I love the proliferation of small distilleries across the US, and have been enjoying local gins during my cross-country travels.
I brought back a few from South Africa and just tried an interesting one from Portland. The problem I often run into is that I don't *love* an overtly floral gin.
Can anyone recommend some good gins for me as I get ready to travel a bunch more for the spring class schedule?
US gins? Most I’ve tasted are trash. Distillery 209 from San Francisco is the best that comes to mind. Warwick gin from ny is pretty good. If we expand the map to international I could offer dozens of suggestions
Go nuts - the world is your juniper
Bluecoat in Philadelphia (hometown represent) I recommend their barrel aged gin using it in an aviation.
all time favorite US gin is Barr Hill. Great on its own with a rock, martini or with tonic.
Seattle is doing a great job with the category. For a variety of artisinal small batch offerings check out Copperworks , Big Gin, and Sun Liquor's Gun Club gins. They all have a variety of less floral styles that you might love (barrel aged!) Wildwood Spirits in Bothell makes a really beautiful London Dry Style called Kur distilled from local winter wheat. It gas agood bit of citrus and orchard fruit influence, so isn't overly floral. Voyager is damn near perfect.
I second the Bluecoat.
You and Yours and Old Harbor in San Diego are pretty good. You and Yours is making a mark as a strong distillery of Gin and Vodka in a downtown setting. Plus they are owned an operated by women which I think is pretty cool. Not too many female distillers out there. Old Harbor is starting to experiment with Navy Strength spirits which is fun, even if it'll end your night a little sooner than you expected.
Ballast Point has a gin branded as Old Grove that is fairly popular around here but I'm not a fan. I just think it's nothing impressive.
Ok, the thing about new wave gins is that they can be well made spirits. However, their delicate, unusual botanicals often make them poor choices for cocktails because they’re easily overpowered and then just taste like a muddy mess. And, given that most people don’t drink gin as a sipping spirit, most of those gins are useless for me.
I tend to go for really classic London dry styles, often with their own unique twists, but still with the characteristic botanical punch that is so easily recognizable as gin. With all that said, here are some of my favorites, in no particular order, except these 2: Old Raj 110 proof and No. 3 gin. Both incredible, amazing, life changing gins.
I did forget a few American ones in my ignorant prior comment. A few people mentioned Bluecoat which is a great gin. If you like juniper bombs Junipero from anchor distilling and St. George Terroir (a veritable smack in the face from an amalgam of forest vegetation) are great choices. St. George also has their Botanivore gin which is much more balanced and a great option.
As far as the big names go, Tanqueray is the best QPR value as far as I’m concerned. Other great ones are Boodles, Brokers’s (with the cute little bowling hat on the bottle), and to a lesser, harsher extent Beefeater. For a value gin, Gordon’s can’t be beat, especially for something where the gin is a co star like a gin and tonic. And Plymouth is the ultimate martini gin. It’s both a gin lovers gin and a vodka lovers gin, it’s hard not to like.
Lesser known options are Oxley (easily in my top 5), Citadelle, and Sipsmith. Gin Mare is a pretty cool one distilled with rosemary, thyme, olive, and basil.
And here’s a recipe and technique for the best way to drink gin, the ultimate martini:
-3 oz Plymouth gin
-1 oz (fresh) Dolin dry vermouth
-1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
Stir all ingredients with a barspoon in a mixing glass with fresh, cold ice cubes for roughly 30 seconds. Use a julep strainer to strain into a frozen cocktail/coupe/Nick and Nora glass. Use a vegetable peeler to cut a swath of lemon peel, twist it over the top of the drink to express the oils, and drop in.
hope that was helpful!
Monkey 47! Made with botanicals and spring water from The Black Forest, GE.
They also have a cool website
I second monkey 47 as being GOOD but not great and especially not worth the price. Also kinda gimmicky in my opinion, 47 botanicals is just silliness
The 2 that I have had most recently and loved were Monkey 47 and Empress 1908. I also recommend trying the Gin Mare if you come across it, it is very unique.
Wow - amazing. Thank you!
Gray Wolf Craft Distilling in Saint Michaels, Maryland has a sassafras finished gin that's aged in whiskey barrels. Makes for a really interesting winter weather vesper.
If you want to go way off the beaten path, Cardinal does a barrel rested gin, using local ingredients from NC.
Nolets for the floral notes and escape from a juniper bomb, Barr Hill for simply a really well crafted example, Bluecoat is solid for sure, Hayman’s Old Tom for Negronis, the list goes on! Check out some of the new Irish gins too...