If you’re not a fan of herbal gins or ones with too much piney, juniper flavor, good news: Cheap gins may be your new favorite spirit. After scouring the bottom shelf for the best gins under 10 dollars, we discovered that the most drinkable bottles were all light, citrusy, and minimal—much like the best cheap vodkas. Keep these bargain gins on your radar. They all make exceptional mixers, and won’t hurt your wallet.
Crystal Palace Gin ($7)
If you like your gin to be crisp, minimal and citrusy, this is the spirit for you. Produced by Barton Distilling Co.—which oddly enough also produces Fireball and Kentucky Gentleman bourbon—Crystal Palace gin is made from 100-percent neutral grain spirits. While it doesn’t have much herbaceous depth or that piney juniper bite that most gins have, the spirit does have an abundance of lemon oil and a silky texture. We recommend using this spirit in gin-based punches or citrusy cocktails like the Gimlet or the Bee’s Knees.
Georgi Gin ($8)
Fans of Georgi Vodka take note: The brand also produces a gin. Produced by Star Industries in Sunnyside, Queens, this London Dry style gin is made from neutral spirits distilled from grains. More vodka-esque than other gins on this list, Georgi Gin will please people that aren’t too keen on juniper. We like to pair it with tonic and a squeeze of lime for a light take on the G&T.
Laird’s London Dry Gin ($7)
Produced by New Jersey’s oldest family distillery—best known for the apple brandy it has been making since 1780—this gin is extra dry. Distilled from grain and bottled at the standard 80 proof, Laird’s Gin is light and subtly herbal with a sharp finish. While it would definitely work in punches or citrus-based gin cocktails, we prefer to use its streamlined flavor for 50/50 Martinis, which benefit from that touch of boozy bite.
Fleischmann's Gin Extra Dry ($7)
Another gin from the Barton Brands portfolio, Fleischmann’s Gin declares itself as “America’s first gin.” While this is debatable, the spirit is definitely the most complex of the bunch. There’s not only an abundance of citrus on the palate, but there are also notes of juniper, celery and cardamom. This gin is exceptional in Highballs—either with seltzer or tonic as the topper—and shouldn’t be hidden with juices or citrus.