Anyone who knows me knows how much I love gin. And my home county of Dorset in the South West of England. Put those two together and you have Dorset gin – what could be better? Over the last few years, several amazing distilleries have popped up across the county, and they’re all worth a try! If you’re headed down to my neck of the woods, add these five gins to your must-try list…
READ MORE: 50 Unique Things to do in Dorset
5 Dorset Gins You Need to Try
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Conker Spirit – Bournemouth
The first Dorset gin distillery to open, Conker Spirit is an award-winning dry gin that’s a true celebration of all things local. Head distiller Rupert Holloway and his team forage locally for their botanicals, which include marsh samphire, elderberries, and New Forest gorse. Coffee lovers shouldn’t miss their new cold brew coffee liqueur, too!
Coker Gin has ammassed a fine collection of awards since it was first created in 2015 – most recently taking Bronze at the 2018 World Gin Awards.
Where to buy: at gin stockists across the country, or on Amazon (from £32.50).
Pothecary Gin – Christchurch
Hand crafted in small batches at the Soapbox Spirits distillery in Christchurch, Pothecary Gin was a double gold winner San Francisco World Spirit Competition. This is the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a spirit, with all 42 judges agreeing unanimously! So this soft, sippable Dorset gin is one you really must try.
Five hand-picked botanicals from around Europe create a truly unique gin. Lavender from Provence, Sicilian lemon peel, tilia flowers form Poland, Anatolian black mulberries, and juniper from Bulgaria… this is a real drink of the world. And the end result is a beautiful gin with a fascinating range of flavours.
Where to buy: at local stockists, or online – £41.35 on Amazon.
Fordington Gin – Dorchester
A new and contemporary gin distillery in the historic town of Dorchester, Fordington Gin is one of my favourite local tipples. Inspired by aniseed flavours, the botanicals include aniseed, star anise, and lemon balm.
Fordington was created by former chiropractor Ros Nelmes, who now offers gin talks and tastings events throughout Dorset, as well as beautiful Gin Tea Parties! Sign me up for the next one!
Where to buy: direct from their website, or through their newly opened Deli in Fordington)
Lilliput Dorset Gin – Poole
This is the only gin on this list that I haven’t tried yet. Next time I’m down in Dorset I’ll be raiding the local food shops in search of it!
Created in early 2017, Lilliput is a newcomer on the Dorset gin scene but it’s already racking up a great list of accolades – including from the IWSC and the Great Taste Awards. The microbrewery is named after its home district in Poole, which is right on the coast not too far from Sandbanks. So it’s no surprise that the creators take the sea as the inspiration for the botanicals – which include rosemary, basil, thyme, and olives. The result is a Meditteranean style gin that’s winning a lot of awards!
Update December 2021: Lilliput Gin sadly stopped production in 2018, but it’s under new management and set to return soon. Keep an eye on their website for further updates.
Gullivers Witchcraft Gin – West Dorset
Local company Gullivers specialises in hand-crafted, small-batch gins. Perhaps the best-loved is their magical, colour-changing Witchcraft Gin. The drink takes on a striking blue colour from the main botanical, Clitoria ternatea, aka the butterfly pea flower. But when it’s mixed with tonic, the gin turns pale pink – which makes a pretty fun party trick!
My sister bought me some for my birthday this year and I love it. Not only is the blue-to-pink magic trick great fun, but the gin itself is a lovely delicate flavour and really delicious.
Where to buy: in person at food fairs around Dorset. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to see where Gullivers will be next.
Where to Buy Dorset Gin
If you’re exploring Dorset in person, check out some of these local food and wine shops. You’ll find local gins amongst plenty more fab produce like cheeses, chutneys, and biscuits!
- Chalbury Food and Wine – 71 St Mary’s Street Weymouth
- Washingpool Farm Shop – North Allington, Bridport
- Shaftesbury Wines – 57 High St, Shaftesbury
- The Fridge – South St, Dorchester
- Dorset Wine Company – 1 Queen Mother Square, Poundbury
READ MORE: Best Places to Stay in Dorset
Dorset Gin Events and Experiences
Keep an eye out for food festivals and other events, where you’re sure to encounter a few of our local gin producers. Here’s my round up of the best gin events in the local area. If you know of any more, drop me a comment below so I can add them to the list!
Dorset Gin Cruise – Poole Harbour
The UK’s first-ever gin cruise, this is easily one of the coolest new things to do in Dorset. Hop onboard a vintage motor yacht for a Dorset gin cruise through Poole Harbour, taking in the stunning views of Brownsea Island and Sandbanks, and enjoying a few gin cocktails prepared by a guest distiller.
Next event: Friday 10th April 2020, 7pm-10pm. More information here.
Gin House – Wimborne
An intimate gin bar with speakeasy vibes and a beautiful atmosphere. Gin House is a fabulous place to try new gins and enjoy a wide range of gin cocktails.
Nyetimber Seafood Festival – Weymouth
One of the biggest food festivals in Dorset, there are always many local suppliers to be found here, including artisanal distillers. This is where I first discovered Conker Spirits, giving rise to my great love of Dorset gin!
Next event: 11th – 12th July 2020. More information here.
Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival
Another huge food festival where you’ll have a strong chance of meeting some local gin makers. Keep an eye on the website to see which vendors will be attending next year.
Next event: 2020 dates TBC. More information here.