Attention, self-proclaimed gin lovers: These bottles are going to blow your mind. While they might be a little higher in price than your average London Dry, these gins take the piney, juniper flavor that you love to another level. Here, six top-shelf gin brands that are actually worth the price.
Produced at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery in Warwick, New York, this small batch gin is made from 100-percent corn and distilled on a copper pot still from Christian Carl—a German company that produces some of the highest quality custom stills on the planet (they’re essentially the Porsche of stills). With fresh, hand peeled citrus included in the infusion, this gin is extra bright and lively with notes of lavender, jasmine, juniper berry, tangerine and lemon. As vivacious as this gin is on its own, it is even brighter and more refreshing when paired with fresh citrus juice in a cocktail like the French 75.
One of the boldest gins on the market, Monkey 47 is named for the 47 different botanicals used to flavor the spirit (it is also bottled at 47 percent alcohol). This unique gin is produced in the Black Forest in Germany and flavored with local herbs, local juniper and cranberries. In the glass, it smells like a forest and has an almost woodsy flavor as well. Robust and layered, there are notes of black pepper, wet earth, wildflowers, cassis, tart fresh cranberries and blackberry leaf. The finish is dry and piney with a big kick of juniper. This gin is unlike any other we’ve tasted, and certainly good enough to drink straight if it’s chilled.
Made from a blend of rye, corn and wheat, this Dutch genever is based on a 19th century recipe. After being infused with botanicals—such as anise, juniper, hops and cloves—the spirit is aged for 18 months in French Limousin oak casks. A pale golden color, it has notes of apricots, vanilla, malt, licorice and oak. As rich as a younger bourbon with the flavors of a gin, this is a full-bodied sipper that is excellent at the base of heavier stirred cocktails like the Negroni.
This much lauded gin is a collaboration between lifelong beekeeper Todd Hardie and distiller Ryan Christensen. Produced in Hardwick, Vermont, the gin is distilled from corn and uses only juniper and Hardie’s honey to flavor the spirit. It’s aged for three to four months in new American oak barrels before being bottled. Beautifully floral and incredibly complex, this gin has notes of vanilla, wildflower honey and tangerines. Only on the finish do you taste the juniper, and the spirit leaves a lasting, velvety sweetness in your mouth.
Based on a recipe originally created by Firmin Filliers—the third generation master distiller at the Filliers Distillery in Belgium—this gin’s signature botanical is Belgian hops. It’s made in small batches and infused with 28 different botanicals (hence the name), including the Belgian hops, angelica root, orange and allspice. Creamy and tannic, it has bright citrus undertones and notes of cardamom, candied orange, vanilla and IPA. This gin is especially delicious in a Martini with an herbaceous vermouth (we like Vermouth Routin) and either a grapefruit twist, or a few dashes of Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters.
This limited, small batch gin was created by Desmond Payne, Beefeater’s master distiller, as an homage to the company’s original founder, James Burrough. Most interesting is the fact that the gin is produced on the original still that was installed in the distillery in the late 19th century by Burrough himself. After distillation, the resulting spirit is aged in both red and white Bordeaux casks before being bottled. Rich, complex and decadent, this gin is one to savor. There are notes of almonds, dried apricots, juniper, licorice, wildflowers and wet stone. As the spirit sits on your palate it continues to open up and reveal more and more layers of flavor. Drink this gin with a cube of ice or in a bone dry Martini with caviar, cured meats or English cheeses.