Take your palate on a refreshing global adventure with these expert-approved gins from around the world.
Gin has a long, rich history that goes back centuries and winds through the Golden Age of Cocktails, where it figured prominently in such classic creations as the Martini, the Rickey, and the Tom Collins. But gin is no vestige of a bygone era—in fact, the spirit is having a bit of a moment right now in 2021. As the fastest growing white spirits category in the world, drinkers are discovering (or re-discovering) the botanical magic of gin both as a base for compelling cocktails as well as on its own.
And while gin’s simplicity is often one of its principal selling points, distilleries around the world are pushing the spirit forward with unprecedented innovation, meaning there’s a wider variety of captivating, challenging, and ultimately refreshing gins out there for you to sip than ever before. So with an estimated 6,000 different gin brands coming from over 68 countries, selecting the right gin can sometimes feel overwhelming.
That’s why we consulted with experts like Brendan Bartley, head bartender and beverage director at Bathtub Gin in New York City, and John McCarthy, author of Be Your Own Bartender, to get their top picks for gins you should add to your bar cart or liquor cabinet at home.
“The thing I personally look for now are gins that are showcasing the native flora and fauna of where it’s from,” says Bartley. “It’s a good opportunity to display unique terroir qualities and botanicals. While most spirits have to stick to strict base ingredients when distilling, gin gets to be playful with what it wants to use.”
From more popular brands to up-and-coming small distilleries, here are the 26 best gins you can buy:
Black Button Citrus Forward Gin
Rochester’s first grain-to-glass distillery since Prohibition is the maker of several fine gins, but this spirit stands out for its accessibility. It’s a great gin for people who think they hate gin: citrus overtones help balance out the piney flavors and a smooth finish makes it highly sippable. While many gins evoke springtime, this one encapsulates a hot summer day, best enjoyed with a little pebbled ice and a twist of orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit.