Hortus Artisan London Dry Gin, by Lidl: enjoy an award-winning spirit without breaking the bank

World Best Bar

Aug 06, 2018

Hortus Artisan London Dry Gin, by Lidl: enjoy an award-winning spirit without breaking the bank
Gin may well be the most in-demand drink of the decade. The juniper-based spirit is very much on-trend and shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon. Gin distilleries are popping up everywhere and last year in the UK alone, a total of 47 million bottles, worth £1.2 billion, were served up, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

One of the most versatile spirits around, and beloved by bartenders for that reason, gin’s popularity has certainly sky rocketed in recent years. And while a new demand for unusual craft and artisanal gins has contributed to this resurgence, supermarkets are determined not to miss out on this hot new trend.

While the gin ‘n’ tonic is a best-loved drink in bars across the globe, the price tag of the more renowned brands places them out of reach for many. But supermarkets are stepping up to offer a first-rate, and, more importantly, affordable alternative to these costly craft gins.

One notable example is Lidl. The Euro Giant has already established a strong reputation in wine where industry experts have named 31 Lidl wines as winners, including the Crément de Bourgogne Blanc, which was rated outstanding.

But it’s in the gin category that Lidl is now creating a stir. Its Hortus Artisan London Dry Gin, which costs only £15.99, has been snatching up awards left right and centre. Developed in association with Kevin Love, Michelin-starred chef and prodigé of experimental celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, the gin was a surprise hit at a blind tasting over at Good Housekeeping Institute.

Tasting experts gave Hortus Artisan a spectacular 77 out of 100 points, a score that placed this own-brand gin above Thomas Dakin, which that costs nearly double the price at £29. Even the famous Bombay Sapphire only scored one point above Hortus Artisan.

Indeed, in competition with the more expensive bottles, Hortus Artisan certainly put up a good fight, coming in at 7th overall in the blind tasting. Remarked on by judges for its “smooth texture” and “herby aromas”, it beat famous brands such as Gordon’s London Dry Gin, and other supermarket gins, including Marks & Spencer.

Created using traditional distilling methods, Hortus Artisan also boasts an impressive list of botanical ingredients: lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, and cubebs, as well as juniper. This unique combination already secured the brand a silver medal at the International Spirit Challenge in 2016.

While the overall winner of the tasting was Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin, Hortus Artisan still triumphs when it comes to cost – not that you would ever guess its price at a glance. A far cry from the unsophisticated designs of most own-brand bottles, this award-winner has a classy and elegant label that alludes to the retro-feel of many gin cocktails.

And there’s even a summer version, a limited edition gin that has notes of rosehip, hibiscus and fresh orange, and that apparently goes perfectly with grilled prawns and sorbets. Plus – while it might seem far away now – Lidl’s Hortus Oriental Spice Gin would make a brilliant Christmas gift for any gin-lover.

With drinkers continuing to clamour over all things gin, and distilleries continuing to bring out new and exciting recipes, it’s a relief to know there is no need to spend an arm and a leg for a top quality martini. Lidl’s addition to the gin market certainly heralds a new heyday for supermarket spirits, and is great news for those summer garden parties just around the corner.


Image by Neha Deshmukh on Unsplash
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