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7 Countries Which Are A Must-Visit For Every Gin Lover

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If you happen to be a gin aficionado, then you must visit these countries while going on a vacation! Many countries in Europe have a rich history of gin production and continue to be a great market for the spirit. Check out the regions which have historical distilleries and bars with various gin-based drinks.

1. England

London

Though England cannot claim to create the spirit, it definitely helped gin distilleries thrive in the 18th century. London is the place every gin lover must visit as it is dotted with several distilleries. One of the popular places gin connoisseurs check out is the Beefeater Distillery which is very close to Westminster Abbey and a few stops on the tube from the Tower Of London. You can also visit The Ginstitute which offers three-hour tasting and blending sessions. You will end up knowing the history of gin, sample cocktails, make your own blend and take it home as well

Cornwall

Another region for gin enthusiasts to explore is Cornwall. This county has beautiful beaches of Polzeath and Daymer Bay, Fowey Estuary and the charming Lost Gardens of Heligan and also a good number of traditional Cornish culinary places and gin distilleries. Tarquin's Cornish Gin Distillery is a must-visit. It's housed in a converted cow shed located on a hilltop overlooking the Wild Cornish Coast. Tarquin Leadbetter is a self-taught distiller who has created 12 craft gin varieties which include British Blackberry Gin with wildflower honey and Seadog Navy Dry Gin which has coriander and cinnamon. 

2. Scotland

Brits are known to love gin, but did you know that 70% of the liquor they fancy is distilled in Scotland? The country has a rich tradition of gin production, mostly due to juniper bushes thriving in the Highlands. The Scottish variety of these berries is known for their rich, distinctive yet mellow flavour.

Gin lovers can sample Scottish gin at tastings hosted in bars across Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow is also the home of Gin71, which is the city's first dedicated gin bar.

There is also the Scottish Gin Trail which has been mapped by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. It takes visitors from Edinburgh to Caithness, where gin lovers can check out all of Scotland’s best gin distilleries and bars. 

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3. Ireland

Ireland may be known for its world-famous whiskey but the country also has a reputation for producing quality gin since the 18th century. It all began when Cork Dry Gin opened its distillery doors in 1793 in the country. It is believed that Irish distilleries took to producing gin as a stop-gap as they waited for their whiskey to mature.

Gin lovers can visit the Dingle Distillery which is known for creating a magnificent single malt whisky. The company now produces delicious gin fusions, using hawthorn, fuchsia, rowan berry from the mountain ash trees, bog myrtle and heather. You can also get a chance to go on a scenic trip to the three Lakes of Killarney and the stunning Gap of Dunloe.

4. Belgium

As per the National Jenever Museum in Hasselt, Belgium, Jenever was first made in Flanders in the 13th century. However, the commonly told story is that Franciscus Sylvius de la Boe, a Dutch doctor, created jenever by accident while looking for a cure for kidney and stomach ailments. Drinks such as jenever were originally in apothecaries and used for medicinal purposes. But only in the year 1552, it was first mentioned in a book called Een Constelijck Distileerboec written by Philippus Hermanni.

Jenever production ramped up in the following centuries. Belgium still makes the traditional jenever drink. Gin fans can make a stop at ‘t Dreupelkot while visiting the UNESCO Creative City of Music. ‘t Dreupelkot is situated in Groentenmarkt Square near the Leie River. It's a 30-year-old establishment that owns over 200 different varieties of jenever gin. These varieties include wacky homemade mixtures such as cactus, pepper and ginger to fruity concoctions, which are more popular among the locals.

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5. The Netherlands

In The Netherlands (previously known as Holland), jenever is more commonly referred to as Hollands, genever, genièvre or peket. The Dutch have an interesting way of consuming jenever. A popular method is to mix jenever with beer that’s comically known as a kopstoot (headbutt) or duikboot (submarine). Traditionally it is served in full shot glasses taken straight from the freezer.

Amsterdam

While travelling in a city, you can hop into authentic jenever tasting rooms (proeflokaal) and try the national spirit. Most of them are located around Amsterdam’s Centrum. One of the oldest proeflokaal is De Drie Fleschjes, which was built in 1650 and has many varieties of Dutch gin. They have a 50-barrel drink organ (drankorgel) which you are unlikely to find in other tasting rooms.

You can also go to Amsterdam’s House of Bols Cocktail and Genever Experience and find out how cocktails are made.

6. Spain

Did you know Spain is the second-largest gin market in the world? Spaniards love ‘Gin-Tonic’, the Spanish take on the familiar Gin and Tonic served in a balloon glass (copa) with plenty of ice and garnish. Across the country, you will find extensive gin menus such as traditional Dutch-style jenevers, classic London Dry Gins, to delicious cocktails. 

Barcelona

You can sample gin in any Spanish city, but a vibrant gin bar scene is seen in Barcelona. You can head out to the Old Fashioned Gin Tonic & Cocktail Bar, Bobby Gin and Xixbar etc. 

Vilanova 

The fishing village of Vilanova has the Gin Mare distillery, where the Ribot family has been producing the country's most famous home-grown gin since the 1940s.

Southern Spain

Southern Spain is famous for being the inspiration for Tanqueray gin. Charles Tanqueray who founded his London distillery in 1830, was inspired by his travels to the sun-drenched groves of Spain in the 1860s. It is in this region where it is believed he got the idea to combine his gin with the bittersweet Sevillian oranges.

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7. Philippines

The Philippines is the largest gin market in the world! A family-owned Spanish-era distillery led to the start of the Filipino gin trend. Try Ginebra San Miguel gin in local bars and enjoy the country's scenic destinations.