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    Posted on Feb 29, 2016

    23 Gins Every Gin Drinker Will Love

    Gin o'clock.

    Alice Mongkongllite / Buzzfeed

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    Gin is awesome. It's like vodka but 100x better because it actually tastes of things.

    Aldi

    Like juniper and citrus and spices and joy.

    But because everyone loves gin, it means there's now SO MUCH GIN. And if you want to try a new one, it can get a bit...overwhelming.

    NBC

    "Oooh, I want to try a new gin!"

    "OK, great, we stock 100 different gin brands, which would you like?"

    "Uhhh, the pretty green bottle...wait no, this one has cardamom in it and I love cardamom...wait it's HOW much? Argh, I don't know, surprise me!"

    "Here's your Gordon's and tonic."

    "...Fuck."

    So we asked a bunch of bartenders and industry experts to tell us the essential gins every gin lover should try.

    Hendricks / Via officinak.tumblr.com

    We talked to brand ambassadors, gin distillers, bar owners, and a lot of bartenders. Whether you're looking to just branch out from Gordon's, or have already hit the holy trio (Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick's, Beefeater) and are looking for smaller, craft fare, they know the gins you need to start sipping, and why they're worth trying.

    (I have also added my own commentary as I fucking love gin, so you're getting my two cents as well. Gin knowledge is my one life skill. Don't ruin this for me.)

    Here’s what they suggested.

    1. Sipsmith

    2. Silent Pool

    3. Tanqueray Malacca

    4. Gin Mare

    5. East London Liquor Company's Batch No. 2

    East London Liquor Company

    I love this gin so much that every so often I do a bit of work for these guys, mainly in exchange for free gin. Yes, I will work for gin. Don't judge me.

    They make three kinds of gin: a classic London Dry (£20); Batch 1, which has notes of grapefruit and darjeeling tea; and Batch 2, which is full of rosemary, lavender, fennel, and thyme. I'd recommend splashing out and getting a bottle of Batch 2. It's the most expensive at £29, but also one of the most unique gins I've ever had. And I drink a LOT of gin.

    "It's just great-tasting gin that doesn't break the bank. We want to make quality gin that doesn't come at a premium price, so it's affordable for our East End locals. That's kind of all there is to it!"

    – John Benoliel, general manager at East London Liquor Company, London

    Notes: thyme, fennel, lavender, fresh lemon peel, sage, and bay leaf

    Perfect serve: a dirty martini, a Negroni, or in a G&T garnished with a spring of rosemary

    6. Rock Rose

    7. Hayman's Royal Dock

    8. Burleigh's Distiller's Cut

    Burleigh's

    Burleigh's was inspired by a walk through the Burleigh Wood nature reserve – meaning it tastes like bit like how a woodland forest smells (amazing). The distiller, Jamie Baxter, has made a number of different variations on the original Burleigh's, but the limited edition Distiller's Cut is his favourite (obviously).

    "It has a higher proportion of the softer botanicals, meaning that it is a little different to the traditional gins around today, and more similar to the Old Tom styles of the 18th century. This means that it works particularly well in cocktails like a Tom Collins, or my favourite, the Martinez."

    – Jamie Baxter, director and master distiller at 45 West Distillers, Leicestershire

    Notes: silver birch, iris, dandelion, burdock, and elderberry

    Perfect Serve: a Tom Collins or a Martinez

    9. Jensen's

    Facebook / Via Facebook: jensengin

    "Jensen's produce a London Dry gin alongside an Old Tom sweetened with liquorice rather than sugar (which they insist is how it used to be done back in the day – liquorice is 50 times sweeter than sugar!). All I know is that it makes a damn fine Martinez, and the London Dry makes a banging Martini or G&T.

    "If you're based in London, you can pop over to their Bermondsey distillery, have a nosey around and meet the team. I'd highly recommend it as they're an innovative bunch. Pick up some of their exclusive handmade and hand-bottled infusions while you're there. Their Red Snapper gin is a particular favourite, infused with shitake mushrooms, horseradish, and rosemary, it's perfect bedfellows with tomato juice."

    – Emma Stokes, creator of Gin Monkey, London

    Notes: strong on juniper and liquorice

    Perfect serve: an old school-style gin needs a classic drink like a martini

    10. Sacred

    11. Plymouth Navy Strength

    12. Pickering's

    13. Death's Door

    14. Conker

    15. Koskue

    16. Tarquin's

    17. Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength

    Facebook / Via Facebook: martinmillersgin

    This was one of the first "luxury" gins to come into creation. One of the reasons it's classed as a luxury gin is the use of Icelandic spring water to cut the gin distillate with. According to the distillers, Icelandic water is extra soft and pure, and this makes their gin extra soft and pure. You can be the judge of whether the carbon footprint is worth it or not. Whatever your opinion on Icelandic water though, it's a beautiful gin – the Beverage Tasting Institute named it the best gin in the world.

    "Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength is such a crisp, clean, fresh-tasting gin. Just as a gin should be. The juniper sings alongside citrus notes and a subtle hint of cucumber. Beautiful."

    – Josh Powell, head bartender at 68 & Boston, London

    Notes: juniper, citrus, and cucumber

    Perfect serve: a G&T garnished with lime or grapefruit

    18. St George Terroir

    Facebook / Via Facebook: StGeorgeSpirits

    "It tastes like the forest. Like the rain has just fallen and the sun has come out. Everything has got a little fresher, the birds are perkier, and the trees are brighter. They make it in an ex US Navy airport hangar in San Francisco. They also make an absinthe, coffee liqueur, and more gins. 'Nuff said.

    "P.S. have you ever seen Deep Blue Sea? That shocking shark film with Samuel L? The shark from that lives at the distillery."

    – Leon Dalloway, founder of Gin Journey, London

    Notes: fir, pine, bay laurel

    Perfect serve: a Martinez

    19. West Winds The Cutlass

    Facebook / Via Facebook: TheWestWindsGin

    "A new world gin out of Australia, these guys pushed the boundaries of what we know as gin by making a punchy, umami-orientated, 50% gin with Australian bush tomato and wattleseed. It really works well in cocktails (try a dirty martini or a red snapper). They also have a great 40% traditional style called the Sabre and a seriously tasty 58% navy strength made with saltwater and sea parsley, called Broadside."

    – Phillip David, freelance bartender and writer, New York

    Notes: Australian bush tomato, coriander, and cinnamon myrtle

    Perfect serve: a red snapper

    20. Fifty Eight Gin

    Facebook / Via Facebook: 58Gin

    The beauty of this gin is the perfect balance between sweet and savoury. You start big on juniper, followed by sweetness and spice, before a peppery citrus finish as big as the juniper start.

    "Keeping it local in Hackney, Fifty Eight Gin is crafted in tiny alembic stills using British wheat spirit. It features nine botanicals, including angelica that owner Mark buys in great big chunks from a Chinese herbalist (most used in gin is ground). A gorgeous logo that adorns all of the bottles (and anything else they can put it on!) comes courtesy of tattoo maestro Mo Coppoletta. Small batch, one shot, and made with a hell of a lot of love."

    – Emma Stokes, creator of Gin Monkey, London

    Notes: pine, juniper, vanilla, cubeb pepper, and bergamot

    Perfect Serve: a G&T with a pinch of black pepper

    21. Bathtub Gin

    22. Christopher Wren

    City Of London Distillery

    A proper London gin, Christopher Wren is named after the famous architect who helped transform the city into what it looks like now. It's also made in the small-batch City of London Distillery. This isn't concept over flavour though: Tom Nichol, the ex-master distiller of Tanqueray, is behind this gin, so you know you're in really capable hands here.

    "Made by the City of London Distillery, in collaboration with Master Distiller Tom Nichol (ex-master distiller of Tanqueray). I love this gin because the subtle flavours of juniper, coriander, angelica root, liquorice, and sweet orange blend really well, producing a complex gin that balances quality and flavour.

    "Not only that, it's presented in a beautiful bespoke bottle symbolic of one of Wren’s most famous projects: St Paul’s Cathedral."

    – Alfie Amayo, brand ambassador for City of London Distillery, London

    Notes: juniper-led, followed by a complex blend of coriander, angelica root, liquorice, and sweet orange

    Perfect serve: A rounded gin, this will go well in any classic cocktail.

    23. No.3

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