The rapid rise in the popularity of gin and the relaxing of rules around gin production in the UK has led to an explosion in the number and variety of gins, and especially flavoured gins, hitting the shelves.
In a crowded marketplace, it’s hard for producers to get their spirit to stand out, so one surefire way to generate a few headlines is to opt for a, shall we say, unusual ingredient to create a flavoured gin quite unlike any other. And when we say unusual, we mean… they have to be seen to be believed!
We’ve rounded up eight of the most unusual gins to go to market in recent years, and boy, are they eye-opening! Which of these would you dare to try?
Brussel Sprout Gin
In September 2019, Pickering’s Distillery launched a sprout-flavoured gin as part of its gin bauble collection for Christmas.
Apparently, the Edinburgh-based distillery used 100kg of the pongy green vegetables in the production of the gin, which they describe as “unmistakably ‘sprouty’ with a surprisingly sweet, slightly nutty taste with a green, herbaceous and peppery twang”.
We imagine the distillery must have had a very unique whiff that day.
In February 2019, English company Hin became only the fourth distillery in the world to produce a cannabis - or, more accurately, hemp-infused gin.
Before you start imagining evenings of gin-induced, er, relaxation, we should note that this gin doesn’t include any of the THC or CBD cannabis compounds that produce the well-known side effects; it’s merely infused with the flavours of hemp, the fibre found in the stem of the cannabis plant.
Yes, really. Butcher’s Gin is a liquor flavoured by real beef. The gin came about after luxury butcher Luc De Laet realised the similarities between marinating beef and the maceration process in the production of gin.
The spices and herbs that form part of the meat rub for their acclaimed beef are macerated before the distillation of Butcher’s, with a little dried meat being added to the spirit as well.
The Butcher’s Gin team describe their spirit as a “spicy, characterful gin that is best enjoyed straight on the rocks.” For the perfect food pairing, they recommend it with - what else? - a charcuterie tray.
With many scientists and food producers predicting that within 30 years insects will form a key part of our diet, this gin, the very first in the world to be made from insects, is well ahead of the curve.
Named World's Most Innovative Alcohol at the 2015 World Beverage Innovation Awards, Anty Gin was the result of a collaboration between Cambridge Distillery and the Nordic Food Lab.
Each bottle contains the essence of approximately 62 red wood ants. The official website descibes the gin as having “sharp citrus notes” and a flavour that is “once braved, never forgotten”. Quite.
Oysters with gin are a fairly classic food and drink pairing; but oyster-infused gin? It’s not quite so common. In fact, the Isle of Bute distillery’s Oyster Gin is a world first.
The distillery takes oysters from the waters of Loch Fyne and charge their still with the shellfish, lending what they describe as a “delicate maritime essence” to the spirit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they predict that the unique flavours of this savoury gin are “not like anything you will have tasted before”.
In May 2019, Sydney-based gin producer Archie Rose decided to capitalise on Australia’s long-held and deeply embedded love affair with Vegemite with a limited edition of the so-called ArchiMite Buttered Toast Spirit.
Said to be inspired by the umami-rich flavours of the popular breakfast spread, the gin was distilled with freshly churned uncultured butter and sourdough toast.
It looks like the Aussies went mad for it, as all 3000 bottles sold out!
Back in 2015, London-based producer Portobello Gin released a limited edition bottling of gin distilled with an unusual choice of ingredient: asparagus.
Master blender Jake Burger told The Drinks Business that the gin had a “distinct and sweet flavour” and was “not a gin for everybody”, but that “those who like it, love it”!
Elephant Dung Gin
No, it isn’t April 1st. Early in 2019, a husband and wife team in South Africa developed a new gin made from elephant dung.
Apparently, Indlovu Gin (which means Elephant Gin in the isiZulu language) has a “very earthy, citrusy flavour” due to the varied appetite of the elephant, um, suppliers, who munch on all sorts of fruits, barks and vegetation.
If you need an added incentive to try the unusual tipple (and frankly, we do), perhaps you’ll be swayed by the fact that 15% of profits will be donated to the Africa Foundation and its work in wildlife conservation.
So there you have it, eight of the world’s most unique flavoured gins.
If you love rare and exclusive gin but that isn’t quite so unusual, may we suggest you take a look at our Gin of the Month boxes?