9 Popular Brands of Gin You Need to Taste

  • 01 of 09

    There Are Many Gin in the World, Only a Few Rank at the Top

    Pouring a Gin & Tonic at the Bar
    Every bartender can make a Gin & Tonic and it is the perfect mixed drink for many of our favorite brands of gin. pjohnson1/E+/Getty Images

    Gin is an interesting category of liquor and it is growing more diverse with every passing year. Yet, there are a number of brands of gin that have become our tried and true favorites. These are the bottles that we can rely on for a great Gin & Tonic and can be found almost anywhere.

    While brands like Beefeater and Tanqueray are at the top of our list for a good London dry gin, we cannot forget about other popular bottles. Among those are the classic styles of gin like Bols Genever and...MORE Hayman's Old Tom Gin, as well as new stars on the liquor shelf like Aviation and Hendrick's.

    The Diversity of Gin

    The aspect we can enjoy most about gin is its diversity. Unlike vodka, each bottle of gin truly is unique. The majority feature that pine flavor that comes from juniper, which is gin's signature ingredient, yet no two bottles have the same combination of botanicals. 

    This array of flavors is what keeps many gin lovers coming back. It also keeps us from getting bored. If you have found yourself in a Martini rut, simply pour from a different bottle of gin and your drink is transformed!

    The newer styles that don't have the juniper-forward flavor are commonly referred to as 'New Western Dry Gin' and these have a broader appeal. For drinkers who do not enjoy gin's piney characteristics, the likes of Hendrick's can open up a new world of cocktails.

    Let's take a look at some of the top bottles of gin available today...

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  • 02 of 09

    Beefeater London Dry Gin

    Beefeater London Dry Gin
    One of the icons of the liquor shelf, Beefeater is a top-shelf gin of choice for many martini drinkers. Photo Courtesy: © Beefeater Gin

    The gin that you can always count on.

    Beefeater is one of the biggest names in the gin business and it has not lost any of its appeal. This is a gin that you can find in any liquor store or bar and trust to make a good gin cocktail, no matter what you mix it with.

    You will find that Beefeater has that classic London dry gin flavor. It is juniper-forward and has a nice balance of botanicals in the background. It also comes at a decent price of right around $20, so you can afford to keep it in...MORE stock.

    More Gin From Beefeater

    If you enjoy the standard bottle of Beefeater, keep an eye out for the brand's special bottlings. Beefeater 24 is a regular offering that is a nice upgrade and they often come out with limited editions.

    The Summer Edition from 2010 was amazing and, in 2016, you can find the lovely London Garden on your trip to London. Beefeater Burroughs Reserve Gin is one of the brand's more recent ultra-premium gins and it's worth checking out as well.

    Enjoy Beefeater in These Cocktails

    About Beefeater Gin

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  • 03 of 09

    Tanqueray London Dry Gin

    The iconic seal of Tanqueray London Dry Gin
    One of the best known gins in the world, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is a gin you can trust and find anywhere. Photo Courtesy: Shannon Graham

    Look for the green bottle when you want a great drink.

    There is a beautiful gin inside this distinct green bottle with its red wax seal. Tanqueray's crisp, dry style is the benchmark for London dry gin without any citrus in the botanicals. It is a standard to which all other gins are compared and contrasted.

    Tanqueray London Dry Gin is bottled at a slightly higher strength than most gin (43.1-47.3% depending on the market) and this makes the flavor profile beautifully bold. You can mix this gin...MORE into any cocktail and it won't get lost. It is the perfect choice for mixing a balanced drink.

    More Gin From Tanqueray

    Once you discover the joy of Tanqueray, be sure to check out the brand's other offerings. Tanqueray No. 10 is another icon of the bar that is at a higher proof as well but this one has a lighter mix of botanicals.

    If you like really light gin, give Tanqueray Rangpur a try because you will love the Rangpur lime added to it. And, if you ever come across it again, pick up a bottle of Tanqueray Malacca or their version of an Old Tom gin. Both of these sweeter gins are ideal for classic cocktails.

    Enjoy Tanqueray in These Cocktails

    About Tanqueray Gin

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  • 04 of 09

    Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

    Pouring Bombay Sapphire Gin over ice for a Gin & Tonic.
    Bombay Sapphire is the perfect gin for making a high-end Gin & Tonic. frytka / E+ / Getty Images

    The ultimate gin for a superb Gin & Tonic.

    I typically gauge a gin by how well it does in a Gin & Tonic. It's a test drink that works for both budget and premium gins and of all the brands I've tried in the drink, Bombay Sapphire remains a personal favorite.

    If you look at the list of botanicals in Bombay Sapphire you will notice a few differences from other London dry gins. Grains of paradise, almond and cubeb berries are not your average gin ingredients and those help this bottle...MORE stand apart from the crowd.

    It will work equally well in your dry Martinis and your fruity Gimlets or Floradoras. If you want a great gin cocktail, try Bombay Sapphire.

    More Gin From Bombay

    Bombay produces two other gins which are not as well-known, but equally good bottles of gin. Bombay Sapphire East adds lemongrass and black pepper to the mix for an interesting twist. Bombay Dry Gin is crisp, clean and has just eight botanicals, otherwise, it is very similar to Sapphire.

    Enjoy Bombay Sapphire in These Cocktails

    About Bombay Sapphire Gin

    • London dry gin vapor infused with juniper, almond, grains of paradise, lemon peel, liquorice, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia bark, cubeb berries.
    • Distilled in Chesire, England
    • Launched in 1987, based on 1761 recipe.
    • Imported by Bombay Spirits Company
    • Distributed by Bacardi Limited
    • 47% alcohol/volume (94 proof)
    • Retails for around $22/750ml bottle
    • Visit Their Website
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  • 05 of 09

    Martin Miller's London Dry Gin

    Martin Miller's Gin - Premium London Dry Gin
    There are many things that make Martin Miller's a great gin and it can easily become your new premium brand for Martinis and other fine cocktails. Photo Courtesy: © Martin Miller's Gin

    Your martini will thank you for using this gin.

    If you are seeking a London dry gin that makes a magnificent Martini, look no further than Martin Miller's Gin. It is one of the newer names in this tight market, yet in the almost two decades since its launch, it has quickly risen to the ranks of the best gins available.

    Martin Miller's is a modern take on traditional gin. It has that wonderful juniper dominance we look for in a London dry and it is perfectly balanced, crisp, clean and...MORE simply an extravagant gin.

    The price isn't half bad either. It is competitive with other premium gins without going over the top to make it unattainable by the masses. This is a gin that you will want to save for your gin martinis and relish every sip as you enjoy a quality cocktail.

    More Gin From Martin Miller's

    Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength will be the next step in your exploration of this brand. This bottle is a little stronger at 45% ABV, which makes it another fantastic option for any gin cocktail you want to pour it in. You will not lose any of that signature gin flavor with this option!

    Enjoy Martin Miller's Gin in These Cocktails

    About Martin Miller's Gin

    • Double-distilled English gin produced in a two-stage distillate: juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice root, cassia bark, Florentine Iris, lime peel in the first distillation. Bitter orange peel, lemon peel, and lime peel in the second. Finished with Icelandic glacial water.
    • Produced by Martin Miller's Gin in England's Black Country
    • Launched in 1999
    • 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof)
    • Retails for around $28/750mL bottle
    • Visit Their Website
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  • 06 of 09

    Aviation American Gin

    Easy and Fresh Watermelon Cucumber Cooler Aviation Gin Cocktail Recipe
    Cool, refreshing, and straight from the garden, Aviation Gin's Watermelon Cucumber Cooler is a perfect summer cocktail. Photo Courtesy: © Aviation Gin

    A pinnacle of New Western Dry Gin.

    Aviation American Gin was one of the first brands to launch that made us rethink what gin can be. It was at the forefront of the movement for gins with a softer juniper profile that are often handcrafted in small batches.

    This gin revolution has brought the spirit's appeal to a wider audience of drinkers. The style quickly became known as New Western Dry Gin.

    The lovely part about Aviation is that it is so lovely. When you crack the bottle, you are greeted...MORE with a floral bouquet dominated by lavender and backed up by a subtle spice. The juniper and citrus characteristic of gin is apparent but appear more as background elements in the taste. 

    Aviation's choice of a rye base gives this gin a creamier mouthfeel than most gins. It is a gin that you can enjoy chilled on its own (great news for super dry Martini fans).

    The cocktail potential of Aviation is endless and I have yet to find a recipe that it doesn't work in. Try it in a Tom Collins or any classic drink, including its namesake. Mix it into modern cocktails with that culinary flare. Anyway you choose to use it, Aviation does not disappoint.

    Enjoy Aviation Gin in These Cocktails

    About Aviation Gin

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  • 07 of 09

    Hendrick's Gin

    Hendrick's Gin and an Old Sydney Town Punch
    Don't let the cucumber and rose profile fool you, Hendrick's works well in a variety of cocktails, including this Hot Gin Punch. Photo Courtesy: Hendrick's Gin

    Who put cucumber in my gin?

    Hendrick's is a completely different gin experience than every other bottle you can find. In fact, this bottle of gin made the bartending community rethink what gin is. Along with Aviation, it helped define modern gin.

    Many aspects of Hendrick's Gin make it unique and special. It is produced in Scotland and uses two stills from which two batches of gin are married. Yet, it is the final step, an infusion of rose petal and cucumber, that have come to define this...MORE gin.

    If you hear someone talk about "that cucumber gin," they are talking about Hendrick's.

    The result of Hendrick's unique process is a refreshing gin that can easily stand on its own and is fantastic in new cocktail recipes. As you can see from the list below, Hendrick's is the gin you will want when mixing drinks with fresh ingredients and it pairs well with almost any flavor.

    Hendrick's will be the gin used to introduce vodka drinkers to this category. It is a light-flavored initiation because the juniper is far in the background. I recommend your first Hendrick's drink be a simple Gin & Tonic garnished with (what else?) a cucumber slice.

    Enjoy Hendrick's Gin in These Cocktails

    About Hendrick's Gin

    • Small batch gin distilled from two spirits in two different copper stills. Flavored with juniper, angelica root, caraway, chamomile, coriander, cubeb berry, elderflower, lemon, orange peel, orris root and yarrow. Infused with cucumber and rose petal before bottling.
    • Produced at the Girvan Distillery in Girvan, Scotland.
    • Imported by William Grant & Sons, Inc.
    • Launched in 2001.
    • 44% alcohol/volume (88 proof)
    • Retails for around $38/750mL bottle
    • Visit Their Website
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  • 08 of 09

    Bols Genever

    Bols Genever and the Old Sydney Town Punch
    The sweet taste of an old Dutch gin comes to life in Bols Genever and it can be used to make some fantastic cocktails. Photo Courtesy: Lucas Bols

    Taste a revival of the oldest gin.

    We've looked at modern gin, now it's time to go old-school and get a taste of two gin brands that have revived the oldest gin recipes in the world. We begin with the oldest of the two, genever.

    Sometimes called Dutch gin or Holland gin, genever is a sweetened style of gin that originated in the Netherlands. Today, it is only distilled there and in a few areas within that part of Europe. The biggest name in genever is Bols and it is one of the few brands...MORE that is available worldwide.

    If you have yet to taste genever, believe me when I say that it is unlike any other gin you've had. It is as if a soft Scotch whisky were married with gin and Bols' malty feel is a perfect example. It has a wonderful balance of sweet malt and subdued juniper and citrus.

    Bols Genever is fun to play with in cocktails, especially the classics. Its hybrid feel gives each drink a new spin and one of the first drinks I recommend with it is the classic Gin Daisy. You can even use it as a substitute in many whiskey cocktails.

    Bols Genever Cocktails

    About Bols Genever

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  • 09 of 09

    Hayman's Old Tom Gin

    Hayman's Old Tom Gin
    Hayman's is one of the brands that is reviving the classic taste of Old Tom Gin. Photo Courtesy: Hayman's

    Enjoy gin's softer side with this old gin.

    The story of Old Tom Gin is complicated and it dates back to the 1700's when almost any English gin was called 'Old Tom.' Like genever, this old style of gin was sweetened to mask the impurities created by the distillation process of the day. It is significantly softer than the London dry gins that eventually took over the market.

    Hayman's Old Tom Gin is one of the best examples of this old world style of gin. It is based on a family...MORE recipe from the 1870's. You will find it to be very aromatic and filled with rich flavors and it is a true delight for any gin lover.

    Old Tom Gin was the gin of the Victorian period and it was the gin of choice for the first bartenders. Jerry Thomas calls for this style in almost every cocktail recipe that doesn't use 'Holland Gin' (genever). His contemporaries considered Old Tom an essential in the bar.

    That said, you need to experience Hayman's Old Tom Gin in every classic cocktail that calls for gin. Even if you have had Martini a million times, switching to Old Tom is a new experience. 

    More Gin From Hayman's

    Hayman's produces a variety of gin styles and liqueurs, all of which use the same botanical mix in various strengths. You may be surprised by the brand's London dry gin as well as Hayman's Family Reserve. Royal Dock is the brand's navy strength gin and sloe gin fans will be delighted to know that Hayman's version of the liqueur is one of the best.

    Enjoy Hayman's Old Tom Gin in These Cocktails

    About Hayman's Old Tom Gin