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The Best American Gin

The Manual Spirit Awards recognize the best craft liquors distilled in the U.S. We blind-tasted bottles from around the country in eight categories — Bourbon, Single Malt Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Unaged Rum, Aged Rum, and Liqueur — to determine our champions. Each of the winners was judged on aroma, palate, and finish. Cheers to your next drink and to American craft spirits.

Best Gin

Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin

New York City, New York

The Manual Spirit Awards 2019 Best Gin
Image used with permission by copyright holder

To make gin, it is absolutely necessary to use juniper. In addition, other aromatics can be (and almost always are) featured, but without juniper, the liquor cannot be considered gin. The base spirit can vary, as can the method by which the herbs and botanicals are infused. Gin also cannot be bottled at less than 80 proof. There are various types of gin, including dry gin, Holland gin, Old Tom gin, and (New) American gin, and more, as distilleries continue to innovate.

Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin is the flagship product from Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Greenhook Ginsmiths and the winner of the Gin category in The Manual Spirit Awards 2019. It has a wheat base, to which 10 total botanicals are added. Other than juniper, Greenhook uses cinnamon, galangal, elderberry, coriander, elderflower, chamomile, lemon peel, sweet orange peel, and orris root.

Thanks to the botanical bouquet and the distillation method, Greenhook’s American Dry Gin is, if it had to be reduced to one word, vibrant. If we had three words, it’s “really freaking vibrant.” From the first sip to last, you know for sure that this is a gin that’s been lovingly made to ensure that each of the botanicals gets some play in the nose or on the palate. While we have it in a cocktail below, we were impressed with how well the flavors came out while sipping or with the addition of a little bit of soda and lime.

Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin is 47% alcohol by volume and only available in New York.

About the Distillery

Conceived in 2010, Greenhook Ginsmiths is the passion-project-turned-very-real-business of two brothers, Steven and Philip DeAngelo. Skip ahead two years and Greenhook Ginsmiths was born. One of the ways Greenhook stands out from the crowd is the distillation process – the copper pot still was created to work under a vacuum, which allows the team to distill at a significantly lower temperature than your run-of-the-mill pot still. What that means is that the botanicals are altered less, leading to brighter flavors and aromas. Greenhook also makes Beach Plum Gin Liqueur, Old Tom Gin, and a ready-to-drink canned gin and tonic.

best gin greenhook ginsmiths gin bees knees cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tasting Notes

Nose Juniper, upfront and throughout. The nose has nice layers of fresh and fruity, with the chamomile coming through and blending with the sweet orange and lemon peels for a nice soft yet vibrant nose.
Palate Bright citrus notes mingle with the juniper. There’s an undercurrent of the spices, particularly the coriander and orris root.
Finish Crisp and fresh, with another blast of the botanical load across the gums and tongue.

How to Enjoy It in a Cocktail

The bee’s knees is a cocktail that dates back to the Prohibition Era and was meant, originally, to hide bathtub gin (many cocktails of the time were invented as a means to overpower really terrible spirits). The mix of citrus and sweetness go well with gin, and for those who say they “don’t like gin,” this drink is a great introduction, though we’re of the mindset that gin is great and we’re always happy to dive in.

Bee’s Knees

Glass: Coupe

Tools: Shaker

  •  2 oz Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz honey syrup
  • Lemon peel, for garnish

Method: Add ingredients and ice to shaker. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Best Gin Runners-Up

Waterloo No.9 Gin

Treaty Oak Distilling – Dripping Springs, Texas

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Waterlooo is “New Western Style” dry gin with hints of lavender and slight pecan notes, as well as other locally harvested botanicals.

Guild Gin in partnership with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Watershed Distillery – Columbus, Ohio

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Guild Gin is a chamomile-infused spirit that is highly floral with tea notes through the palate and finish.


Written by Sam Slaughter

Copy editing by Nicole Raney and Jeremy Abrams

Photography by  Riley Young and Dan Baker

Video by Riley Young

Art direction and page layout by Genevieve Poblano

Creative team: Will Hawkins and Chris Raymond

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
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