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Dorset Gin – Where to find the 10 best Dorset and New Forest Gins

Over the past few years the gin business has literally exploded, 10 years or so ago I remember there being about 2 or 3 gins available to buy in shops or offered in pubs and bars and now, when you ask which gins do you have? you get that how long do you have look!

Many bars have whole menus dedicated to gins, and gin bars have popped up all over the country with a vast array of flavours to suit any taste with designer tonics to match.

These days it is like vodka who? The supermarkets have row upon row of pretty coloured bottles all tempting you with refreshing ingredients and exotic sounding mixers.

Here in Dorset we have a fantastic selection of hand crafted Dorset gin so here is a roundup of the top 10 Dorset & New Forest Gins all distilled locally and lovingly created by their founders.

Sarah Bourne
June 10, 2022

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Minster Gin

Tucked away in the historic market town of Wimborne, in Dorset, Beaucroft Beverages is a small batch distillery with community firmly at its heart and this is where they create their Dorset gin.

A small family business, Minster Gin have created their own version of sustainability by offering a discount of £2 for every bottle returned to them, what a fab idea.

Minster Gin is full of bright, juicy juniper and complex botanicals and in their collection they have their original gin, a refreshing pink gin made from raspberries, my favourite a zesty orange gin, and their black gin made with juicy Dorset blackberries.

Their gins are sold in local stores and featured in some local recipes in local pubs and restaurants.

You can also buy directly from them online.

Conker Gin

Next on our list of Dorset gin is The Dorset Dry from Conker, embodying the bright and refreshing spirit of Dorset and described by the Independent as “The South Coast in a glass”

Their selection includes The Dorset Dry – With 10 select botanicals, including marsh samphire, elderberries and hand-picked gorse flowers foraged from across the Dorset Jurassic Coast.

Port Barrel – Rested for 8 weeks in Port barrels this draws out the 5-year-old Port from the oak walls of the cask, infusing its aged flavour and turning the gin a stunning ruby-pink.

RNLI Navy strength gin – Inspired by the wild Dorset coastline and packed full of big botanical flavours including marsh samphire, elderberries and Seville orange

All available to buy direct from their online shop.

If you’d love to see how the Dorset gin is produced, you can do a distillery tour in their Bournemouth premises at just £25 pp on Fridays or a private group tour.

Fordington Gin

Based in the heart of Dorset, Fordington is a gentle and contemporary Dorset gin created by Ros Nelmes after being disappointed by the gins on offer in her local pubs.

Ros’s creations include the popular Fordington Premium – made up of perfectly combined botanicals including extra juniper and blood orange. 

The multi award winning Gurt Lush – a bold and adventurous gin using fennel instead of star anise.

The Classic Fordington – hand created in small batches and combining wormwood, lemon balm, mint and spices.

Seasonal Gins – varying throughout the year, Fordington produces delights such as Summer Pudding (I have my eye on this one) created for the Platinum Jubilee, maybe even the Queen had a taste. Rhubarb & Ginger, Apple & Blackberry, Orange & Elderflower and a Chilli Gin.

All available from their online shop, and at various local suppliers.

Fordington can also produce bespoke gins with labelling to suit your special occasion, what a great wedding or special birthday present.

BH1 Gin

BH1 Gin was founded by two local bartenders Lewis & Przemek in one of my favourite Bournemouth restaurants NEO.

With gin being such a popular drink the guys wanted to create something a bit different to stand out from the crowd, after lots of hard work and countless attempts they created their own original small batch gin using wild chamomile.

Their delicious gin is now served in many luxury venues including the New Forest’s 5 star Chewton Glen Hotel and has won awards including being a Dorset Food & Drink finalist.

In their online shop you can buy their classic BH1 gin and their wild strawberry variety which I can imagine at many an afternoon garden party served with a scrumptious afternoon tea.

There is also a selection of other gin based gifts available.

Shroton Fair Gin

Rural Dorset is the home to Shroton Fair Gin, crafted by Wilfrid and with an interesting backstory involving Bengal tigers and a local fair (read all about it on his website listed below)

Shroton Fair Gin has a unique infusion of 16 ingredients with 12 of them being hand crushed before being distilled in their copper stills. This Dorset gin really captures the county from its origin to its name.

Wilfred’s Zummit Dry brings a splash of the Orient to Dorset, and with its distinctive contemporary black bottle will make a wonderful addition to any gin collection. I am a total sucker for a striking bottle and this one certainly hits that brief.

I had to ask Wilfred what the meaning of Zummit was and quite embarrassingly it is fairly obvious when you get the answer, clearly I’m not as Dorset as I thought, here is his explanation “Zummit is a Dorset way of saying something.

Imagine yourself in a pub and not wanting a fruity variety so asking the barman for Zummit dry – in a Dorset accent of course” I love this story, totally Dorset and full of character.

Described as a carnival of flavours, each bottle of Zummit Dry contains:

Musky: Orris, Burdock and Angelica Root
Warming: Cumin, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Grains of Paradise
Piquant: Ginger and Coriander
Citrus: Lemon & Grapefruit
Tangy: Rowan Berries & Cranberry
Aromatic: Rosehips & Linden Flowers
Piney: Juniper

Available to buy direct online from their website.

Pothecary Gin

Another award winner, Pothecary Gin was created with a passion for organic, handcrafted, artisan produce.

Founder & creator Martin Jennings uses an unusual process of distilling each botanical separately before blending together to build high quality aromas and flavours. Based in Christchurch and the only organic distiller in Dorset.

Martin’s selection of Dorset gin includes: The Pothecary Original, a tasty juniper-based treat, there are just 5 botanicals; juniper, lemon peels, tilia flowers, lavender flowers and black mulberries.

Sicilian Blend – made with Sicilian orange peel, Sicilian lemon peel, and roasted Sicilian almonds, along with Serbian juniper and French, wild-foraged gentian root, starting as a limited edition but now part of their permanent collection.

Cinnamon Twist – A spiced version of the Sicilian blend.

Trinity Blend Smugglers strength – 59% abv an intense and classic gin.

All available from their online shop.

Viper Gin

Based in Cerne Abbas Dorset, Viper was born as they were preparing their plot to grow botanicals, whilst clearing the long grass they came across a rare sight. A Viper! And the name stuck.

I recently tried all of the range at a tasting in a local Dorchester store and can confirm they are very good! My favourite was the cherry gin, and if you want something a bit different – the Viper Venom, a complex gin that uses Dorset and Viper Naga Chilies. Luckily I didn’t have to drive home after this impromptu taste session.

The gins are available at a large selection of local suppliers and online from their website.

Mounters Gin

Another rural Dorset Gin from Shaftsbury, in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, a small batch traditional copper still produces their Mounters13 made up of 13 botanicals blending the classic flavours of juniper and coriander with a floral and berry mix, while hints of citrus and ginger bring a lively contrast.

Contact them to buy.

Wyrd Gin

Mark and Kay are the creators of Wyrd Gin, winners in the 2021 World Gin awards, they make each batch by hand with care and passion in their New Forest distillery. Whilst technically not a Dorset based gin, as I live right on the border I like to include New Forest products too.

Wyrd Dry Gin is an extraordinarily smooth handcrafted small-batch gin, a perfect blend of fine-grain spirit, pure New Forest spring water and the finest botanicals from around the world.

Mark spent a year of testing carefully before he found the winning blend, and says it really was a labour of love to create something he was happy with.

Each bottle is signed and labelled by hand, a truly personal touch from Mark which is a lovely addition.

Distillery tours lasting around 90 minutes run on a Thursday, Friday & Saturday so you can see for yourself how Wyrd Gin is crafted, you even get a Wyrd Gin glass to take home with you. From £20pp. This sounds like a fantastic afternoon out to me.

Visit Wyrd Gin’s online shop to buy their Wyrd Dry Gin, a delicious sounding Damson Gin and a Barrel Aged Gin, as well as a selection pack and tour tickets.

Downton Distillery – Explorers Gin

Another local distillery just up the road from me in Downton, produces the Explorer Gin, a brand big on sustainability, providing recyclable refill packs, they are all about adventure and exploration. Their amazing gin took them over a year to create, mixing traditions of past distilling with contemporary bold flavours and unique tastes of today.

Explorer’s Gin pays tribute to the explorers of the ‘Golden Era’, who navigated uncharted waters and to today’s explorers who continue to push the boundaries. Explorer’s Gin captures the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ with western red cedar providing the distinctive taste.

Each batch produces only a 100 bottles and everything is created totally by hand adding to the uniqueness and authenticity of this product.

Explorer’s Gin comes in another gorgeously styled bottle with a really striking design and would make a wonderful gift for someone or maybe just treat yourself.

Available to buy online from their store along with chocolates, hip flasks & various gifts.

Downton Distillery also provide Gin evenings, workshops and virtual evenings where you will learn about the evolution of gin and make cocktails, from £40pp. see their calendar of events for available events.

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Sarah Bourne
June 10, 2022

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