When you order gin, it usually comes with an addendum of tonic, vermouth or another flavor-modifying mixer. Unlike whiskey, rum or even tequila, gin isn’t typically meant to be sipped stripped down—its flavor is often too abrasive on its own, thanks to a generous helping of juniper. But there are exceptions to every rule.
Some gins manage to tame pine-like juniper with citrus, baking spices and other botanicals, creating a rounder, more subdued or complex flavor. Though we’re not saying you’ll want to forego tonic and citrus all the time, it’s worth seeking out gins that are balanced enough to be sipped on their own. Here, five of the tastiest gins on the market—with or without a mixer.