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Ginvincibility: The Best Gin for Sipping, Cocktails & More
Gin has had a bit of a renaissance as of late, but it’s still one of the most popular spirits that many just haven’t gotten into. Gin possesses more complex flavors as it’s always made with at least ten botanicals, so it often appears in more complex drinks rather than the fruity ones that mix with vodka or rum. For this reason, gin can be intimidating yet awesome.
Although it’s not as commonly used in cooking as wine, you might be surprised to know that many recipes contain gin. We find that it works particularly well in pastry filling, especially paired with citrus. (Think gin & grapefruit tarts, or even gin frosting for cakes!) Some even say the secret to the best pie crust is adding gin in place of water. On the savory side, you can add gin to tomato pasta sauce, and in fish and poultry recipes.
Whether you’re sipping it straight, concocting the perfect cocktail, or whipping up a gin-inspired treat, the best gin might be just the thing you’re looking for.
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The 8 Best Gin Brands
For the gin-curious, we’ve rounded up the best gins on the market for everything from sipping straight to concocting the perfect gin-based cocktails.
Pro tip: Gin does not freeze because its ABV is above 37.5%, so you can store your favorite bottle in the freezer if you want. Gin tastes better at colder temperatures!
Best Gin to Sip: Opihr
A newer gin on the market, Opihr began selling its spirits in 2013. Its gins, including the London Dry Gin, are crafted with a selection of more exotic botanicals inspired by the Spice Route. Opihr’s London Dry Gin contains spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, cardamom and Tellicherry black pepper from India, and coriander from Morocco. These ingredients give Opihr unique notes that are not found in other gins, including a more apparent sweetness. It’s a gin you’ll want to sip rather than hiding in a cocktail with simple syrup to ensure you taste everything.
Best for Gin & Tonic: Sipsmith
Sipsmith is a particularly dry gin that just begs to be paired with tonic water. With its strong citrus notes, Sipsmith is our pick for the best gin for a gin & tonic. Founded in 2009, the company is known for being the first copper pot still distillery to operate in London in nearly two centuries. Sipsmith manages to be part of the modern craft gin movement while still providing a classic-style spirit. A juniper-forward gin, it remains balanced and smooth and works well in a number of gin drinks — though you can’t go wrong with a G&T with a squeeze of lime juice.
Best Botanicals: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
All gin is made with at least ten botanicals, but The Botanist takes things to another level. Their Islay Dry Gin boasts an impressive thirty-one. Made in Scotland, twenty-two of the botanicals are foraged directly on the island of Islay, where the distillery is located. Despite containing a number of ingredients, The Botanist remains a balanced spirit while also boasting uniqueness.
Best London: Beefeater
Beefeater is our top pick for the best London dry gin. To be classified as London dry gin, it does not have to be made in London as the name might suggest. Rather, it must include all-natural ingredients, be made with high-quality alcohol, and only contain 0.01g of sugar per liter of alcohol. Essentially, it’s gin in its purest form.
Beefeater has been around since the 1860s when it was first distilled in London. The juniper berry and citrus-heavy gin is 94 proof, putting it on the stronger side, but it does not burn as it goes down. It’s fundamentally a gin for those who really enjoy the taste of gin.
Best for Martini: Plymouth
Best Celeb Brand: Aviation
Best Splurge: Nolet’s Reserve
Nolet’s Reserve is undoubtedly a splurge with a bottle priced around $600-700. It’s the only gin on our list made in Holland, where the predecessor of gin, genever, was first distilled. It’s also the oldest distillery on our list, producing spirits since the 1690s. The flavors in Nolet’s Reserve are quite complex with aromas of spicy saffron, verbena, and rose petals that deliver a rich, fruity taste. At an exceptionally high 104.6 proof that allows the complexity of flavor to shine through, Nolet’s Reserve produces fewer than 500 bottles annually, making it a rare gin meant for sipping and savoring.
Best Classic: Bombay Sapphire
Though Bombay Sapphire may not be a “classic” compared to old-school gin makers like Beefeater and Plymouth, we still think of it as the best classic due to its ubiquity. Bombay Sapphire touts itself as the world’s leading premium gin brand, and we can’t disagree. The characteristic “sapphire” blue bottle stands out on shelves, and the gin itself is easy to drink. Bombay Sapphire uses a unique distillation process of “vapor-infusing” flavors into the alcohol. This provides a distinct flavor profile that is citrus-y and floral in nature thanks to botanicals like grains of paradise and almonds.