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23 Gins Every Gin Drinker Will Love

Gin o'clock.

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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

Instagram: @sipsmith

If you're a gin drinker, you have to try Sipsmith. It played a HUGE role in the current gin renaissance. Back in the 18th century, the Gin Craze created a moral panic, and the government imposed a series of laws to halt gin production in London. These laws remained in place until Sipsmith came along in the 2000s, and got them changed – opening the gates for the first craft gin production in London since 1820.

"Making Sipsmith, I didn't strive for a crowd pleaser. I made exactly the gin I want to drink. It's got a creamy English wheat base spirit, soft pine, and sweet citrus of juniper, accented with citrus, dry floral, and warm spice notes. The hint of lemongrass and pepper in the finish are a bonus to me. It's a gin lover's gin, from a small copper still and not made as a concentrate (no spirit added after distillation)."

– Jared Brown, master distiller at Sipsmith, the Cotswolds

Notes: dry juniper, lemon tart, and orange marmalade

Perfect serve: a martini

2. Silent Pool

Instagram: @storehouserestaurant

The most beautiful gin bottle I have ever seen. They make this gin in Surrey, next to its namesake, the Silent Pool, a stunning spring-fed lake. It's really rare to come across a gin that uses such a high number of botanicals (and gets away with it), so this is well worth trying IMO.

"Not just a pretty bottle, Silent Pool is a delicious gin that doesn't just look good in your bar at home, but is also a damn tasty addition to your cocktail cabinet. Made in the Surrey hills in a cute steam-powered still, it is produced with 24 botanicals that marry together superbly to create a slightly sweet, yet lovely gin."

– Emma Stokes, creator of Gin Monkey, London

Notes: juniper, lavender, chamomile, kaffir lime, and honey

Perfect serve: This is mysterious gin, as the 24 botanicals used in it are unnamed. So, sip this straight up over ice and play "guess the botanical" with your friends.

3. Tanqueray Malacca

Instagram: @ozzotto

"A gin that, like so many others, can thank the cocktail renaissance for its revival. Tanqueray Malacca came back using a 1839 recipe (from Charles Tanqueray himself) more than a decade after it was first discontinued in 2001.

"You should try this immediately, as it's a limited run, so who knows when it'll come back again. This is a really special gin, not only because it's a recipe that comes from one of the greatest minds behind gin ever, but first and foremost, because it will convince anyone you give it to that gin is the nectar of the gods, be they gin beginners or gin experts."

– Gergő Muráth, bar manager at Trailer Happiness, London

Notes: citrus zest, allspice, and lemon curd

Perfect serve: on its own with ice and a slice of lemon

4. Gin Mare

Instagram: @ballroomrdam

Gin Mare is part of what made me first fall in love with gin. It's from Spain, and the Spanish bloody love their G&Ts, so of course the gin they make is bloody phenomenal. It's inspired by the Mediterranean climate, so is full of herbs and tangy citrus.

"If you've got a fairly savoury palate like myself, then Gin Mare is the one for you. With notes of olives, lemon peel, thyme, and rosemary this particular gin naturally makes a fantastic dirty martini. If you're more of a G&T person then it pairs well with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic garnished with a dehydrated slice of mango..

"In summary: If you like sharp herbaceous flavours and you're a fan of a dirty martini then pick up a bottle of this."

– Tony Kousoulou, bartender at East London Liquor Company, London

Flavour Notes: olive, rosemary, thyme, basil, and mandarin

Perfect Serve: dirty martini

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

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, LondonNotes: thyme, fennel, lavender, fresh lemon peel, sage, and bay leafPerfect serve: a dirty martini, a Negroni, or in a G&T garnished with a spring of rosemary
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

Instagram: @claramellor

"Similar to Bombay Sapphire, Rock Rose uses vapour infusion for their botanics, just on a much smaller scale. This gives the spirit a much smoother profile. They get their name from one of the 18 botanics that they use – Rhodiola rosea. This is foraged locally and when you cut into the root it releases a rose aroma – hence the name. This gin is floral on the nose and very smooth and creamy to taste."

– David Smith, bar manager at The Anchor Inn at Seatown, Dorset

Notes: rhodiola rosea, rowan berries, sea buckthorn, bilberry, verbena

Perfect serve: in a G&T with toasted rosemary

7. Hayman's Royal Dock

Instagram: @nick_falk

If you like your gin with a side of history, Hayman's Royal Dock is perfect. It's a navy-strength gin, and this particular recipe was supplied to both the Royal Navy and trade from 1863.

"Navy strength" is a specific gin term for gin that is 57% alcohol. Back in the day, gin was often stored next to gunpowder in the ship's hold, and if there was an attack, the gunpowder risked getting soaked. Fifty-seven per cent is the strength at which gin will set alight – meaning if it gets spilled on gunpowder, you can still set it alight. Hence, navy strength.

"Hayman's Royal Dock is a gin that tries the nearly impossible: supplanting Plymouth Navy and Sipsmith VJOP as a go-to high-proof gin. And despite the competition, it does an incredible job of it. Like most Hayman's gins, it's very floral and citrussy, with a clean sweetness that distracts you from the huge punch that this baby packs: a navy-strength gin, it's 57% proof.

"NB: Getting wasted drinking something that tastes like the most delicious lemon drizzle cake you ever had in your life is not an experience to be missed."

– Gergő Muráth, bar manager at Trailer Happiness, London

Notes: intense citrus, juniper, and orange blossom (the higher the strength, the more intense the flavour)

Perfect serve: a gimlet

8. Burleigh's Distiller's Cut

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, LeicestershireNotes: silver birch, iris, dandelion, burdock, and elderberryPerfect Serve: a Tom Collins or a Martinez
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

"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, LondonNotes: strong on juniper and liquoricePerfect serve: an old school-style gin needs a classic drink like a martini
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

Instagram: @laissezfare

Sacred gin is proof of just how versatile the distilling process is. Mr Ian Hart (the owner and distiller), makes his gin in the kitchen of his London house: a throwback to the Gin Craze of the 1700s, when everyone and their mum had a gin still running out back.

The beauty of this gin is just how many variations there are. He's come up with Christmas Pudding Gin, Pink Grapefruit Gin, and Cardamom Gin, to name but a few. The original is gorgeous too, with notes of cardamom, nutmeg, and frankincense.

If you have to pick just one though, Tony Kousoulou, bartender at East London Liquor Company, recommends going for the cardamom variation:

"This is an outstanding gin from Ian Hart's back catalogue of gins. It takes one key flavour from the original gin (cardamom) and makes it the focus. Thanks to the citrus and cardamom spice, this gin makes an amazing gimlet, last word and, weirdly enough, an espresso martini. If you like punchy flavours and homemade produce, this is the gin for you."

Notes: cardamom, nutmeg, and frankincense

Perfect serve: a gimlet, last word, or espresso martini

11. Plymouth Navy Strength

Instagram: @whiskyarchivist

"This is my favourite gin – 57% packs a punch. Makes an amazing but pretty powerful martini, and it works well in shaken drinks too. It's always my go to gin when I'm at home.

You should try it, as it's the gin that supplied the Royal Navy, and up until recently Plymouth had its own appellation of control."

– Kyle Wilkinson, bar manager at Blind Pig, London

Notes: juniper, coriander, cardamom

Perfect Serve: a Martini or a Gimlet

12. Pickering's

Instagram: @sammypatters

I've been a Pickering's fangirl for some time. The gin is ridiculously smooth (one of the few gins I can sip on its own), and has an amazing story: It's made using an original gin recipe from 1940s Mumbai, passed on to Mr Pickering. It's also the first gin to be distilled in Edinburgh in 150 years.

There are a few variations, but they recommend picking up a bottle of the 1947 edition:

"The recipe for our 1947 gin is the one ALL our gin is based on. It was last written down on 17 July 1947 in Mumbai (or Bombay as it was then called) and put away for safe keeping by the Pickering family. Our original gin uses the recipe, but tweaks the proportions slightly to tailor it more to modern tastes. But the 1947 edition follows the original recipe to the letter, offering an amazing insight into what people were drinking ~at least~ 70 years ago, if not longer."

– Paul Donegan, brand ambassador for Pickering’s Gin, Edinburgh

Notes: cardamom, coriander, clove, and cinnamon spice

Perfect serve: in a classic G&T or, for a more warming drink, substitute tonic water for ginger ale

13. Death's Door

Instagram: @petrdvoracek79

"A masterwork of new world gin. An amazing piece of stripped back simplicity, this gin used just three botanicals: juniper, coriander, and fennel. With everything in the bottle coming from the same state it's got food mile kudos too. And that hint of fennel means it makes a seriously mean Gibson."

– Robert Colin Roy Simpson, bar manager at The Clove Club, London

Notes: juniper, coriander, fennel

Perfect Serve: a Gibson

14. Conker

Instagram: @drinkfinderuk

"This is Dorset's first gin, and it uses Dorset samphire, elderberries, and gorse flowers in the botanicals. It's a very clean gin, with juniper and a slight spice on the nose. Smooth on the palate and I think the dried gorse flowers bring a hint of chamomile tea. The overall effect is very subtle and smooth, so be careful not to overpower the gin when mixing."

– David Smith, bar manager at The Anchor Inn at Seatown, Dorset

Notes: gorse flowers, samphire, and elderberries

Perfect serve: a French 75

15. Koskue

Instagram: @greenlabbxl

"There are some brilliant gins coming from Scandinavia these days, but this one really does sit at the top. It's probably my favourite aged gin, thanks to its caramel, coffee, and chocolate orange aroma.

"You could serve this with ginger ale, but it makes the best old fashioned."

– David Coveney, bar manager at Aperitivo at The Oliver Conquest, London

Notes: birch, meadowsweet, cranberry, and orange peel

Perfect serve: an old fashioned

16. Tarquin's

Instagram: @ptmynewcastle

I'm obsessed with all things floral, which is why I love Tarquin's – it's literally full of flowers, handpicked from the distiller's garden in Cornwall (where the gin is made). They only make around 300 bottles per batch, and each one is tested, sealed, and signed by Tarquin himself.

"What makes Tarquin's gin different from many others is the combination of citrus and violets. The fresh citrus gives a rich and full 'mouthfeel' (translation: It's got a great texture) and the handpicked violets we use bring a long floral finish."

– Josh Linfitt, bartender at Worship Street Whistling Shop and brand ambassador for Tarquin’s Gin, London

Notes: sweet orange, cinnamon, green cardamom, orange blossom, and violet

Perfect Serve: a Cornish martini – a martini with a few drops of Cornish pastis – or a G&T garnished with pink grapefruit zest and fresh lemon thyme

17. Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength

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, LondonNotes: juniper, citrus, and cucumberPerfect serve: a G&T garnished with lime or grapefruit
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

"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, LondonNotes: fir, pine, bay laurelPerfect serve: a Martinez
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

"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 YorkNotes: Australian bush tomato, coriander, and cinnamon myrtlePerfect serve: a red snapper
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

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, LondonNotes: pine, juniper, vanilla, cubeb pepper, and bergamotPerfect Serve: a G&T with a pinch of black pepper
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

Instagram: @emilarx

"This gin is cold compounded, which is the old-school way of making gin: You essentially take your botanicals, spirit, and throw them all into a large vessel (like a bathtub) and leave them to stew for a long-ass time until it tastes good. Bathtub only uses six botanicals, and in my opinion you can cleanly identify all six when you taste this gin – something that's missing in a lot of spirits today."

– Daniel Kaizen, bartender at Loves Company, London

Notes: juniper, orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom

Perfect serve: a G&T or a Martinez

22. Christopher Wren

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, LondonNotes: juniper-led, followed by a complex blend of coriander, angelica root, liquorice, and sweet orangePerfect serve: A rounded gin, this will go well in any classic cocktail.
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

Instagram: @minuscule_d

"I love No.3 because it's such an accessible gin. Incredibly smooth, it works really well with Peter Spanton's chocolate tonic, but it's still great just with regular tonic and a squeeze of lime. The cardamom notes on the finish really brighten the taste, which with such a powerful spice can often be difficult to control. But No.3 does it perfectly."

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

Notes: juniper, pine, citrus, and cardamom

Perfect Serve: a G&T garnished with cucumber