It was no easy task—you had to read Dave Arnold’s diatribe in The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail at least three times over to accomplish it—but you finally perfected your basic Gin & Tonic. Now, it’s time to take it up a notch by swapping out your usual London Dry for a new gin. From high-octane navy strength gin to bitter, robust pink gin, these six spirits will take your G&T to the next level of awesomeness—and quaffability.
If you’re a fan of using Plymouth for the base of your G&T, then you need to upgrade your effervescent sipper with the brand’s shockingly high-proof gin. Clocking in at a whopping 57 percent alcohol, this is the uber-Plymouth. Clean and refined on the palate (and not as juniper heavy as its London Dry counterparts), Plymouth Navy Strength Gin produces a G&T that is dry and dramatically boozy. Make sure to use a tonic that is on the drier side, with tight bubbles and a subtle bitterness like Q Tonic. It also works well with a hefty squeeze of fresh lime.
Crafted like new Western-style gins—in which juniper takes a back seat—Tanqueray No. 10 is an explosion of herbaceousness. On the palate, the spirit has an abundance of citrus, with zesty notes of coriander, a mellow earthiness (from angelica root) and a touch of black pepper heat. When used in a Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray No. 10 produces a cocktail that is a vibrant symphony of citrus (especially with a squeeze of lemon and lime). This is the G&T you want for summer sipping, when your palate needs to be refreshed and reinvigorated. Make sure to use a tonic that has a touch more sweetness, like Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic water.
Created by 86 & Co.’s Simon Ford and master distiller Charles Maxwell, this gin was designed to be ubiquitous behind the bar. Smooth and clean, with subtle flourishes of juniper and pine, bursts of lemon oil and floral aromatics, this London Dry style gin is a cocktail workhorse. Every drink that uses it as its base is better for it—especially effervescent classics like the Gin & Tonic. Mix this back-bar staple with a hyper-bitter, raw tonic syrup concentrate like Tomr’s, fresh lemon juice and a mineral-heavy seltzer water like Topo Chico.
Unlike other new gins on the market, which tend to shy away from the spicy, piney flavors of juniper, Sipsmith embraces the coniferous berry. Taking the levels of juniper to the stratosphere with a “triple juniper” technique, this gin earns its name (the acronym stands for Very Junipery Over Proof). After the initial resinous hit of juniper on the forefront, the spirit softens to reveal flavors of licorice, lime zest, cassia and cinnamon. Paired with craft tonic, Sipsmith gin creates a stellar G&T that’s crisp, dry and magnificently balanced (this also pairs well with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic water, but add a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish instead of the usual wedge of citrus).
If you’re a lover of bitter amaros and vermouths, then this is the gin to use to in your G&T. Inspired by Pink Gin, a classic cocktail concocted by sailors in the British Navy as a cure for seasickness, the Bitter Truth Pink Gin is a mix of gin and aromatic bitters. Extremely bitter and spicy, with white pepper heat and a juniper twang, it reveals complex notes of licorice, caraway and fennel. As the base of an improved G&T, this rosy-hued gin produces a subversively bitter, effervescent tipple that is especially delightful (and refreshing) with a swath of lemon peel (or grapefruit) as garnish.
Made in Sheridan, Oregon, this gin is entirely unique, whether it’s served solo or in your G&T. Created in collaboration with cocktail historian and author David Wondrich, this gin is aged up to six months in ex-wine casks. Surprisingly floral, with a malty undertone, Ransom’s Old Tom gin has the depth of a whiskey, with all the juniper-heavy flavors gin lovers expect. If you have a penchant for drinking Whiskey Sodas or are a fan of Japanese Highballs, this gin will convince you to drink more G&Ts. In the cocktail, the spirit is robust and almost nutty, with notes of orange oil, chocolate malt and cedarwood hidden in the bubbles. Although it makes for perfect sipping in colder months, this G&T variation is so deliciously lively that you might find yourself drinking it year round.