No home bar is complete without at least one bottle of gin. Even if you think all gins taste like a mix of floor polish and pine needles (they don’t), chances are at least one of your friends takes great joy in ordering a Singapore Sling or even a simple gin and tonic whenever he or she goes out. If that person also happens to be the one who brings the good snacks to poker night, then you’re probably going to want to appease them when they come over.
If you didn’t know, the great thing about the gin category is that you can find a lot of really good gins for cheap. If you can drop a Jackson, you can find a bottle that will be more than serviceable. Below, you’ll find our picks for the best gins under $20. Remember that while the price may vary depending on where in the country (or world) you are, these are generally the best buys you’re going to find at that price point.
Made in Holland in the London Dry style, Hofland gin uses eight different botanicals for its flavor and aroma: juniper, citrus, iris root, coriander, angelica root, ginger, vanilla, and licorice root. What results is a gin that works well in a gin and tonic, but not as well in citrus-forward drinks, which could take away from some of the botanicals in the gin.
Three words help Gordon’s onto this list: Bond, James Bond. Seriously, if it’s good enough for one of the world’s greatest secret agents, we’re pretty sure this London Dry Gin is good enough for you (and your Vespers). Unless you, too, are one of the world’s greatest secret agents (and if that’s the case, hit us up, we’ve got some international business we need to discuss). If you want to hear more about the spy of spies, check out our Beards, Booze, and Bacon episode of the podcast.
Technically considered a Modern Gin, when it comes to price for quality, New Amsterdam is one of our favorites. With a citrusy nose and palate, plus a little bit of sweetness, New Amsterdam holds its own against just about any other gin out there. At 40 percent ABV, you can use it in cocktails or drink it straight without convulsing every time you try to swallow.
Hailing from Spain, Tann’s Gin is a triple-infused blend of the usual gin suspects (juniper, coriander, citrus, et cetera) as well as the interesting additions of rose hips and raspberry. The nose is full of juniper and citrus and the palate is alive with those flavors as well as the more floral characteristics of the gin.
Drier and spicier than Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, this iteration also packs a bit of a piney punch. Aged for a short time and bottled at barrel proof (in this case, 51 percent ABV), you’re getting a heck of a deal for less than twenty bucks. With the higher proof, this gin shines in cocktails.
Perhaps one of the most well-known gins in the world, Tanqueray is a London Dry gin that’s been produced with the same ingredients since the 1800s. A crisp gin, you get plenty of juniper throughout a taste, in addition to the three other botanicals (coriander, angelica root, and licorice) used. An all-around gin, you can use this in anything that calls for the spirit.
Licorice and pine are the two biggest flavors that you’ll get from this Seattle-made gin. There is also a good amount of earthiness mixing with spices such as cinnamon, coriander, and more anise. Great in a martini, this gin always goes well in heavier hot punches.
A big, juniper-forward, 94 proof gin, Beefeater has been a standard behind bars for decades. Somewhat creamy, you’ll get plenty of pine and citrus on the nose and palate. You’ll also get some heat, but not in the way you’ll get from a $5 gin, where it burns from the tip of your tongue all the way down your throat.
You might not think of Texas when you think of gin, but Austin-based Treaty Oak’s Waterloo Gin is not only flavorful, but conveniently-priced to boot. Anise and jasmine are dominant flavors in this gin’s profile, which help to round out the citrus and juniper flavor and nose. Treaty Oak claims the gin is as big as Texas, and they’re not far off.
Another higher-ABV gin (also 47 percent), Broker’s is made in a 200-year-old English distillery and utilizes ten different botanicals to achieve its flavor. According to their site, Broker’s has won more awards than any other gin in the past decade and, with its dry flavor and drinkability, it’s easy to see why. Also, it’s kosher!