It’d be almost impossible to have missed the increase in the popularity of gin over the last couple of years. We’ve gone from a few iconic coloured bottles on the shelves to over 600 gins worldwide, as well as tonics to tempt and garnishes galore. From the sweet gin to the savoury, juniper forward to spiced, there’s a gin for everyone.
So where, in our fair city of Manchester, can you find the best gins, the best gin cocktails, or just those unusual little bottles that you might not find anywhere else? Gin expert The Lady Sybil (otherwise known as Charlie) has chosen her top spots in Manchester. We declare it gin o’clock.
Here are our picks
With the biggest selection in the city, Atlas Bar at the bottom of Deansgate is a must. The Gin Bible here ensures that you have an up to date list of everything on offer, with tasting notes to help you decide. It’s also the only place in the city to offer gin-matched dinners from chef Ross Parker (formerly of Arbutus and Harvey Nichols). Of course, you can always ask the staff on hand to help you pick a gin, tonic and garnish, too.
Hands up if you realised that the hidden-in-plain-sight Allotment is a gin bar? With 55 gins on the bar, it’s got the biggest selection in the Northern Quarter, as well as a cocktail menu that reflects this great range.
With its upstairs Gin Parlour, above the main bar, Gorilla deserves a mention for its classic gin cocktail menu. We’re big fans of the perfectly balanced Aviation here, and the gin and tonic menu, which takes the concept one step further, with layers of flavour.
Special mention had to be made of The Botanist – holders of the World Record for the World’s Biggest Gin Tasting, along with the other eight venues across the country. Managing to fit over 100 gin lovers into their bar area, the Manchester branch of The Botanist helped smash the previous record, and celebrated by expanding their gin list.
Mr Cooper’s House and Garden has a much smaller list than the other bars, but it is perfectly formed. Styles of gin are listed so you can make your selection, they have recommended garnishes and tonics – but this is also the best place to go off menu and sample a classic. If you like your gin in a Dirty Martini, the skill in mixing and the quality of olive makes Mr Cooper’s a must.