Gin is a mixing drink, but that doesn’t mean that quality doesn’t matter.
The spirit, which derives its flavour (and its name) from juniper berries, is an essential component in a ton of cocktails, so you still want to be sure you’re going for the good stuff.
We consulted our friends at FindTheBest, who update their gin rankings regularly based on reviews from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the Beverage Tasting Experience, as well as awards from the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Here’s their latest list — and they all happen to be $US40 or less.
10. ARIA Portland Dry Gin ($US24)
Dry gins are so-named because virtually no sugar is added. The Aria Portland Dry Gin comes from American Samoa and is best mixed in a martini or jasmine cocktail. It has a silky, fruity body and smells of spices and pine blossoms.
9. Ransom Old Tom Gin ($US38)
Ransom Old Tom is a genevere gin, a type of spirit that originated Netherlands or Belgium, although this particular genevere comes from the US. It’s best mixed in a gimlet or martini.
8. Sloane’s Premium Dry Gin ($US40)
This smooth dry gin comes from the Netherlands. It balances strong juniper flavours with a subtle sweet finish. Try it in a Tom Collins.
7. Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin ($US36)
The Rehorst is practically a whole herb garden in a bottle; it contains aniseed, basil, cardamom, cassia, coriander seed, juniper, and lemon and orange peel. The sweet basil ingredient is especially unique; it adds an extra dash of floral flavoring to the gin.
6. Voyager Small-Batch Dry Gin ($US30)
Though Voyager is a London Dry style gin, it’s hand-crafted in the US. Made from grain spirits and organic herbs and spices, it’s artisan distilled in the 19th century style.
5. Whitney Neill 96 Proof Gin ($US39)
The Africa-inspired Whitley Neill features two African botanicals (and a baobab tree on the label). It’s made in the UK and has bold, warm flavours.
4. Monopolowa Vienna Dry Gin ($US16)
The Monopolowa is a London Dry but it comes from Vienna, Austria, and it’s triple distilled and especially smooth.
3. New Amsterdam Gin ($US14)
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality gin: the New Amsterdam is one of the more affordable bottles on this list, but it’s a three-time Gold/Double Gold winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s a modern gin that comes from the U.S. and it has subtle citric flavours and a silky finish.
2. Martin Miller’s Gin ($US33)
Miller’s calls this “one of the most aromatic and least junipery gins.” It smells, instead, of cucumber, white, pepper, and lemon zest, and even contains a bit of nutmeg and liquorice. Try it in a Martinez cocktail.
1. Tanqueray No. 10 Gin ($US30)
Tanquery 10 is a classic. It’s the only gin out there made from handpicked fresh fruit, including grapefruits, oranges, and limes. It’s won fully six Double Golds from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and it’s not going to break the bank either. You cannot go wrong.