Sunderland BID: How Sunderland is embracing revolution in the gin industry

Gins now come in a variety of flavours.Gins now come in a variety of flavours.
Gins now come in a variety of flavours.
People of a certain age will remember the time when the only question that you would be asked if you ordered a gin and tonic was how much ice you'd like.

Now you can pick a brand, a flavour and drink it with tonic, grapefruit or any other mixer you fancy – gin is definitely the drink de jour!

And if further evidence was needed of that it’s the fact that June 9 is the tenth World Gin Day, a global celebration of all things gin.

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A Hotel Chocolat gift box.A Hotel Chocolat gift box.
A Hotel Chocolat gift box.

Sunderland has been at the heart of the drinks revolution – think of the city’s own Poetic License distillery, which has created a vast range of unique flavours of mothers’ ruin which have taken the UK by storm.

City centre bars have certainly embraced this trend. Gin and Bear It at High Street West stocks more than 50 different varieties of gin and also offers a range of tasting sessions and cocktail making classes.

Gin features heavily on the menu at Port of Call at Park Lane and although it definitely doesn’t count as one of your five a day, they do have some amazingly fruity flavours on offer.

From rhubarb and ginger gin to cherry gin, from raspberry to spit roasted pineapple – there’s an ever-changing range available.

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Gins available from Poetic License.Gins available from Poetic License.
Gins available from Poetic License.

Sunderland’s best kept secret – aka Hidden at Park Lane – is also a great place to enjoy a cheeky gin. The bar have around 15 gins in stock at any time, along with showcasing new brands.

And it seems as if gin even goes well with afternoon tea. Serendipity Tea and Trinkets at Frederick Street feature gin-based Hollywood cocktails, notably their Elizabeth Taylor – which features the spirit with lemonade and violet syrup, a nod to the actress’s favourite colour.

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, believes the city’s bustling bar and restaurant scene have completely embraced the latest trend.

Bars across the city centre have responded to what they know customers now want,” she said.

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Gin and Bear It, High Street, SunderlandGin and Bear It, High Street, Sunderland
Gin and Bear It, High Street, Sunderland

People now are much more knowledgeable and much more sophisticated when it comes to their tipple of choice and it’s great to see our bars and pubs taking that on board.”

Gin makers have become incredibly imaginative – check out Cocoa Gin, which is sold by Hotel Chocolat which has a branch in the Bridges, or high street favourites, Tesco and Marks & Spencer, which also sell a number of different gin brands.

Marks & Spencer have even gone one step further with a range of colour- changing gins in wild rose and lavender, to add a bit of added sparkle to your G and T.

Of course it isn’t always just about the alcohol. The city’s main Boots store sells Ministry of Treats Gin and Tonic sweets – which have all the flavour but none of the alcohol.

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Hotel Chocolat truffles. Picture by Stephen BondHotel Chocolat truffles. Picture by Stephen Bond
Hotel Chocolat truffles. Picture by Stephen Bond

Gin has even made it on to other items, with Boots also selling a Groceries and Gin notebook.

“We would never encourage people to go over the top when drinking but it’s great news that when it comes to being on-trend, Sunderland bars, pubs and restaurants are completely catering for what people want,” said Sharon.