultra smooth and silky.
9. Wood Bros Vodka | Oxfordshire
Single estate vodka produced by Ed and Charlie Wood, made with English winter wheat grown on their farm in Oxfordshire. A truly artisan product.
Tasting Notes: Earthy, toasted brown sugar with a hint of vanilla.
10. Two Birds Salted Caramel Vodka | Leicestershire
Created in the countryside at Market Harborough, this beautiful salted caramel vodka is a fantastic addition to cocktails. The distillery does things the right way, with environmental concerns at the forefront of everything they do.
Tasting Notes: Lightly salted caramel shortbread. Luxurious mouthfeel.
11. Ogilvy Vodka | Scotland
Scotland’s first potato vodka is distilled in Dundee, near Glamis Castle. Ogilvy have a field to glass approach with everything grown and made onsite. It’s an exceptional vodka with a creamy palate and long finish.
Tasting Notes: Smooth warmth with hints of toffee and spice. Citrus and pepper finish.
12. Kew Organic Gin | London
A collaboration between Dodd’s gin and Kew Botanical Gardens in London, the gin itself is made with the flora of Kew. It is distilled in Christina, a 140 litre copper pot still at Dodd’s Gin’s Battersea home. It creates a fantastically light and floral gin.
Tasting Notes: Cloudy lemonade with petals and thyme. Soft juniper notes and warming.
13. Lilliput Gin | Dorset
Lilliput Dorset Gin features an interesting recipe with the intent of capturing the invigorating spirit of summer on the Dorset coast. The botanicals include basil, rosemary, thyme and fresh water fermented Kalamata Olives from Greece, all organic of course. Deeply herbaceous and subtly savoury, it’s a really unique and highly delicious British gin.
Tasting Notes: Peppery juniper, wafting rosemary and a dash of sea salt.
14. Ramsbury Gin | Wiltshire
A single estate gin that has a strong ethos of creating a field to glass product. The gin’s base spirit is distilled onsite using wheat grown on the Ramsbury estate (and chalk-filtered water from their own aquifer). A lovely, balanced London dry gin.
Tasting Notes: A heady citrus and floral aroma on the nose and a smooth, fruity finish.
15. Tarquin’s Gin | Cornwall
Handcrafted on the wild Cornish coast, Tarquin’s gin is a multi-award winning gin made up of 12 botanicals, which deliver highly complex flavours. The distilling process uses naked flame to heat the stills, and they even use the age-old method of bread dough to shore up any leaks on the still.
Tasting Notes: Vibrant orange blossom, pine and liquorice with a rounded natural sweetness.
16. East London Liquor Co Batch No 2 | London
The first gin distillery in London’s East End in over 100 years, ELLC distills its gin in hand-built copper stills in an old glue factory in Bow Wharf. This gin is infused with a multitude of botanicals including bay leaf, lavender, thyme and fennel seeds. ELLC say they had a country garden in mind when creating this gin.
Tasting Notes: Light citrus, rounded with a herbal infusion.
17. Hendricks Gin | Scotland
The classic that started a hoard of quirky incantations of the sacred spirit. Hendricks was one of the first to do things differently. With botanicals of rose petals and cucumber (with cucumber famously being the preferred garnish) alongside the typical gin botanicals, it makes a fantastically refreshing option for a summer G&T.
Tasting Notes: Notes of citrus, cucumber and caraway on the nose. Smooth and refreshing on the palate.
18. Tanqueray No 10 | London
Undeniably smooth, Tanq 10 is a step up in class from its younger sibling. A super-smooth gin that has amazing depth of character, mostly down to whole citrus fruits being used in the distilling process. Due to the robust, yet smooth flavour, it’s many a bartender’s choice for the ultimate martini.
Tasting Notes: Powerful citrus notes with hints of smooth liquorice and angelica.
19. Caorunn Gin | Scotland
The distillery is located in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park under the shadow of the Haughs of Cromdale. The gin is certainly inspired by the beautiful landscape and uses ancient botanicals found on the surrounding hills. The gin is crisp, dry and very well balanced with a spicy note that is tempered with citrus.
Tasting Notes: A floral bouquet that has a crisp, dry palate. Dry mouthfeel.
20. Opihr Gin | Warrington
Inspired by the ancient spice routes, this gin is created by Joanne Moore of G&J Greenall’s and offers exotic, spicy botanicals and an understandably unique flavour. If you like your gin with some serious character than this is for you; cumin, coriander, black pepper and orange peel make up the bedrock of the botanicals. Serve as a classic G&T with a slice of ginger.
Tasting Notes: Full of spice with a whack of juniper. A complex palate.
21. Finisterre Cask Aged Gin | Devon
Probably one for the purists to avoid, Salcombe Gin teamed up with sherry maker Bodegas Tradicion to release a barrel-aged gin. The gin’s citrus notes are balanced with the saline quality of the sherry cask to create a sophisticated and highly unusual gin. We think this will be best delivered in a straight-up martini.
Tasting Notes: Vanilla and earthy notes with juniper running throughout. Toasted mouthfeel.
22. Tarsier Gin | Manchester
An unusual British gin with an ethos that aims to clarify the term ‘craft’, which is often overused in the drinks industry nowadays. The product of Manchester based master distiller Tim Driver’s backpacking trip around Southeast Asia, every element of Tarsier Gin is a testament to the region that inspired the main botanicals.
Tasting Note: The four southeast Asian botanicals: rich Cambodian Kampot pepper, sharp Filipino calamansi, fragrant Thai basil and ground Vietnamese galangal, shine through a medium length finish.
23. Electric Spirit Co Achroous Gin | Edinburgh
Based in Leith, Edinburgh, James Porteous’s Achroous Gin comes in a luminous orange bottle emblazoned with a vintage lightbulb. This vivid bottle draws a contrast between the product and its name – which means colourless or achromatic. A variety of botanicals from Sichuan peppercorns to of course juniper, make an exciting addition to Scotland’s gin scene.
Tasting Note: Citrus and forna on the nose. Unusual and bold botanicals give this gin a hefty complexity, with flavours of liquorice and angelica, rounded with juniper and sichuan pepper.
24. Slingsby Gin | Yorkshire
This award-winning London Dry Gin has been made using locally sourced botanicals that are synonymous with the local landscape including primrose, sweet cicely, nettle, rhubarb, milk thistle, rosehip and even Taylors of Harrogate green and jasmine tea. The unique botanicals are blended with water drawn from the world-famous Harrogate aquifer to create a delightful gin.
Tasting Note: Citrus, jasmine and celery notes.
25. Sabatini Gin | London
This gin is crafted by a Tuscan family in London and uses nine botanicals from Italy including olive leaves, sage, fennel, orris, lemon verbena, juniper, coriander, thyme and lavender. This is a highly rated G&T gin.
Tasting Notes: Very herbaceous, with thyme and sage punching through with a hint of sweetness from the lavender.
26. Toujours 21 Gin | Surrey
An interesting collaboration between the Eurostar, Silent Pool Distillery and Michelin Starred uber chef Raymond Blanc OBE. A smooth and fruity gin, flavoured with a mélange of French botanicals and the classic floral scents of the British countryside.
Tasting Notes: Rich juniper and citrus notes with subtle sweetness of honey and clean taste of angelica.
27. Strathhearn Heather Rose Gin | Scotland
A combination of rose and heather give this gin very light, fruity notes. The liquid’s light, golden colour denotes images of the Scottish highlands. The gin turns a light pink colour with the addition of tonic which is a fun twist.
Tasting Notes: At the floral end of the spectrum with a finish of juniper and spice.
28. Rumbullion!| Kent
A sure-fire hit from Ableforth’s, Rumbullion! is a warming, spiced number, based on the full-bodied rums enjoyed by those on the seven seas all those years ago. Hints of Madagascan vanilla, orange peel and cardamom make this an incredibly tasty rum. It is multi-award winning, so they must be doing something right!
Tasting Notes: A heady spice and a whack of vanilla on the palate. Full bodied mouthfeel.
29. Old Salt Rum | Essex
Old Salt is special as it’s one of the few rums entirely produced in the UK. It’s got some flavour too, with a mouth-watering taste of banoffee pie and treacle. The liquid is matured in American oak barrels to give it a super-smooth finish.
Tasting Notes: Mouthwatering banoffee nose with a gentle spiced treacle palate.
30. Seawolf White Rum | Scotland
Another rum fully distilled on our fair isle, this time in Scotland by the duo behind Edinburgh’s Bramble bar, Mike Aikman and Jason Scott. The fermentation of the spirit’s base ingredient, cane molasses, is done at low temperature for four weeks using both rum and champagne yeasts, resulting in an “unusual” flavour profile.
Tasting Notes: Tropical flavour with light spice and citrus notes.
31. Cotswold Distillery Espresso Martini Liqueur | Gloucestershire
The team behind Cotswold Gin & Whisky bring forth this libation inspired by contemporary classic, the espresso martini. The spirit begins with Monsoon Estates Coffee Company’s roasted Malabar and Enorga coffee beans, which are distilled together with orange peels down to 29% ABV. Best served chilled or straight out of the freezer.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of coffee and cocoa give way to a luxurious chocolate-bodied spirit with just enough roasted coffee flavour. A very mild hint of orange with spearmint, cassia, coriander and fragrant spices mark the aftertaste.
32. Kamm & Sons British Aperitif | London
Kamm & Sons British Aperitif recipe took five years to develop, and is now a family secret. Kamm & Sons charmingly describe their aperitif as ‘a blend of 45 natural botanicals: herbs, spices, fruits, berries, nuts, peels, barks, roots, leaves and flowers.’
Tasting Notes: Emanant ginseng and grapefruit nose. Woody, honey notes balanced with a long lasting bitterness and an obliging dryness.
33. Kew Orangery Organic Triple Sec | London
A unique partnership between Tower Bridge’s London Distillery Company and Kew Gardens brings us a British version of triple sec, the classic French orange liqueur. This tart triple sec is made by blending three separate distillations of Seville orange, blood orange and sweeter orange peels.
Tasting Notes: A vibrant and fresh aperitif. Short and sharp on the palate, Kew Orangery Triple Sec bursts with a balance of deep orange flavour, and tartness derived from orange essential oils.
34. King’s Ginger Liqueur | London
A warming and reviving British liqueur, King’s Ginger was first crafted by Berry Bros & Rudd Wine Merchants as an elixir prescribed to King Edward VII by the Royal Physician in 1903.
Tasting Notes: A warming essence of root ginger with hints of citrus and golden syrup. The King’s Ginger’s sweetness is perfectly married with a naturally sharp, exceedingly long finish of ginger.
35. Pococello| Herefordshire
An English distillery aiming to reinvent the Italian classic limoncello, Pococello was born when Thom & James Elliot from Pizza Pilgrims were working at a festival stand next to the Chase Distillery and discussing the UK’s lack of stellar limoncello. This discussion led the pair to source and distill the best Amalfi lemons they could find from Pococello’s base in Herefordshire.
Tasting Notes: A bright and dashing lemony hit. Sweetness in proportion – worlds away from cloying, luminescent offerings.
36. Stellacello Pompelmo Liqueur | London
Named after Bethnal Green based founder Joe Stella, this spirit company merges its very British roots with decades of Italian tradition. The amber liquid in question here is a collision of limoncello techniques and grapefruit flavours. Joe’s father’s artwork adorns the label of every craft liqueur bottle created by the team at Stellacello. Cheers!
Tasting Notes: A citrus, grapefruit and very mildly vegetal nose. This digestivo is lively and beguiling with sophisticated grapefruit flavours in abundance and a lasting cleanliness on the palate.
37. Sweetdram Escubac | Edinburgh
The distillers at Sweetdram have created a different botanical-led spirit which does not feature juniper, the staple of gins up and down the country. Mixing Escubac (34% ABV) with your tonic of choice shows just what striking flavour can be found without relying on juniper!
Tasting Note: Refreshing, spicy taste of nutmeg and cardamom, with just a spritz of citrus. Garnish with an aromatic, freshly cut lemon slice to compliment perfectly.
38. White Heron Cassis | Herefordshire
A cocktail staple; the French word for blackcurrant lends its name to cassis liqueur. White Heron’s British Cassis is made with blackcurrants grown at Whittern Farm in Herefordshire.
White Heron was recently featured in Crucible London’s ‘Daring to be Different Series’ of cocktails from founder Stuart Bale. Notably ‘Pagan Rituals’ comprised of tequila, elderflower and sparkling green tea, punctuated with malic acid solution and White Heron British Cassis.
Tasting Notes: A bold, ripe blackcurrant flavour with inherent, underlying sweetness and a slight sharpness.
39. William Fox Syrups | Liverpool
We know they’re not exactly spirits, but these innovative syrups from William Fox are certainly worth a mention in our list. A sophisticated British range of syrups these cocktail ingredients come in a plethora of flavours, from orange to peach, marshmallow to hickory smoke. For minimal impact on whichever cocktail is being mixed all of these products are completely clear – free of natural or unnatural colourings. Even the most unusual drink can be made to appear completely clear and natural!
40. Greensand Ridge Distillery Apple Brandy | Kent
A distillery specialising in gins, rums, and fruit brandies, selecting from all natural, British ingredients sourced from the Weald of Kent – the Garden of England. Greensand Ridge Distillery, based in an old Victorian coach house, in this case turn their hand to a somewhat overlooked spirit, apple brandy.
Newly released in 2018, Greensand have pressed and juiced excess apples from nearby orchards, and in turn fermented and distilled this juice. Crucially the apple brandy is then aged in Bourbon barrels.
Tasting Notes: Unreleased at the time of writing. We’ll be joining Greensand Ridge on social media to stay tuned for this product’s launch!
41. Penderyn Sherrywood | Wales
An award-winning distillery in the Brecon Beacons that is the first whiskey distillery in Wales in over a century. The Sherrywood is aged in bourbon barrels and oloroso sherry casks that brings out a rich fruity flavour to the whiskey.
Tasting Notes: Sweet notes of toffee and sultana with a nose of dark fruit.
42. Laphroaig 10yr | Scotland
Laphroaig 10yr is a full-bodied, smoky classic, with a residual sweetness and a hint of salt amid the seaweedy, peaty characteristics before a long, warming finish. It’s full to the brim with character and complex smoky notes. A gem.
Tasting Notes: A huge peaty, smoky nose with a surprisingly sweet palate.
43. English Whiskey Company Chapter 15 | Norfolk
This whiskey, aged in bourbon casks, offers a longer oak finish on the palate. There is an unusual citrus, lemongrass and chilli note to the character. It’s also an award winner, taking the crown for England’s Best Whiskey in 2016 at the World Whiskey Awards.
Tasting Notes: Citrus, chilli and lemongrass with a very slightly burnt quality.
44. Mortlach Rare Old Single Malt | Scotland
We are letting you in on a secret with Mortlach, it produces incredible drams. This expression is refined, elegant and complex. This is a meaty whiskey that punches the palate and doesn’t disappoint. Notes of Orange and cinnamon.
Tasting Notes: Fudge, dark chocolate and orange dominate. A slick mouthfeel.
45. Sacred Peated English Whisky | London
To create this rich, nutty single malt Sacred have brought English whisky to London and moved it from its original bourbon barrels to hogsheads which previously contained Pedro Ximenez sherry. The result of this sherry finish is a five-year-old with complex and surprising moreishness.
Tasting Notes: Rich Christmas cake and clove, followed by notable peat smoke and sea salt.
46. Highland Black 8YR Old | Scotland
Perhaps a surprising entry but this whiskey, sold at Aldi supermarket, scooped a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge. It’s a heady blend that provides a rich and warm flavour profile. All for only £12.99. It’s remarkable given its price tag.
Tasting Notes: Smoke, fruit cake and gentle salty character.
47. 808 Whisky | Scotland
A grain whisky that was created by music producer TommyD, that can be enjoyed neat or in mixed drinks. It’s got a surprising character of honey, chocolate and vanilla… a very smooth number.
Tasting Notes: Smooth palate with a nice mouthfeel. Vanilla and chocolate dominate the nose.
48. Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky | Gloucestershire
The first ever whisky distilled in the Cotswolds is a serious player. It uses 100% locally sourced malted barley and is reconditioned in red wine casks after being aged in bourbon barrels. Rich and fruity, it’s eminently sippable.
Tasting Notes: Tannin rich malts, oils and orange marmalade. Long and resinous finish.
49. Adnams Rye Malt Whisky | Sussex
Made with rye produced just a mile from the distillery at a farm in Reydon, this rye has a lovely aroma of raisin and fudge. Aged for a minimum of five years in French oak barrels before bottling. Makes a mean Old Fashioned.
Tasting Notes: Rich and spicy and a smooth finish.
50. Hicks & Healey Cornish Single Malt | Cornwall
Another new starter geographically, this is the first whiskey distilled in Cornwall in 300 years. And a mighty fine one it is too. Jim Murray, author of best selling Whisky Bible said “among the best debut bottlings of the last decade”, so that says it all.
Tasting Notes: Spice, Honey, delicate fruits and a hint of cacao
Great Britain has a rich history of spirits production and it’s clear from the incredible mix of global and artisan spirits brands we are surfing a rich tide at present. If you feel we have missed any British spirit products then please comment below and tell us what we are missing.
Fancy putting some of these incredible products to the test? Check out our recipes page to get you mixing drinks like a pro.