Both lively and aromatic, gin is a distilled liquor that derives its flavor from juniper berries. Unlike many other spirits, there are no limitations to where gin is produced – making it an endlessly versatile and unique liquor to add to your bartending repertoire. Ranging from herbal, spicy, floral and fruity, finding the best gin all comes down to the quality of distillation and personal preference. Whether you’re just warming up to the divisive liquor, or a die-hard fan, finding the best gins can help make the most of your cocktail experience and open up a whole new world to complex flavor profiles.
“English and American gins are distilled from malt wine purified to produce an almost neutral spirit, without flavor or aroma, having alcohol content of 90–94 percent by volume. This is reduced with distilled water, combined with the flavoring agents, and distilled and reduced again, producing a final product of 40–47 percent alcoholic content,” Britannica explains. “The dry gins have more added flavoring ingredients than Dutch types. Each producer employs a secret formula, including, in addition to the juniper berries, combinations of such botanicals as orris, angelica, and licorice roots, lemon and orange peels, cassia bark, caraway, coriander, cardamom, anise, and fennel.”
Dating back to the earliest days of gin in the 11th century, gin was actually used for medicinal purposes before making it mainstream into the alcohol industry. “The Benedictine monks of Salerno, Italy distilled spirits using juniper berries (growing in abundance in the nearby hills) as a cure for a wide range of ailments including indigestion, and for treating conditions of the stomach, kidneys and liver,” Bass and Flinders Distillery writes.
Today, medically speaking, gin is not proven or meant to help cure your maladies, but if you are in good health, it’s a great and vibrant spirit to try out in your favorite cocktails. While excess drinking can lead to an extensive list of health problems, drinking cautiously and in moderation may work in your favor in some cases! In fact, one recent paper concludes that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce stress-related signals which could cause heart disease. Researchers with the American College of Cardiology say this is the first report to link moderate drinking with heart health in this way. Moreover, a study out of Australia finds that moderate drinking is better for aging hearts than not drinking at all. And with just 64 calories per ounce and no sugar or carbohydrates, gin makes an excellent choice for the occasional diet-friendly alcoholic beverage.
Gin can range from London Dry and Plymouth to Old Tom and Genever — needless to say there are a lot of options and quality and price-point vary tremendously. That’s why we’re here to help. StudyFinds visited 10 of the leading expert websites to find the best gins out there. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended gins across these sites. Let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments below!
The List: Best Gin, According to Experts
1. Monkey 47
A favorite on nearly every list we reviewed, Monkey 47 is the ultimate gin thanks to its fragrant and vibrant notes. “This funky dry gin from the Black Forest in Germany has cultivated a fanbase thanks to its unique flavor profile. The bottle takes its name from the 47 botanicals it contains, including local lingonberries, spruce and floral acacia flowers, alongside the more traditional,” says Esquire.
Many applaud this gin for its complexity, and recommend drinking it in a booze-centered cocktail (rather than a long drink) to showcase all its excellence. “Gin isn’t usually thought of as a luxury spirit the way one thinks of cognac or scotch whisky. Since it’s unaged, gin is much easier to produce and sell at a lower price. However, there are top-shelf gins out there, and Monkey 47 Schwarzwald dry gin is one of the best. It offers a complex and high-end version of the spirit. It’s unlike any gin I’ve had before,” writes Insider.
The Food Network agrees: “I do not really consider gin to be a ‘sippable’ category of spirits, but this might be the exception. This liquid has a lush texture and kaleidoscopic complexity that would suit well in any application, be it a (dirty) martini, gin and tonic, or corpse reviver No. 2.”
2. Tanqueray 10
Nothing is quite as classic as Tanqueray gin, and the distiller’s more delicate and nuanced gin, Tanqueray 10, is a bartender favorite for everything from your classic gin martini to a citrusy G&T. “You might think that the ‘Ten’ in the name refers to the number of botanicals in this gin, but you’d be wrong. The ‘ten’ actually refers to the number on the still that’s used to distill this gin, which features the original Tanqueray’s four botanicals of juniper, coriander, licorice and angelica root, plus chamomile and fresh citrus. This brighter, fruitier profile works great when shaking with lime juice for a tart, zesty gimlet,” describes The Food Network.
This gin also is well-loved for its super smooth and balanced taste profile. “The main botanicals used are juniper, angelica, and coriander, giving this gin a crisp, dry flavor that works perfectly in a Martini with a twist, a couple of olives, or any way you choose to make it,” advises Liquor.com.
Insider insists on using it in a martini. Why? “For a classic cocktail like the martini, nothing beats the iconic flavor of Tanqueray. The martini is by far the most famous gin-based classic cocktail. Every martini lover has a specific preference for their ideal cocktail, but we recommend the Tanqueray London dry gin for this classic.”
3. The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is not for the faint of heart, it’s particular, packed full of interesting flavors, and for gin drinkers– an absolute pleasure to sip on. “They managed to put quite a lot of botanicals together that work in a remarkably harmonious way. Sometimes local flavors means ‘this won’t really taste like gin,’ but that’s not the case with The Botanist. This gin is a rich and cohesive experience on the palate,” says Liquor.com.
The spirit is made at the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Scottish Isle of Islay. “The Botanist includes 22 hand-picked ingredients in its botanical bill, all of which grow wild on the island. Taking the terroir and gin conversation to an entirely new level, this is surely the world’s only gin that contains creeping thistle, sweet cicely, and tansy — to name but three of its left-field ingredients — and what a combination it proves to be,” adds VinePair.
Need something suited for a Negroni? Insider says, “For the perfect Negroni, try The Botanist Islay dry gin. It’s complex and strong enough to balance out the other ingredients.”
4. Malfy Rosa Pink Grapefruit
Malfy is a newcomer to the gin game, debuting itself in 2017 and quickly gaining praise. The Malfy Rosa Pink Grapefruit is the ultimate gin for those warmer months when you’re looking for that iconic gin flavor, with a little something extra.
“Pink grapefruit might be the focus in Malfy Gin Rosa, but there’s a lot more going on in their pink gin. It treads a fine line between sharpness and lightness, and the result is a drinkable gin that you’ll be reaching for throughout summer,” writes BBC Good Food.
The ingredients come straight from the Mediterranean, bursting with flavors of Sicilian grapefruit and rhubarb, which are then infused by the gin for 36 hours. “Holidays might be off the cards for the moment but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a taste of Italy. Distilled in the European country, this bottle of gin has been created with handpicked juniper, sun-ripened lemons and Amalfi lemon peel. This is a fruity gin at its finest,” adds Elle Magazine.
5. Beefeater London Dry
Not every quality gin has to be interesting, nor does it have to be top shelf. If you’re just getting started drinking gin and want a budget pick that packs all the flavor that gin is known and loved for, Beefeater is a quality choice.
“This iconic London Dry remains juniper-charged in profile and a brilliant budget pick. Expect exceptional balance between citrus, spice, and juniper, and a soft palate that finishes with a peppery prickle,” adds VinePair.
As it has a milder flavor profile, Beefeater makes the perfect gin for cocktail-making as it’s perfectly balanced without stealing the show. “Spicy and floral notes hold up the best when combined with Campari and sweet vermouth in a classic Negroni recipe. Whether you like yours up or on the rocks (I’m an on-the-rocks gal myself), Beefeater is a great choice for this iconic three-ingredient cocktail,” says Food Network.
You may also be interested in:
- From the Gin Shelf
- Vine Pair
- Food Network
- Harpers Bazaar
- The Spruce Eats
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.