With an ever-growing collection of distilleries demonstrating an amazing range of unique and creative expressions for gin, there’s no doubt that many are vying to put their own twists on the spirit. But with so many options, how can imbibers choose the perfect gin?
Enlisting the help of bartenders around the world, VinePair asked experts for their tried and true brands of gin. From classic London Dry and increasingly popular juniper-light styles, to several bartenders’ prized local products, keep reading for a list of gins sure to please any palate.
The Best Gins Recommended by Bartenders
- Astral Pacific
- 18th Street Distillery
- New York Distilling’s Dorothy Parker
- Artingstall’s London Dry
- Treaty Oak Distilling’s Waterloo Antique
- Sutler’s Spirit Co.
- Death’s Door
- Bombay Sapphire East
- Beefeater 24
- G’Vine Nouaison
- Kyoto Distillery’s KI NO BI
- Tarnished Truth’s Fourth Handle
- Tanqueray 10
Keep reading for details about all the recommended bottles!
“I’m really digging two Los Angeles gins: Astral Pacific Gin from Spirit Guild and Amass Gin, both of which are made in the Arts District.” —Steve Livigni, Food and Beverage Partner, Hotel June, Los Angeles
“My go-to gin would be 18th Street Distillery Gin, made by the only Black-owned and operated distillery in the state [of Indiana]. A fine locally produced spirit that fits well in a cocktail or on its own. With its emphasis on lighter botanicals, it strays from the overwhelming pine of more traditional gins. It also has a higher alcohol content, which everyone can appreciate this year.” —Corey Ewing, Bartender, Bar One Fourteen, Indianapolis
“While the gin category is expanding dramatically — and not always with the right results, in my opinion — I do like a traditional London Dry gin in style. Sipsmith has been one of my preferred choices since it was launched in 2009. It is citrusy, with strong notes of juniper and a slight spicy finish.” —Benoit Provost, Head Bar Manager, The American Bar at The Stafford London, London
“Gin is hard to pin down, perhaps more so than any other distillate, as the wide range of ingredients makes it variously suitable for different occasions. But, I have a place in my heart for the versatile, award-winning Broker’s Gin. A micro-distilled spirit from a 200-year-old recipe, it’s prepared in copper pot stills by two brothers with a quintessential British sense of humor. Just look for the bottle wearing a little bowler hat.” —Chris Keller, Bartender, Osaka Ramen, Denver
“New York Distilling’s Dorothy Parker Gin: It’s hands down my workhorse for gin cocktails. I love the classic profile of juniper, cinnamon, and citrus; it stands out for my favorite shift drink, which is a G&T. The hibiscus and floral notes in the gin really help to soften it without getting into this potpourri flavor that I think turns some people away from gin. It also gives it a versatility that really sets it above other American gins. It’s great in anything from a Negroni, to a Gin-Gin Mule.” —Bill Brooks, Beverage Director, Torch & Crown Brewing Company, NYC
“One of my go-to gins right now is Artingstall’s London Dry Gin from director and producer Paul Feig. It’s a perfect blend of London Dry and New Western gin with a nice balance of juniper and citrus notes, making it super versatile. —Tobin Shea, Bar Director, Redbird and Vibiana, Los Angeles
“It’s tough for me to pick just one. When it comes to gin, I have different favorites for different occasions. There is a gin called Waterloo Antique by Treaty Oak Distilling in Texas. It is a barrel-rested gin that is perfectly balanced and makes a phenomenal gin Old Fashioned and unique Negroni for when I’m looking for something spirit-forward. For a non-barrel-rested gin, I am a huge Sutler’s fan, partly because I love their citrus-forward, modern style that even non-gin drinkers can get behind. Another reason is because their bottles are unique and sometimes have fun, interesting messages on the bottom. Lastly, they are a small, local North Carolina company. I’ve met the owner on several occasions, and he’s a great guy!” —Ashley Brown, Assistant General Manager, Dot Dot Dot, Charlotte, N.C.
“As a relative newcomer to gin but a lover of rhum agricole, I’ve been enjoying Death’s Door recently. Made in Wisconsin, it tends toward more savory, earthy notes at the end and citrus throughout. Its versatility works in a lot of favorite gin cocktails and Highballs. I especially like it in a Gimlet or with seltzer and grapefruit juice.” —Shannon Grant, Bartender, Lost Lake, Chicago
“[My] go-to gin is going to be Bombay Sapphire East. This gin is amazing for mixing and sipping! The juniper takes kind of a backseat to the lemongrass, black pepper, and coriander, which makes for a great Martini or just on a couple rocks. I have to mention Beefeater 24 as well. Chinese and Japanese teas are among the 12 botanicals used, and that makes for amazing cocktails — especially a Last Word!” —Allen Parker, Bartender, Good Word Brewing, Duluth, Ga.
“My current favorite go-to gin for Gigi’s is G’Vine Nouaison. It is a French gin distilled from grapes, giving it a much softer mouthfeel considering it is slightly over-proof. The botanicals are all individually macerated and distilled, allowing for a really incredible progression of flavors, from grape, to citrus, to spice, to wood as the gin makes its way through the palate. I love pairing this gin with vermouths and other wine-based aperitifs in cocktails, and would recommend drinking this gin neat or on the rocks as well.” —Courtney Rose, Bar Director, Gigi’s, Los Angeles
“My fave gin is Kyoto Distillery’s KI NO BI. I like the Japanese botanicals, which are a little more subtle and nuanced and not as juniper-heavy. This gin features yuzu, ginger, and Japanese peppercorn instead.” —Emmanuelle Massicot, Assistant General Manager, Kata Robata, Houston
“I have recently been introduced to an amazing local product: the Fourth Handle Gin from Tarnished Truth. This has quickly become my go-to gin. The complex blend of a classic London Dry-style gin, with a nod to the more citrus-forward American-style gin, makes this product perfect for a refreshing Spanish G&T, as well as any gin-based cocktail you’d like to put a fun spin on. The nose is robustly floral, with the familiar notes of juniper playing nicely with notes of rose hip. The gin by itself has a very approachable, rich, creamy mouthfeel that is elevated by the more dialed-back taste of juniper. Rose, grapefruit, cucumber, and black pepper all round out these engaging flavors for something unique and distinctly Virginia Beach.” —Paul Gonzalez, Head Bartender, Tin Cup Kitchen and Oyster Bar, Delta Hotels by Marriott Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites, Virginia Beach, Va.
“For sure Beefeater. This is one of the absolute most authentic, classic expressions of London Dry that exists on the market. Beefeater is also much more affordable than other gins in the same category and is crazy versatile. Its botanicals are robust enough to stand up next to the lemon and honey in a Bees Knees, and is delicate enough to sip in a classic Martini.” —Drew Johnson, Head Bartender, The Musket Room, NYC
“I have to go local on this one and say Bluecoat Gin. It’s very citrus-forward on the nose, with [a] lovely spicy and earthy taste. Definitely my favorite for a G&T.” —Damian Langarica, Head Bartender, a.bar, Philadelphia
“Right now, my go-to gin is Askur. The Nordic-[inspired] gin is very versatile [for] mixing in any cocktail because of the six different botanicals that make it easy to pair with many flavors. It’s not dominated by juniper, so it gives the other botanicals more dominance in creating a creative cocktail.” —Hanna Stickler, Bartender/Events Manager, ll Posto, Denver
“If I had to pick one — a desert-island gin — it would be Tanqueray 10. It’s the perfect balance of strong juniper presence that London Dry drinkers enjoy, and nuance from citrus and chamomile. While I certainly love a dry or bianco vermouth and some bitters in my Martini, Tanqueray 10 is almost a complete Martini in the bottle. It also works great in a Gin and Tonic and shaken cocktails. The total package, in my opinion: versatile, elegant, and still packs a punch.” —Charles Joly, World-Champion Mixologist & Co-Founder, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago
Published: January 29, 2021