56 varieties of gin in Olney

Gin has become one of the nation’s favourite tipples, with 37 million bottles sold last year and a hundred plus varieties on the market. And for the sake of her customers, The Swan Inn Melissa Dunkley has tried as many of them as she can manage!

As a freehold pub owner, Melissa enjoys the freedom to use a simple taste test to decide what is good, rather than being tied to brewery demands. One of her personal favourites is Two Birds, produced in small batches of 100 bottles to ensure the quality. The company highlights a ‘gin of the week’ every week.

The names can read like ice cream flavours: strawberries and cream, lemon drizzle and rhubarb. As well as all the unique tastes, many have fallen in love with the stories of the small distillers.

Like the Northamptonshire craft distillery that operates from a five hundred year old barn in Harrington. Using spring water from the farm and flavours from the botanical garden, Warner Edwards is making a name for itself and winning awards. (The Warners pictured at their distillery.)

Research by pollsters YouGov, indicates that gin is the most popular spirit. Premium gin is also increasingly being sold as a gift, often in place of the more traditional whiskies.

The Swan has been donating 25p to Olney on each glass of gin sold to the Olney based charity Advantage Africa. Legend has it that the ‘g and t’ was born out of the use of the anti-malarial quinine tonic water by British colonialists. It is apt that the funds raised will help a campaign against malaria in Kenya.

More excuse to the summer tipple to have in the beer garden at The Swan Inn!