Manchester Three Rivers Gin is solid. It’s juniper heavy on the nose, has a smooth sweetness mid palette, and then a big, peppery kick to finish.

I first got my hands on a bottle of this stuff late last year, but the City of Manchester Distillery, where it’s made, has been open a little longer. As a Northern girl, I’m instantly drawn to anything from my home land, but being London-based makes it tricky. So I’d been looking out for this brand since I first heard of it.

Named after the three rivers which played an important role in turning the city from rural countryside to thriving metropolis, Manchester Three Rivers Gin took three years to make. The distillery was built, the copper still commissioned, licenses granted (as the first distillery in the city centre), and the recipe created.


Master Distiller Dave Rigby, as a former bar owner and aficionado of wine, had a clear idea of what he wanted to create; something which was light on citrus and had a creamy mouth-feel. Oats certainly give that quality, and along with almond and vanilla, make up a sweetness. Other botanicals include cardamom, cinnamon, juniper, orris, coriander, orange peel and black pepper.

I tried it with Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, which is a solid pairing. My first inclination was to garnish with lemon, but actually I think embracing the sweetness with a cinnamon stick or even star anise would lift the flavour.

I’m a big fan of citrus-heavy gins, and was a little disappointed when I first tried this. I really want to love this gin. The bottle would look great in any home bar (or back bar, come to that), and the brand’s got a cool story. My Northern heart wants it to be the best gin in the world, but it ain’t. I was disappointed that I didn’t instantly love it, but as my other half pointed out, I didn’t hate it either. In fact, I didn’t even dislike it. I *like* this gin. It’s a solid, versatile gin which will work well in G&Ts and cocktails alike.

It’s not setting my world on fire, but that’s no bad thing. Sometimes you just need a gin which will do the job and taste good. An every day, dependable gin, which doesn’t need to be a show-off.