Gin is cool again. And we think that’s worth getting excited about.
The clear liquor is distilled from juniper berries, providing a seriously unique flavor. However, this flavor has made gin seriously divisive with liquor connoisseurs and normal drinkers alike. It’s not for everyone, but recently, more and more people are coming around to the sharp, effervescent flavor.
Gin has had a pretty bizarre history. Although it’s now strongly associated with London, gin was actually pioneered in the Netherlands. But once Londoners got a hold of the cheap recipe in the early 18th century, they had a gin craze (no, literally, that’s a historical term). Since then, gin has slowly evolved into what it is today, with distilleries popping up all over the world. And starting around 2013, gin has been on the up and up.
Understanding why Gin has gotten more popular is pretty simple: it’s delicious and unique. You can sip it straight like a whiskey, but gin really shines in cocktails such as gin & tonics, martinis, and gimlets.
If you’re ready to up your gin knowledge, the best method is to dive in and try the stuff. We’ve rounded up several of the best gins on the market to upgrade your evening drink or cocktail party.
Whether you’re new to gin or looking for a better go-to bottle, Hendrick’s is a great option. It’s a step up from the basic gin brands, but it’s still not too expensive. Considering Hendrick’s is just 20 years old, it’s pretty impressive that you can see it in nearly any bar around the world. The brand revolutionized the gin market with two simple upgrades — cucumber and rose — which started the whole ‘ginissance’ we’re now living in.
2. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
You can get pretty deep in the artisanal gin world these days, but we think everyone should have a classic bottle of gin in their bar. Our favorite? Tanqueray. It’s fairly affordable but boasts a smooth juniper-forward flavor that gives a good base for tasting more experimental gins. This makes it great for cocktails as well, such as a gin fizz or Tom Collins.
3. Gordon’s London Dry Gin
If you’re stocking up on gin for a party or just shopping on a budget, go for Gordon’s. It’s a classic London dry gin, and although it’s affordable and widely available, it still offers a nice gin experience. Gordon’s recipe upgrades the juniper taste with some orange peel and anise, creating a bold flavor that won this gin Double Gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
4. Ransom Old Tom Gin
BEST OLD TOM GIN
Most gins are either a classic London dry gin or a slight variation. However, there’s also old Tom gin, which came before the London drys that we typically drink today. Think of old Toms as the hipsters of gins. If you want to get a little adventurous, pick up a bottle of this Ransom old Tom gin. It’s aged in wine barrels (giving that odd caramel color) and uses a base wort of malted barley for unique malty flavor.
5. Aviation American Gin
BEST AMERICAN GIN
Ryan Reynolds might be known for playing Deadpool, but he’s also an owner of one of the best American gins on the market: Aviation. Despite its high-profile ownership, the brand is still down-to-earth, distilling their potion at home in Portland, Oregon. The gin is made using extra botanicals including cardamom, lavender, sarsaparilla, giving it a fresh and spicy taste.
6. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
BEST DUTCH GIN
As mentioned, gin actually descended from the Dutch. So it’s only fitting that Nolet’s, one of the best gins on the market, comes from Holland. This premium gin uses rose, peach and raspberry to elevate the juniper taste, creating something you can really sit back and sip. It makes a great gift for gin lovers too, as they probably haven’t tried it yet.
7. Suntory Roku
BEST JAPANESE GIN
Japanese liquor of all kinds (especially whiskey) are taking the States by storm. One of the biggest distilleries is Suntory, and like their award-winning whiskey, their gin is top-notch. “Roku” (Japanese for six) refers to the six unique Japanese botanicals used in the gin, although it also utilizes some classic botanicals such as coriander seed and angelica root as well. The result is a light mix of floral, citrusy and spicy that makes it great for sipping or making a killer gin martini.
8. Monkey 47 Dry Gin
BEST PREMIUM GIN
Looking to sample a high-end bottle of gin (or treat a gin lover)? Try this Monkey 47. It uses a whopping 47 botanicals — all picked from the Black Forest in Germany — to create a truly elevated taste experience. One reviewer said it was like a punch to the mouth (the good kind) with juniper, pepper, flowers and Monkey’s secret weapon: lingonberries.