So it’s come down to this. You’ve only been working from home for a week and you’ve already gulped down all of your soda, tonic, and seltzer water. You’re eyeing a bottle of gin on the counter, but you’re not sure if your love of the juniper-based spirit is actually based on the flavor of gin or just how it tastes when it’s mixed together with other flavors. Does your love for gin only go as far as a cocktail or can you imagine yourself sipping it straight?
At its best, gin shouldn’t be harsh and full of unnecessary botanicals. Everything that was added in the distillation process should feel like it belongs there. And no one knows that better than bartenders. We asked some of our favorite bartenders in the game to tell us their go-to gins for sipping in self-quarantine.
Sam Gay, bartender at Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, California
WILDER GIN. It’s not spelled in all caps—that’s for emphasis. I would drink that every day of the week, twice on Sunday, and over my Cheerios, if it was socially acceptable. But neat works, too, in a pinch.
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Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in New York City
Tanqueray is my go-to gin because it’s so well balanced and easy to drink. I enjoy it on the rocks with a lemon wedge. Also, Tanqueray with its extra special blend of botanicals served extremely cold is delicious to sip straight.
Hector Acevedo, part-owner of Spanglish Craft Cocktail Bar & Kitchen in Miami
If I’m drinking a gin straight, I always go with Monkey 47. The flavor is sweet and fairly juniper-heavy with floral and citrus notes plus a hint of pepper to finish.
Principe de Los Apostoles
Osvaldo Vasquez, mixologist at Chileno Bay Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico
I love Argentinian Gin, particularly Principe de Los Apostoles because I find the combination of Hierba Mate, Eucalipto, Coriander and Pomelo very refreshing with a Latin American soul. Perfect to enjoy it on the rocks or with floral cocktails.
Darron Foy, head bartender at The Flatiron Room in New York City
The Botanist for me. I love all and anything Islay. So when Bruichladdich announced the Botanist gin, I was very interested. Islay produces only a handful of dry gins, but the Botanist stands out by using 22 handpicked botanicals native to the island — on top of the core nine botanicals of gin (juniper, orris root, lemon peel etc.), including heather, apple mint, and peppermint leaves. This stuff is gold, neat or on rocks, due to the time and effort taken to add locally sourced botanicals that elevate the gin while ensuring no single flavor takes center stage. Also, it’s from Bruichladdich, so…you’re good.
St George Terroir
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🍸 St. George Terroir #Gin This gin has been made with the purpose to “teleport” your tasting senses to California. The gin is infused with botanicals such as Douglas fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, etc. – 👃: Forest, rosemary, bay leaf, sage. 👄: Juniper with hints of citrus and vegetal notes. Finish: Botanical, medium-long. – 📷 by @leoteranmusic – #gin #stgeorge #stgeorgeterroir #stgeorgegin #stgeorgeterroirgin #gins #ginreview #ginsreview #review #reviews #spirit #spirits #ginpsirit #spiritreview #tastingnotes #epicurean #epicureans #epicureansspirit
Matt Hoffa, lead bartender at The Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles
In my opinion, you can’t do any better than St George Terroir. When it comes to gins for sipping (as opposed to mixing), St George Terroir is leaps and bounds above the rest. It gets its flavors for being distilled with unique botanicals and this creates a warming, smooth finish.
Tanqueray No. 10
Kyle Walter, Bartender at Grayton Beer Brewpub in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Tanqueray No.10. You see the same green bottle of regular Tanqueray in every bar, but their No. 10 is a great notch above without breaking the bank. Its extreme citrus burst in the distilling process makes it the perfect summer sipper. It will also take a regular gin and tonic to the next level.
Scotland is most known for its Scotch, but its gin has become very popular in recent years. One of the best is Caorunn, a small-batch gin made with 11 specifically selected botanicals. The result is a fresh, crisp gin that is just as easily sipped as it is mixed into a stiff drink.
Yet another Scottish gin, Hendrick’s has gained a bit of a cult following in the last decade for its unique flavor from the addition of rose and cucumber. Along with 11 other botanicals, you can literally just pour it over ice and it’s so smooth and full of flavor you’ll think you’re drinking a cocktail.
Bluecoat Barrel Finished
We’ll admit, this one’s kind of cheating. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this barrel-aged gin from Bluecoat. It’s rested for three months in oak barrels. The result is a gin with the pleasing juniper backbone we all love as well as a subtle hint of caramel and vanilla reminiscent of whiskey.