You might not realize it, but it’s full spring — with summer just a month off. Even though you’re likely still stuck inside your house for most of the day, the world is blooming outside. Making this the perfect time of year for seasonal cocktails made with lighter spirits like rum, mezcal, tequila, vodka, and gin.
Today, we turn our attention the May Queen herself — gin. Two of our favorite cocktails for this season (negroni and gin & tonic) are made with the spirit. And we love the botanical, herbaceous, juniper berry-nature of gin taken straight up, too.
To expand our gin repertoire, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to name the one bottle they wish more people knew about. Check their answers below.
Ellen Talbot, lead bartender at Fable Lounge in Nashville
Ford’s Gin. Its juniper-forward botanical base is smooth and makes a delicious cocktail. Co-owner Simon Ford lives in Nashville and has contributed a lot to the local bar community.
Nolet’s Dry Gin
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This is the Negroni trifecta! If not for COVID-19, today I’d be driving back from a weekend at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Instead, I’m making the most of my Monday evening and giving a nod. #mackinacisland #grandhotel #negroni #noletsgin #campari #dolinvermouth #cbus #allbrinyenfly
Matt Shields, bartender at The Bay Restaurant in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
I was gifted a bottle of Nolet’s Gin a few years back and still haven’t figured out why it’s not on everyone’s shelf. Floral, crisp, and balanced. Needless to say, it didn’t last long in my home bar.
St. Augustine Gin
Blake Jones, bartender and director of beverage at The Kennedy in Pensacola, Florida
I would have to say St. Augustine Gin. This gin is so bright and so beautiful, and it makes a fantastic cocktail. It’s made in St. Augustine, Florida by some amazing people who really care about the craft — even more of a reason to like it.
Silent Pool Gin
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Sunday mood🍬 @silentpoolgin This was a gift from the best neighbors in the world, @vaelu26 #silentpoolgin #gentstonic #gin #ginstagram #ginlovers #lovegin #collection #gincollection #moodcollectors #tasteofgin #gincollector #drinkgin #gininthejar #ginswitzerland #gindrinks #onlygin #gingin #drinkgin #gintasting #gintastic #distilled #tonic #switzerland #gininthejar #botanicals #ginandtonic #gingingin #gintasting #cocktails #classiccocktails
Gabriela Dimovska, general manager at V DTLA in Los Angeles
Easy, it’s Silent Pool Gin. It’s a gin that has ingredients & botanicals that are carefully picked out by the makers (Silent Pool Distillers). It’s produced on a breathtaking farm in Surrey Hills in the UK. The distillery has a vintage wood fired steam-boiler and the company is all about sustainability, and it is surrounded by a beautiful lake where they actually use the water to make the gin. Also, the bottle is stunning & the taste is amazing! I love a spirit with a good background story.
The Botanist Gin
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Cheers!!! @thebotanistgin . . . #gin #gintonico #gintonic #ginandtonic #gintonics #gintonictime #ginoclock #gintime #ginstagram #ginfluencer #gintomytonic #londondrygin #gintônica #gintonica #gintleman #drinks #instagin #instadrink #drinkstagram #gingin #lovegin #ginlovers #ginlover #ginloverspt #thebotanist #ginloversportugal #thebotanistgin
Danielle Becker, bartender at the Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colorado
The Botanist, from Scotland. It’s one of the absolute most delicious and drinkable gins on the market. Its made with 22 different hand-foraged botanicals in the English style but from Islay off the coast of Scotland. It’s so good it’s sipping worthy. The aromatics are so complex but so sublimely complimentary.
Freddy Concepcion Ucan Tuz, bartender at JW Marriott in Cancun, Mexico
Elephant Gin: A handcrafted London dry gin inspired by Africa and made in Germany. This gin has 14 different ingredients which are classic such as juniper, sweet orange peel but also ginger, lavender, and African ingredients such as Baobab fruit, Lion’s Tail, etc. What makes this gin so special is that 15% of its revenue is sponsored to Big Life Foundation and Space for Elephants. Both charities are focused on the conservation of Elephants in Africa.
Sad but true: every year 35,000 elephants die because of uncontrolled ivory poaching.
Monkey 47 Gin
Wesley MacDonald, owner of Caña Bar and Kitchen in Curaçao
Monkey 47, a German gin with 47 botanicals of which a variety is sourced from the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in Germany. Bottled at 47 ABV or 94 Proof, it is a botanically complex gin with great spicy and citrus notes. Works amazing in a G&T or Martini and can even be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
Death’s Door Gin
When you think of London dry gin, Wisconsin might not immediately come to mind. Well, maybe it should. This smooth, aromatic, subtly bitter gin is made using juniper berries, coriander, fennel, and other botanicals locally sourced in Wisconsin. For gin-lovers, it’s sippable on its own but stands up well in cocktails.
Dry Fly Gin
We’re heading to America for another gin. This time to Washington state and Dry Fly Gin. Made with Oregon-grown juniper berries and coriander as its base, this gin gets its unique flavor from the addition of hops, mint, lavender, and fuji apple. With the number of additional flavors, this gin doesn’t have the usual kick of juniper. It’s well-rounded and perfect for drinking neat or mixed into a Spanish gin tonic.
From the Philadelphia Distilling Company, Bluecoat stands up well to its British counterparts. This award-winning London dry-style gin gets its main flavors from juniper berries and citrus peels. The result is a multi-dimensional gin with hints of lemon, orange, resin, and cinnamon.