You’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t gin basically just flavored vodka?” Yes and no, young grasshopper.
With complex combinations of juniper berries (the necessary ingredient for gin) and other botanicals, gins are like snowflakes — each unique to the palate. Flavored gins require an even greater level of mastery in balance and more often restraint on the part of the distiller, which results in spirits you’d hardly want to dilute.
Flavored gins fall into two main categories: signature botanical or contemporary gin. The former adds a botanical post-distillation (often resulting in a hue change) while the latter just refers to the most dominant flavor on the palate.
From the spicy to the sweet, here a few flavored gins your taste buds need to experience.
Stone’s Ginger Gin
No, not the brewery. You might not be familiar with Stone’s Ginger Wine, but any Brit will tell you that winter isn’t complete without it. Stone’s Ginger Gin takes the kick of its predecessor without the sweetness of the wine. A citrusy finish rounds out the gin’s dryer approach to an old favorite.
Forest Gin Earl Grey
Speaking of iconic British drinks, Earl Grey tea is a steeping staple. Forest Gin Earl Grey amps up the earthiness of Forest’s regular gin offering. Their award-winning small-batch gin finds new life in the floral addition of Earl Grey and it’s sure to put some pep in your home bar.
Black Button Distilling Citrus Forward Gin
Though it only claims citrus in its title, make no mistake that Black Button Citrus Forward Gin is an orange gin. Bitter and sweet orange peels collide with the surprising addition of hops for a zesty result.
No. 209 Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Reserve Gin
Distillery No. 209 took their well-regarded gin and aged it in wine barrels for six months to create a disorienting gin. The caramel coloring might throw you off initially, but we swear it’s gin. Their Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Reserve Gin hits sweet, spicy, and citrusy notes akin to darker aged spirits all while remaining an unmistakable gin.
Russell Henry Malaysian Lime Gin
You could make a gimlet or you could pour yourself a glass of Russell Henry’s Malaysian Lime Gin. Made with a lime native to Malaysia, this gin’s citrusy notes have some tang to them. For bold citrus lovers, this gin is must-try.
Barr Hill Gin
It’s common sense that lifelong beekeeper Todd Hardie would want to incorporate honey when he got into the craft spirits game. Great for those who like sweet gins (or dry meads), Barr Hill Gin only uses juniper berries and raw, organic Vermont honey.
McQueen Mocha Gin
From the actor to the writer/director to the fashion designer, the McQueen name evokes creativity. The Scottish McQueen family lives up to this expectation with their striking gin flavors. McQueen Mocha Gin packs all the punch of a grapefruit-forward gin with a blend of coffee and chocolate notes. Its complex palate makes it ideal for dessert cocktails or solo sipping.