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The 9 Finest Gins for Sipping and Mixing

Gin is nothing short of amazing. The crystal clear spirit may look like water, but it’s packed so densely with aromatics and flavors you feel like you could cut the stuff with a knife. But it’s a liquid, so don’t waste your time.

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Why champion gin? Well, it’s a heavy lifter in the cocktail realm, serving as the core of countless classic cocktails. It can be infused with all kinds of things and the best of the bunch are even delicious on their own. Plus, it possesses a partnership with tonic water that’s not just refreshing and popular in the States, but all over the planet. Gin is, without being hyperbolic, a true superhero.

You should have no fewer than several good gin options at home. As you look to stock up or restock, here are some of the best gins out there.

Best Mixer: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

The Botanist
The Botanist

This Scottish gin is nimble and dry, a great gin mixer whether you’re making a maximalist cocktail or just throwing some tonic in the mix. It’s a little oily on the palate (in a good way) with layers of flavors ranging from citrus peel and sweet spices to juniper and chamomile.

Read more: Classic Gin Cocktail Recipes

Most Approachable: Aviation Gin

Aviation Gin

For those who claim to dislike gin, give Aviation a try. Chances are good that it will make a believer out of even the loudest naysayers. It’s balanced and clean, with lovely flavors like cardamom, sweet mandarin orange, and lavender. We even like it as a sipper, straight out of the freezer.

Read more: Best Cheap Gins

Best Flavored: Still Austin ‘The Naturalist’

Still Austin The Naturalist Gin
Still Austin Whiskey Co.

This flavored gin from Texas boasts an herbaceous nose with a touch of elderflower. In terms of flavor, it’s robust, with a rye whiskey-like spice component and some nice juniper influence. It’s especially good in a Tom Collins.

Best Honeyed: Barr Hill

Barr Hill Gin
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Produced in Vermont with a touch of wild honey, this gin reaps award after award upon every release. Simply put, it tastes breezy, carefree, and natural, as though distilled by Mother Nature herself. Enjoy its subtleties with just a splash of tonic water or see how it elevates a White Negroni or Gin Ramos Fizz.

Read more: Most Expensive Gins

Best Barrel-Aged: Few Spirits Barrel Gin

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This spirit rests in American oak barrels for 18 months, resulting in a nutty hue with added depth and some darker notes relative to standard gin. Try it with a few cubes of ice with some roasted almonds or some dried dates.

Best Blended: Botanica Spiritus Gin

Botanica Gin
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This gin is finished via blending with some younger gin, a subtle move that leads to big things in the glass. A neat balance of sweet, spicy, and lemony, this one does great with a light tonic water and a wedge of lime.

Best Citrus-Infused: Tanqueray Rangpur

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There’s hardly a gin around with more zest and energy than this lime-doctored number from Tanqueray. Sipping it feels like you’re drinking straight out of a citrus hull. As such, it doesn’t need much else, but we think it works particularly well in a Southside or French 75.

Read more: Best Gin for French 75

Best Japanese: Nikka Coffey Gin

Nikka Coffey Gin
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Known for its tremendous whisky lineup, Nikka Coffey is up to some great clear spirits, too, including a vodka and this gin. Thanks to the inclusion of some native citrus like yuzu, kabosu, and more, it brings a refreshingly different flavor profile to the category.

Best London Dry: Fords Gin

Fords Gin
Fords Gin

Bartenders on either side of the Atlantic often sing the praises of this London Dry gin. It comes in a cool bottle, works wonderfully with just about every cocktail (especially a classic Negroni), and is crafted with the oversight of master distiller Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers in London.

Read more: Best Gins to Drink Straight

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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