The best thing about getting into gin is the fact that a good bottle won’t cost you a mortgage payment. Unlike whisk(e)y, with its high-priced unicorn bottles, gin is a spirit for everyone. Rarely does an expression top $100.
You can always go cheap with gin and be completely happy with a bottle of Gordon’s or Beefeater. But if you truly want to enjoy all the juniper and botanical nuances of the spirit, you’ll want to spend just a little more. Unlike whiskey, spending a little more doesn’t mean ramping up from $50 to $250. It’s more like $20 to $60 (with a few crazy expensive exceptions).
To help you get the most out of your money, we tapped the experts — asking a handful of bartenders to tell us the best (slightly more) expensive gins that are worth the splurge.
Can Coskunkal, director of operations for Street Guys Hospitality in Washington, DC
Procera is the best gin I’ve ever had. It’s by far the best. It’s super earthy with a great juniper taste that comes from Juniper Procera, a unique type of botanical only grown in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Hans Reisetbauer Barrel Aged Blue Gin
Chris Johnson, beverage director at Oaxaca Taqueria in New York City
Hans Reisetbauer Blue Gin Aged in Oak. Hans makes some of the best brandy in the world and his gin isn’t too shabby either.
The regular Blue Gin gets five years in Austrian oak, it gets rounded out a lot and a ton of warmth from the barrel spice
Isle of Harris Gin
Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen in Encino, California
My favorite super-premium gin is the Isle of Harris Gin. It’s beautifully elegant and refreshing. In addition to some of the more traditional flavors in gin, this one is infused with sugar kelp, which emphasizes the salinity and ocean quality in a way that I enjoy.
It makes for a phenomenal gin and tonic, and pairs well with seafood of all types.
Old Raj Dry Gin
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami
Old Raj Dry Gin is the tried and true “expensive” bottle of gin that really should make an appearance in the home bar.
With gin, some may think it is overstated, but this styling stands on its own by packing a unique juniper punch that will stand out.
Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
Monkey 47 from Black Forest Distillery will punch your pocketbook in the mouth, and you’ll thank it for the pleasure.
Made with a molasses base, this is a fruited, botanical bomb. As the name suggests, there are 47 botanicals and fruits used in its distillation and juniper is far from the star. The nose is a bit of juniper and rosemary. As it roars down your palate, it has a creamy body filled with mild melon and sage. The finish is dry and lingers enough to keep you going back to deciphering all the individual profiles that meld so well together.
The Revivalist Botanical Equinox Gin
Alex Clark, bartender at Square 1682 in Philadelphia
The Revivalist Botanica Equinox l Gin. It’s on the pricier side of gin, but not too bad on the wallet. This gin is one I like to just put on the rocks and sip. A little bit of ice brings out all the unique botanicals in this one.
Benjamin Pozar, bartender at Red Brick Distillery in Philadelphia
My pick is The Botanist from the island of Islay off the coast of Scotland. Botanist is delicious, the mint notes are fantastic in a southside or eastside gimlet. The flavors are unique and unforgettable. All 22 ingredients are foraged from the island that’s most known for its Scotch distilleries.
Cambridge Truffle Gin
Nicholas Wyatt, bartender at Teddy’s Bourbon Bar in Prattville, Alabama
Cambridge Truffle Gin is a must-try. Its delightful herbal qualities are rounded out by the deep earthiness of white truffles. If you can find bottles of it, buy them all.
Tanqueray No. 10
Regular Tanqueray is cheap and reliable. But, if you want to up the ante in both quality and flavor, splurge for a bottle of Tanqueray No. 10 with its perfume-like qualities featuring peppery juniper, dried orange peel, and various herbal notes. Perfect for your favorite gin cocktail.
Koval Dry Gin
You might be aware of Koval because of its award-winning whiskeys. Once you’ve had your fill of the brand’s bourbons and rye, grab a bottle of Koval Dry Gin, You won’t be disappointed. It’s spicier than most gins, but that’s a good thing. It’s also fresh and filled with floral, citrus, and juniper notes to appeal to the most classic gin drinkers.