Last updated: August 29, 2021

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The gin-tonic is one of the most fashionable and recognisable drinks, nobody can deny this fact. However, this is not the only drink where gin is the centre of attention. In todays market gin lovers are in luck because they have a huge selection of this alcoholic spirit to choose from.

With such a large selection of this iconic drink, it's become really easy to be able to choose the one that best suits your preferences and your palate - there's a lot to choose from! It doesn't matter if you like to drink it dry or if you prefer your gin with some tonic, before choosing, you should know the fundamental characteristics and considerations of gin. If you want to find the best gin on the market, keep reading our guide.




Key Facts

  • Gin was traditionally manufactured in the Netherlands and England. The defining flavour of gin—no matter where in the world it’s made—is juniper berry, which traditionally comes from Europe. Dutch gin is known for being of stronger and harsher taste.
  • There are many types of gins, all of them are infused with flavours and aromas. There are those made with citrus, fruity, herbal, spicy and/or floral aromas. Keep this in mind before choosing a gin.
  • Unlike most spirits, gin is not usually drunk alone. Although the taste of this alcoholic spirit is very individual and pleasant, it's not often drank straight. Instead, its flavour is ideal to be used as a base for cocktails and blends. It lends that fresh, green, slightly resinous flavour that makes such satisfying summer cocktails.

The best selection of gin

Gin is a drink with a lot of personality, choosing the right one is complicated. Here is a selection of the best gins, which range from traditional — juniper forward — to more modern — ripe, with a variety of other expressive botanicals like frankincense and myrrh (yes, there’s a Christmas gin!). In the end it will depend on your palate and on how you plan consume it. All the products on this ranking are made locally around the entire country. We hope that in this list of products you will find the most suitable drink for you.

Purchase Criteria

Next, we'll discuss a number of issues you should consider before buying a bottle of gin. If you understand the important factors you will find it easier to make a good purchase. Do not rush, there are many gins and many brands in the market. If you want to choose a quality gin, follow these criteria:

Type of gin

Gin is a distilled alcoholic drink that derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries (Juniperus communis). Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, all of various origins, styles, and flavour profiles, that revolve around juniper as a common ingredient. Depending on who you ask, you can see that there are generally five types of gin. However Canada and the USA mainly recognise only 3 types of gin (Genever, Gin, London or Dry gin), while the European Union recognises 4 types (Juniper-flavoured spirit drinks, Gin, Distilled gin and London gin).

If we opt to classy them in 4 categories, the first are the juniper brandies, which are alcoholic beverages flavoured with juniper. The second is "Gin", made only with common juniper berries and flavoured with botanicals. Distilled gin is a beverage with distilled alcohol from 96% agricultural origin. It is distilled and flavoured during the process. The last one is the London Dry Gin, the most commercialised and consumed type of gin. It is the usual dry gin, free of colorants, sweeteners and additives. Aromatised with traditional botanical elements.

Gin and tonic in a balloon glass garnished with lemon, isolated over awhite background. Vector

The gin and tonic is a gin based cocktail which has become very popular in recent years.
(Source: Zakharau: 42019699/ 123rf.com)

Botanical classification

The taste and aroma of gin are very important factors to consider when choosing the right gin for you. In classic gins, the predominant flavour is that of juniper berry. This doesn’t have to be the only flavour though. Many gin products have citrus undertones such as orange, lemon, mandarin or grapefruit. These are fresher products, ideal for drinking alone or with ice and a piece of lemon peel or cucumber. There are also gin products with predominantly herbal undertones.

These herbal gins tend to have a wider range of products within, as there are many herbs and plants that can be added to create a distinctly unique flavour. The most common herbs used are mint, rosemary and thyme. There are also gins made with floral ingredients, although these are more rare. These products have undertones of jasmine or lily, which gives them a touch of sweet. The sweetest gins however, are the ones that are infused and made with fruits.

Presentation

One of the main differences between premium and normal gins is found in the packaging. Image and presentation is important to reputable distilleries. It is a factor that influences the price and quality of gin. Brands such as Tanqueray or Hendricks take the presentation of their products very seriously. These packages are usually eye-catching and well-designed.

And you shouldn't overlook the amount of gin in one bottle. Most often we find gin in 0.7 litre or 1 litre bottles. Some brands offer 0.75 litre presentations, although this is not the norm. Gin doesn't expire, so don't worry if you're not a big drinker. If it's left over, you can always keep it until the next time you have dinner with friends.

Beneficial properties

Gin was initially created as a medicine in the UK. It is composed of juniper and other plants, spices, flowers and fruits. It was originally used as a remedy for the flu and common colds. It is also a good disinfectant, so it can be and was used to clean wounds. Even if it doesn't seem like it, it’s disinfectant capabilities are so great that it could be used to disinfect a surgical kit.

Moreover, it has always been used as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It is an effective remedy against stomach cramps and menstrual cramps. It is also ideal for soothing toothache or to reduce inflammation of the gums. It may also be used to relieve the swelling that occurs in heavy digestion. English soldiers in India used it to fight malaria and numb pain.

Reviews

When making an online purchase you should not overlook the comments of other buyers. Many of these comments can provide detailed product information. Do not rely solely on product descriptions that sometimes do really provide any relevant information. Reviews and opinions will tell you whether or not a product is popular and often sold.

Although some opinions will be subjective, you will find others very useful. Some buyers have specialised in making relevant comments on their purchases. Read these comments carefully, as they will provide you with information, almost always superior to that of the original manufacturers’ description. Valuations can also play an important role in most decision making situations, read them.

Intended Use

Gin is a drink with a very particular and distinctive taste and aroma. Gin products are usually very dry and, although some have pleasant flavours, they are not usually made to be consumed straight. Some brands however, create gins that ideal for drinking them alone, only with a little ice and some cucumber or a slice of lemon. But it's not the usual way of drinking it, if you don't like mixed drinks, then gin is probably not right for you.

Gin is the base of many mixtures and cocktails. If you want a good gin for a night with friends, don't choose a premium product. These are very expensive and are usually better for making special cocktails. Keep in mind that the London Dry Gins are the ideal products for making mixed drinks with tonic. Many new products however, have very personal and distinct flavours, so it is not advisable to spice them up too much with added flavours.

Distillery

In the world of gin, there are some brands and distilleries that are very well known. Tanqueray or Hendricks are some of the most consumed gin brands worldwide. They both produce top quality liqueurs and have hundreds of years of experience. These distilleries use traditional recipes and their gins gins are very dry. With the rise in gins popularity, more and more distilleries are producing quality products.

The most modern distilleries seek to innovate the process and recipes. With the continued rise in popularity of the gin-tonic, newer distilleries are trying to find something that makes their product different. Pink gin from Puerto de Indias, for example, has blown up the market. These gins usually have added flavours and smells. Moreover, among some of the newer distilleries it has become popular to add colour to the gins.

Alcohol content

Gin usually goes through several distillation processes. In some cases the original product exceeds 96% of alcohol content. Agricultural alcohol is used to produce gin. This means that their production is achieved by the fermentation of vegetable grains. These gins are very fine and have a very traditional taste.

It is most common for gin to have between 37 and 47 percent of alcohol content. As you can see, gin is a product with high alcohol content. The alcohol content of the product will influence the price of gin. The higher its alcohol content, the more expensive the gin will be. Most brands contain around 40% of alcohol. This high levels of alcohol make gin the ideal spirit to mix up and enjoy thought the night.

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Summary

Gin is a very specific drink and caters to very personal tastes. Unlike other alcoholic spirits, it is very difficult to drink straight. Luckily, it's aromas and flavours make it ideal to be mixed and to be used as base in many mixed drinks and cocktails. In a gin-tonic, with lemon soda or in a Dry Martini, gin is an excellent base drink. As with any alcoholic beverage, remember to consume it with prudence and caution.

Choosing the best gin is something you have to do on your own. Follow your tastes, choose a fruit tree if you like sweet flavours or an herbal one if you want something more intense. Look at their botanical base or their price to help narrow your choices. Whether you end up choosing it for its design or for its taste - if you want the best gin on the market, just follow the recommendations and information of our guide.

(Featured image source: Soler: 19615856/ 123rf.com)

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