There are plenty of great gin brands that any dedicated Gin and Tonic or Martini drinker can rattle off at a moment’s notice. Hendrick’s, Plymouth, Tanqueray—it’s like a gin lover’s ABCs. While these popular gins are solid standbys, it’s important not to get tunnel vision. Beyond those faithful few is a world of awesome gins from far flung locations, made with a bevy of unheard of botanicals. Direct your gaze to these underrated (but available) gins to give your bar the juniper kick it needs.
If you like plenty of fruit and spice in your gin, Germany’s Monkey 47 is a good place to start. Made in the country’s southerly Black Forest, it’s been in the U.S. since 2014 and is slowly but surely winning drinkers over. Bottled at 47 percent ABV and made with 47 different botanicals—including spruce, coriander, jasmine and cloves—the resulting gin is rich and fresh.
Islay is known for its intense, peat-infused whiskies, but that’s not the only spirit the famed region is producing. The Botanist is the only gin produced on Islay, and is made with 22 locally sourced botanicals, including apple mint, creeping thistle and tansy. While the super mixable gin is one of the more popular Scottish gins on the market, it’s still woefully absent from bars.
Though it might be unfair to call this Aussie gin underrated as it just launched in the U.S., it’s certainly one to keep an eye out for the next time you visit a liquor store. The brand’s Navy Strength bottling, in particular, is remarkably mellow and well-rounded for its 58.8 percent ABV. Like The Botanist, Four Pillars takes advantage of its native bounty, using Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle, and ending up with a complex spirit that’s leagues away from your typical London Dry.
South American gins are few and far between in the States, but this Argentinian bottling is worth seeking out. Its interesting flavor comes from a blend of eucalyptus, pink grapefruit and peppermint, as well as yerba mate, a potent tea native to Argentina. Mix it in a Martini to showcase the gin’s impressive complexity, or see how its botanicals hold up in a Gin and Tonic garnished with a grapefruit slice.
Based in Northern California, Spirit Works Distillery is known for its quirky “grain to glass” methodology. Distiller Ashby Marshall creates a neutral base distilled from local red wheat, then flavors it with citrus peel, hibiscus and angelica and orris roots. The gin has a full flavor with mild floral and brisk lemon zest notes, making it an ideal candidate for a Bee’s Knees.
Spain is home to some of the most fanatical Gin and Tonic drinkers in the world, so it’s no wonder this Spanish gin is such a great fit for cocktails. Produced along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, the gin relies heavily on herbs for flavor, including thyme and basil—it also may be one of the only gins that gets a hint of salinity from a most unusual ingredient, the arbequina olive. We feel a Red Snapper coming on.
Like other popular London Dry gins, Broker’s is juniper forward and, well, dry, so if you like traditional gins, you’ll probably enjoy mixing this one in your cocktails. While it does have a very familiar flavor, its use of spices and other botanicals sets it apart. Nutmeg and cinnamon give it depth, while barks, licorice and citrus peel give it a fresh and spicy kick.