*In the voice of Noddy from Slade* “It’s CHRISTMAS………….!”
Well not quite yet but it is time to select this year’s advent calendar, because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, 2020 has been a LOT.
As such, we think there’s never been a better excuse to start the day with a miniature gin. (Oh ok, you can wait until the 5pm daily briefing if you must).
If until now, you’ve only had the pleasure of a chocolate advent calendar (or god forbid, just a cardboard picture one), prepare to have your mind blown. Yes, that’s right, for the month of December you’re legitimately allowed to open a gin-based treat every single day. All in the spirit of Christmas of course.
There are a few key things to consider when selecting the best calendar for you, or your loved one. Although most offer the full 24 days of treats, some only have 12 windows, but no one wants to be accused of being a bah humbug, so we’d always advocate for going all out. However, if space is an issue, a smaller, half month countdown could be a better option for you – some of these calendars take up a lot of floor space.
Whether it’s old Tom, London dry, sloe or flavoured gins you prefer, with this definitive selection of the very best gin advent calendars for 2020, you should discover some new favourites along the way.
Packed with juniper goodness, these gin-vent calendars always tend to sell out early, so to make sure your countdown gets off to a swimming start, we’d suggest getting in there early. The only difficulty will be finding somewhere to stash it until 1 December.
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Craft Gin Club the 25 gins of Christmas
If there’s one thing better than a daily G&T, it’s waking up to Phillip Schofield’s face staring back at you. Teaming up with subscription service Craft Gin Club, every one of the 25 (50ml) British gins has been handpicked by the man himself.
Having had a sneak peak, we can confirm there are some very exciting finds. Wondering what Phil’s signature serve is? Schofe’s Christmas gin (of course) with white port, lime cordial and cranberry juice, garnished with a segment of clementine and sprig of rosemary. Classy. This box comes with a pretty premium price tag, but we think Phil’s worth splashing out for.
Buy now £99.95, Craft Gin Club
That Boutique-y Gin Company advent calendar
One of the leaders of the pack, That Boutique-y Gin Company is always one of the year’s most exciting gin-packed advent calendars. Containing a full 24 days of whacky flavours, expect the likes of festive chocolate orange and “alamedapocalypse” flavoured gin (which has notes of bay laurel, cinnamon, anise and chocolate, obviously!) They’re all presented in stylish wax-sealed drams and to keep things exciting you won’t find a single duplicate. This is a fantastic way of trying some really unusual flavoured gins (we're a big fan of the rhubarb triangle), that you might not have been brave enough to purchase full-size. Any you full in love with can then be bought in confidence. Pre-order now.
Buy now £49.95, Master of Malt
Drinks by the Dram the premium gin advent calendar
Although a little pricier than the calendar above, behind these 24 doors you’ll find only the most premium gins. Again, they’re all presented in 30ml wax-sealed portions but this time from some of the world’s very best distilleries. From Iceland’s rye grain Kyrö gin to Sweden’s Hernö gin, which has been aged in juniper casks (and was our favourite), you’ll likely be trying lots of these for the very first time. If that all sounds a bit serious there’s also fun flavours from UK distillers, including the coastal-inspired seaside gin from Edinburgh Gin. Pre-order now.
Buy now £84.95, Master of Malt
BrewDog Distilling Co. 12 gins of Christmas
If 24 days of solid drinking feels a bit much (look, we’re not here to judge), how about a gin-fuelled 12-day countdown instead? BrewDog Distilling Co. (part of the BrewDog family) is now a carbon negative company, so start the day with this calendar and you’re basically doing your bit for the planet. Far from feeling short-changed with just 12 doors, each one contains a generous 50ml serve. Aside from the brands four core flavours (lonewolf, cloudy lemon, gun powder and our favourite cactus and lime), there are also brand new flavours including the super festive Christmas spiced gin with notes of blood orange, cinnamon and raisins. Ho, ho, ho.
Buy now £49.95, BrewDog Distilling Co.
Virgin Wines gin advent calendar 2020
Bringing back its bumper gin calendar for a second year, Virgin Wines has brought together a collection of big names, craft gins, limited editions, seasonal flavours and even the odd liqueur. We'd recommend taking Warner's sloe gin with you on a beautiful winters day ramble. It resembles a great big present, complete with printed red bow, we’d recommend keeping this box under your tree until the big day. With a full 24 days of 50ml serves, you won’t find any repeats and the good news is, calendars can be reserved by paying a £10 deposit upfront, with the remainder paid on the day of dispatch.
Buy now £99.99, Virgin Wines
The Bottle Club the premium pink gin advent calendar
If you live by the Mean Girls mantra “on Wednesday’s, we wear pink”, you’ll love this all pink gin advent calendar. There are just 12 days to open but absolutely no repeats, with brands including Beefeater, Pinkster (we love this one with a splash of fizz) and Chase Distillery. Far from being samey, the colour might not change but flavours do with fruity 50ml serves including strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and grapefruit among others.
Buy now £44.99, The Bottle Club
Fever Tree the ultimate gin & tonic advent calendar
It’s all very well and good opening door after door of delicious gin but what are you going to drink it with? That’s where Fever Tree comes in – it’s helpfully combined 12 (50ml) bottles of craft gin with an additional 12 (150ml) cans of various flavoured Fever Tree tonic water. In total there are 24 doors resulting in 12 perfect serves, ideal if you’re pacing yourself. Obviously how you pair them is up to you but we're big fans of the festive light clementine tonic with Slingsby's marmalade gin for a truly fruity tipple.
Buy now £60.00, Waitrose & Partners
Whitney Neil & JJ Whitley 12 gins of Christmas
The Whitley and Neill families have been busy creating spirits since 1762 and have picked up plenty of awards in the process. Packing that experience into a 12-day selection, you’ll find a variety of flavours including rhubarb and ginger ((we like to switch the tonic for ginger ale here!), blood orange and pink grapefruit, alongside the non-flavoured original too. With no repeats, each serve is 50ml and priced at just under £40, it’s not a bad budget option.
Buy now £39.99, Ocado
M&S gins of Christmas advent calendar
Combining a fantastic selection of Edinburgh Gin flavours with M&S own brand bottles, we love this premium offering. While not the cheapest of the advent calendars we put to the test, the handsome navy blue box contains pull out drawers that could be re-filled for next year. Behind Christmas Day’s extra-large drawer you’ll be treated to two minis – whether you share is up to you. Our favoutite? It's got to be Edinburgh's Christmas gin and luckily you'll find two inside!
Buy now £100.00, M&S
The verdict: Gin advent calendars
New for this year, we are big fans of Craft Gin Club’s advent calendar and with a full 25 days, it's the most generous too. However, for those looking to spend a little less, That Boutique-y Gin Company is always an exciting option.
If you’re looking for more delicious juniper tipples, read our review of the best British gins to try now