Following an extensive tasting of more than 50 bottles for VinePair’s annual gin roundup, we can confidently say there’s never been a better time to be a gin enthusiast.
The range of options, whether local or international, continues to grow, and for those who have previously been put off by juniper-forward labels, fear not: The market is awash with alternatives that place fruit and floral notes front and center. Referred to by many in the industry as New Western Dry Gin, these bottles do contain juniper in their botanical bill — otherwise their producers wouldn’t legally be able to use the term gin — but the ingredient’s character is much more subtle.
For those who still need convincing, consider the value gin offers: While it’s a carefully crafted spirit, made using a bounty of fresh botanicals, the vast majority of the bottles tasted and included in this list retail between $30 and $45. That means you can get 25 botanical-spiked, two-ounce pours for the same price many might spend on a weekend bottle of wine.
As with previous roundups, we’ve split the list into different price points: Under $25, Under $50, Under $100, and Over $100. Each category is unranked, but we’re highlighting bottles we believe offer fantastic value and exceptional quality with an asterisk (*).
Here at the 30 best gins available now for every budget.
Askur Yggdrasil 45
This Icelandic gin is hard to come by but it’s a bonafide bargain if you can pick up a bottle. The nose is lively, serving a burst of juniper, coriander, and citrus peel. Notes from the grain distillate emerge on the palate, offering a flavor that’s robust and ready for spirit-forward cocktails. Average price: $23.
Beefeater London Dry Gin *
Everything about this gin, from its iconic bottle to the nose and palate cries classic London Dry gin. The juniper aromas are warm and sweet, with candied lemon rind and fresh rosemary playing a supporting role. The palate skews slightly sweet, with brambly berry notes mixing with lemon balm. Average price: $18.
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Bombay Sapphire remains one of the most striking bottles on the gin shelf. Its aromas and flavors are subtle — but don’t read that as lacking. The distillery vapor-infuses eight signature botanicals into the spirit, lending soft notes of juniper, licorice, and almond. Average price: $24.
Also arriving in an appealing azure bottle, Citadelle is delicately floral on the nose and remarkably smooth-drinking. The refined aromas belie a powerful, spicy palate. Serve with a high-quality vermouth in a 50:50 Martini. Average price: $24.
Amass Dry Gin *
A New Western Dry Gin (a style where juniper takes a back seat), this bottle is all about bay leaf, cardamom, and grapefruit peel. It’s complex but well balanced, and a great example of how gin can be floral and perfumed without being artificial or in your face. The aromas and flavors suggest high-quality fresh botanicals were used in its production — this is a must-buy. Average price: $42.
What’s not to love about Aviation Gin? It’s priced for the people, the marketing is spot on, and it’s the best celebrity-owned spirit on the market by a mile. But that’s not why you’re drinking it. You crack open a bottle of Aviation for its citrus and pepper-spiced aromas, and its velvety palate that serves just a gentle kiss of juniper. Martini, Aviation, Corpse Reviver #2 — take your pick, this gin will deliver. Average price: $29.
Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin
This gin is an outlier in many respects. It’s distilled with raw honey, which dominates the nose and palate; it smells waxy and honeyed, and both profiles continue onto the palate where they’re joined by juniper and black pepper. This gin is very pleasant, if non-traditional. Sample with lemon and soda over ice, or mix in a Ramos Gin Fizz if you’re feeling adventurous. Average price: $39.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
Falling somewhere between a New Western style and classic London Dry, Gunpowder blends juniper, bergamot, and a spray of saline notes on the nose. The palate is vibrant and zesty, with a seasoning of green, grassy notes. This is subtle but versatile and pours a wonderful Gimlet. Average price: $38
Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin
Distilled to evoke Mediterranean ingredients, Gin Mare has aromas of rosemary, juniper, fennel seed, and a faint hint of coriander. The palate is peppery and mentholated and perfectly suited for G&T’s. Average price: $38.
Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin
Produced in Brooklyn, this 47- percent-ABV gin comes in hot and spicy. The nose has a wood-chip core and seasonings of rosemary, cinnamon, and chamomile. The palate is grainy with a vibrant citrus finish. (Greenhook Ginsmiths also offers a wonderful canned G&T.) Average price: $35.
Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice
Another outlier, this limited-edition release from Hendrick’s has an immensely floral character and almost tastes like a pre-batched cocktail. The palate offers a strong foundation for spritz cocktails, like a French 75 with rosé Champagne. Alternatively, top with soda and garnish with a handful of sweet berries. Average price: $39.
Highclere Castle Gin *
Arriving in a tall, rectangular bottle, this gin looks like an upgraded Beefeater. It has all the typical notes of a standard London Dry gin, too. But along with the juniper, rosemary, black pepper, and citrus on the nose, there are also rose petals and lavender mixed in on the palate. This nuanced offering would make a great house gin at a fancy hotel. Average price: $38.
Koval Dry Gin
Produced in Chicago, Koval has a citrus-and-floral-driven nose, with just a hint of creamy vanilla. The citrus continues on the palate and is met by intense pine notes. The finish serves a crack of pepper and a blast of juniper. This is a remarkably smooth-drinking gin, despite clocking in at 47 percent ABV. Average price: $38.
Loch & Union American Dry Gin
Don’t like juniper, but don’t want something that’s overly floral or perfumed? This is a great middle ground. Loch & Union is delicate but has a good concentration of flavor and serves the lightest seasoning of spice. Serve in an exceedingly dry Martini with a twist. Average price: $37.
New York Distilling Company Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
Bottled at 57 percent ABV, this navy-strength gin benefits from a good chilling to tame its wild character. Pull it from the freezer and you can fully appreciate its clean juniper aromas and coriander and pepper-spiced palate. Use it to add a kick to your Negroni, stick it in your G&T, or serve ice cold in an overproof Martini — if you dare. Average price: $29.
Neversink Spirits Gin
Distilled using an apple base spirit and 11 botanicals, this gin has a rich nose and full-bodied palate. Though distilled from apples, its flavors skew closer to pears and grapes, making it a great option for spritz cocktails and French 75s. Average price: $45
Nikka Coffey Gin *
The botanical bill for this Japanese gin mixes four native citrus fruits (yuzu, kabosu, amanatsu, and shequasar) with traditional ingredients, such as juniper berries, angelica, and coriander. The combination provides a gin with citrus-forward aromas and a sweet, spicy, and smooth flavor profile. This is a versatile bottle and a great example of the stunning quality of Japanese gins right now. Average price: $47.
Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
A now-established and recognizable brand, Nolet’s was one of the original atypical gins that showcased an extremely floral, aromatic, and fruity profile. Drink in simple, refreshing Highballs and garnish with edible flowers and fresh fruits. Average price: $42.
Plymouth Gin *
Subtle yet full-bodied, this gin has a citrus and earthy character, which arrives via the use of a greater proportion of root botanicals than London Dry gins (Plymouth is both a brand and style of gin). Its citrus notes and savory spices linger on a notably lengthy finish. This is a classy, understated gin. Average price: $31.
Reisetbauer Blue Gin *
While better known for making world class eau de vie, Hans Reisetbauer distills one of the cleanest, most focused gins on the market. Characterized by vegetal notes and savory spices, Blue Gin has a concentrated flavor profile and a lithe, crisp mouthfeel. It cries out for a splash of vermouth and the expression of a lemon twist in a classic dry Martini. Average price: $47.
Suntory Roku Gin *
From Beam-Suntory, this Japanese gin is citrusy with just a seasoning of green pepper notes. If you don’t like juniper, this is a great introduction to gin, with Japanese botanicals like yuzu, sakura flower, and sencha tea taking center stage. The palate is well-balanced, warming, and zesty. At $30, this gin is an absolute steal. Average price: $30.
Sipsmith London Dry Gin *
A favorite among bartenders and gin enthusiasts, Sipmsith smells like a fistful of crushed, fresh juniper berries, mixed with lemon peel and cracked black pepper. Its flavor profile is well-rounded and perfectly suited for G&Ts. Average price: $34.
St. George Spirits Botanivore Gin
One of three high-quality gins offered by California-based St. George Spirits, this is a piney, complex gin. The nose is an apothecary of savory spices and dried herbs, while the palate has prickly heat and a dense concentration of flavors. Average price: $33.
Tanqueray No. Ten Gin *
This gin looks and smells like a perfume in the best possible way. It’s very delicate on the nose, with herbal notes including lemon thyme, mint, sweet cucumber, and a lot of citrus. Spend a moment savoring the aromas before taking a sip of the honeyed, floral palate. Tanqueray markets No. Ten as the “ultimate cocktail gin,” and it’s hard to argue with that assertion. Average price: $33.
Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651
Another gin that’s crafted for cocktails, New York distillery The Vale Fox worked with esteemed bartenders Gary (Gaz) Regan, Leo Robitschek, and Jeffery Morganthaler to create this product. With a splash of orange and a spray brine on the nose, and fresh rosemary and fiery arugula on the palate, this gin is perfect for delicate, spirit-driven cocktails. Average price: $40.
$50 to $100
Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin
The fragrant, juniper-rich nose of this gin sets the expectation that it will be much more bitter than it actually is on the palate. Instead, it starts with dried fruit peels, transitions to a sweet vanilla character, then finishes with a peppery prickle. Perfect for G&Ts, this gin would also work really well in a Negroni. Average price: $52.
Kyoto Distillery Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin *
Leading the charge of “craft” Japanese distillers, the Kyoto Distillery offers a delightfully floral, citrus-forward gin. While the nose is subtle, the palate is dense, with yuzu flavors leading the way. Fresh shiso leaves arrive on the finish, leaving a vibrant, refreshing sensation. This gin isn’t cheap, so you’ll want to savor it in simple cocktails that allow the gin to shine, such as a Martini or Vesper. Average price: $76.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin *
Inhaling Monkey 47’s aromas is to set upon a journey that hops from dried berries (cranberry, lingonberry, and raspberry) to spice to herbs and back to fruit again. The palate is an exhibition of balance, showcasing notes of raspberry, orange blossom, grapefruit peel, coriander seeds, and cardamom. Just when you’re wondering when the juniper is going to appear, it jumps out on the finish and blankets the palate. Average price: $69.
Vánagandr London Dry Gin
A Spanish gin produced in the classic London Dry style, Vánagandr is distilled in small batches (440 bottles at a time, according to the brand) over a period of 14 hours. The nose delivers an intense mix of herbs, fruit, and spices, while the palate is full-bodied and lively, with a clean, lengthy finish. This the perfect bottle for an upmarket Gin & Tonic. Average price: $75.
Splurge (Over $100)
Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Dry Gin (2019)
Every year, Monkey 47 releases a limited-edition, small-production bottling known as Distiller’s Cut. Each release celebrates a different botanical, with 2019’s edition designed around mace — a spice made from the organic material that covers nutmeg seeds. This gin is every bit as complex and interesting as the distillery’s standard Schwarzwald Dry, but the addition of mace lends a spiced, slightly sweeter flavor. You’ll need to shop around online to get your hands on a bottle, and can expect to pay a premium, but this is a truly one-of-a-kind gin and a must-have collector’s item for any ginthusiast. Average price: $160+ ($80+ per 375-milliliter bottle.)
The article The 30 Best Gins for Every Budget (2020) appeared first on VinePair.