Determining the best gin is subjective; you'll find gin in an array of styles with varying botanicals. Some of the best gin brands are well-known, while others come from small, craft distilleries. Discover which gins are the best for sipping on the rocks and making classic gin cocktails.
Best Cheap Gin - Tanqueray Gin
For about $20 for a 750 mL bottle (or $30 for a 1.5 L bottle), Tanqueray is one of Total Wine & More's top rated affordable gins receiving 4.8 out of 5 star ratings from around 65 customers. Tanqueray is a classic London dry gin with flavors of juniper, citrus, and other botanicals. It's a great one to try in a variety of gin cocktails as it won't override the flavors of other ingredients.
Best Tasting Gin - Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin was voted best gin in the Flaviar 2019 Community Awards, and more than 800 consumers on the site rate it 8.2 out of 10 stars. The gin is distilled with a blend of botanicals that includes gunpowder tea, and it is a citrus-forward, lightly floral gin with lots of coriander, cardamom, and anise on the palate. This is a gin that is good enough to sip by itself on the rocks or to blend to make tasty cocktails. It's affordable at about $45 per 750 mL bottle.
Best Craft Gin - The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
Scotland may be best known for its whiskies (Scotch, to be exact), but that doesn't mean it's the only spirit distilled there. The Botanist Islay Dry Gin comes from the Bruichladdich distillery, best known for its exceptional Scotches. The Botanist is infused with 22 botanicals foraged on the island of Islay. Esquire named it one of the top 15 gin brands to drink, and reviewers on Masters of Malt rave about its smoothness. Expect flavors of citrus, coriander, and mint with just a hint of juniper. You'll pay about $45 per 750 mL bottle.
Best American Gin - St. George Spirits Dry Rye Gin
Distilled in Alameda, CA, St. George Spirits Dry Rye Gin is listed as one of Liquor.com's top American gins. Wine Enthusiast rated the small-batch gin 92 points, noting it has a "warm caraway scent" with zippy notes of black pepper and juniper. You'll pay between $30 and $40 per 750 mL bottle for an interesting gin.
Best Gins of Each Style
Gins are made in various styles, from the classic Dutch gin predecessor jenever (also spelled genever), to classic juniper-forward London dry gin, to bold, reimagined New Western dry gins with interesting botanical flavor profiles. These are some of the best in each category.
Best London Dry Gin - Elephant Gin
Flaviar's top rated London dry gin is Elephant gin. More than 80 reviewers on the site rated the gin 9.2 out of 10 stars, and the German distillery where it is made donates 15% of the proceeds to save endangered African elephants. It's a spicy floral gin with flavors of lavender, pine, ginger, and citrus. You'll pay about $45 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Plymouth Gin - Black Friar's Distillery Plymouth Gin
It may be a bit misleading to list this as the best Plymouth gin, as it's the only Plymouth gin. However, the gin is distinctive enough to be listed as its own separate style. Plymouth gin is made in a single pot still as it has been since 1865. It isn't as crisp as a London dry gin; rather, the flavor profile tends towards earthy, citrus, and smooth. You'll find the gin in two strengths; Navy strength (57% ABV), and traditional (41.2% ABV). Wine Enthusiast rated the traditional strength 93 points, and the Ultimate Spirits Challenge rated the Navy strength 94 points. Expect to pay about $30 for traditional or $40 for Navy strength for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Jenever - Old Duff Genever Single Malt
Jenever, also spelled genever, hails from Holland, and it's similar enough to gin that it is classified as a subtype of the spirit. Juniper is essential in jenever, but it's also blended with malt wine, so it has a more malted, less crisp flavor than a traditional London dry gin. One of the top rated jenever gins is Old Duff Genever Single Malt. It's one of Wine Enthusiast's top rated genevers with a 93-point rating and was listed as one of the top 100 spirits of 2019. It's 90-proof with notes of anise, juniper, and malt. Expect to pay about $50 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Old Tom Gin - Citadelle Extremes No. 1 No Mistake Old Tom Gin
Old Tom gin is sweeter with a less botanical flavor than its London dry counterpart, and it lacks the maltiness of jenever. It's a good halfway point between the two styles. French distiller Citadelle's No. 1 No Mistake Old Tom Gin is Flaviar's top rated Old Tom gin, with more than 40 customers rating it 8.9 out of 10 stars. It's a floral gin with hints of orange and spice and a golden color. You'll pay about $60 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best New Western Dry Gin - Aviation Gin
New Western dry gin is a Johnny-come-lately in the gin world; it's a designation coined to represent artisanal gins from small distillers in the United States and Europe with interesting and unique botanical combinations that may vary from the traditional juniper flavor profile in a classic London dry gin.
Aviation gin, which is distilled in Portland, Oregon, is probably one of the most well-known new Western dry gins. Actor Ryan Reynolds owns the brand, which is light on juniper with notes of cardamom and smoke. Wine Enthusiast awarded the gin a whopping 97-point rating, and you'll pay less than $30 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Cocktail Gins
So what makes a gin perfect for a specific cocktail? It's a matter of personal preference; there are many different gin flavor profiles, and some blend with certain mixers better than others. Explore the best gins for each type of gin mixed drink.
Best Gin for Gin and Tonic - Hendrick's Gin
Hendrick's is a Scottish gin brand that offers a balanced citrus and juniper flavor profile to blend with the bitterness of quinine in tonic water. Hendrick's is dry and crisp, and it also offers delicate floral notes that bring balance and complexity to a classic G&T. Expect to pay about $45 per 750 mL bottle.
Best Gin for Martini - Ford's Gin
What you like in a martini is a matter of personal taste; some people prefer their martini extra-dry (Winston Churchill famously preferred his martinis to be straight gin), while others like a wetter martini with more dry vermouth. So which gin is best for a martini is likely highly individual as well, but you can't go wrong with a classic London dry gin. Serious Eats selects Ford's gin as their top rated martini gin, citing its classic juniper and citrus flavors that make a balanced and silky cocktail. Expect to pay about $25 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Gin for Negroni - Barr Hill Tom Cat Reserve Gin
In a classic negroni, the bitterness of Campari balances the botanicals in the gin and the sweetness of sweet vermouth. The result is a balanced, aromatic, bittersweet cocktail that's the perfect vessel for Barr Hill Tom Cat Reserve Gin. VinePair calls it the best overall gin for making a negroni with its creamy mouthfeel. You'll pay about $60 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Gin for an Aviation Cocktail - Empress 1908 Gin
The aviation cocktail is a classic mixed drink that's currently enjoying a renaissance. The cocktail has a pleasant violet hue thanks to the addition of crème de violette, a purple-hued, violet-flavored liqueur. And Empress 1908 gin, which is distilled in Victoria BC, Canada and named after the famous Empress Hotel, has a lovely indigo hue that adds an even deeper color to this beautiful and tasty gin cocktail. The gin gets its color from butterfly pea blossoms, and it adds delicate floral and citrus notes that blend perfectly with the violet, cherry, and lemon flavors in an aviation cocktail. Expect to pay about $40 per 750 mL bottle.
Best Gin for a Gimlet - Bombay Sapphire
The gin gimlet is a classic cocktail that's a great starter gin drink for people who haven't tried much gin or aren't sure they like it. And Bombay Sapphire is the perfect gin for this cocktail according to Gin Observer. Bombay Sapphire is crisp and clean, affordable (you'll pay less than $20 for a 750 mL bottle), and readily available. It's also a classic juniper-forward London dry gin that complements the tart lime flavor in a gimlet.
Best Gin for French 75 - Citadelle
Lemon juice, Champagne, simple syrup, and gin make a tasty, fizzy, sweet and sour, aromatic cocktail. Citadelle gin, a French distilled London dry gin, is the perfect gin for a French 75. Why? Because it's French, affordable, easy to find, and tasty. Citadelle is a clean, crisp, lightly floral gin that mixes beautifully with a toasty, dry French Champagne to make this classic and delicious cocktail. You'll pay about $25 for a 750 mL bottle.
Best Gin for Tom Collins - Hendricks Midsummer Solstice
The floral notes in Hendricks Midsummer Solstice gin stand up beautifully to a crisp, refreshing, and fizzy Tom Collins, which is the quintessential summer cocktail. This light, crisp gin adds a refreshing edge to the mixed drink that's bright and delicious. You'll pay about $40 for a 750 mL bottle.
5 of the Author's Favorite Gins
A dedicated gin lover who enjoys sipping gin and creating craft cocktails that contain gin, the author recommends the following as some of her favorite gins.
Breckenridge gin is a floral, citrus-forward gin with hints of spice and a light juniper flavor. It's distilled in Colorado in small batches in a copper pot still, making a delicious and crisp new Western dry gin. You'll pay about $25 per 750 mL bottle.
Black Button Citrus Forward Gin
If you like a citrusy gin, then Black Button Citrus Forward Gin is the one for you! Along with the flavor of orange peel and tropical fruits, you'll find floral and spice notes in this 84 proof New York distilled gin. It costs around $30 per 750 mL bottle.
Suntory Roku Gin
This Japanese gin has a different blend of botanicals from what you'll find in a traditional Western gin, including sakura (cherry blossom), yuzu, and green tea. The result is a floral, smoky, and citrusy gin that's great as a sipping gin or in a G&T. Roku gin costs about $30 for a bottle.
Malfy Gin Con Limone
Distilled in Italy, Malfy Gin Con Limone leads with a pleasant lemony flavor that comes from lemons grown on the Amalfi Coast and in Sicily. You'll also find hints of coriander and juniper in a crisp, aromatic gin. You'll pay around $35 for a 750 mL bottle.
Another Japanese gin, Etsu gin's top note is tea, but it's also crisp and bright with citrus, juniper, pepper, and floral notes. Among the botanicals used in this flavorful and aromatic gin are green tea, yuzu, and sansho pepper. It's costs about $50 per bottle.
A World of Gin
Gin is an aromatic spirit that makes interesting and delicious cocktails. Finding the right gin for each cocktail is often a matter of personal taste, but you won't go wrong trying any of the above gins.