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Gins Of The World You Need To Try At Least Once

Kick back and relax, and let the good times be gin.

Ah, gin. Sweet, sweet gin. For so transparent a spirit it sure has a colourful past; a true rags to riches story that every man, woman and their dog should know.

Born in Holland and adopted by the English in the 17th century, it lubricated and warmed the Thirty Years War, was used as medicine to cure (ironically) gout and stomach complaints, saved countless sailors from the scurvy when mixed with lime, got the poor of London so consistently blind hammered that The Gin Act was passed – which subsequently incited the Gin Riots – before it clawed and refined its way through the intervening centuries to become the sophisticated and classic backbone to James Bond’s martini…before Smirnoff brainwashed everyone with a bloody corker of an advertising campaign.

All in all it’s been a one hell of a ride for gin, and what we particularly love about it is how it conjures images like a time-machine, whether they be romantic ones of gin-swigging sailors of the Royal Navy chasing down rum-guzzling pirates in the 18th century, or not-so-romantic ones of London whores with teeth the colour of earwax showing off their ankles for a penny during the Jack the Ripper era.

Of course, nowadays gin is synonymous with summer days and a G&T or, if you’re of the Snoop Dogg disposition, sippin’ on with some juice.

The real question though, is which juniper juice to plump for? No need to reach for a drop of the Dutch courage – that’s gin again by the way – to help, here are thirty of our favourites from around the globe.

Kick back and relax, and let the good times be gin.

Tanqueray No.10

tanqueray10

The bottle of our opening gin is a distinctive green, and that’s very apt, because this is the Yoda of the dry gin world. Tanqueray was first made two-hundred years ago, and it’s just as perfectly balanced and – in the case of No. 10 – lightly fragranced as it has ever been. If there isn’t a bottle of this on your shelf then stop reading and get your arse down the bottle shop.

  • Origins: London, England
  • 47.3% Alcohol

Williams Chase Gin

gin

This is one of our favourite spirit producers, and one of our favourite gins. Nestled in the midst of Herefordshire cider country, this gin is resplendent with the apple and elderflower flavours. They say good things take time – and with this drop they’re not wrong. This gin is distilled over one hundred times, with the whole process taking two years! It’s the ultimate partner of a good boutique tonic and a slice of apple, and a gin that you’ll want to linger over. And, with an alcohol content of 48% it might be a gin you’re falling over too.

  • Origins: Herefordshire, England
  • 48% Alcohol

Monkey 47

monkey47

This fun German number has basically every facet of being a gin covered, thanks to the forty-seven botanicals that give it its woody/zesty/herby/insert adjective here flavour. It also weighs in with a knockout 47% alcohol content. Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

  • Origins: Black Forest, Germany
  • 47% Alcohol

Gordon’s Gin

gordons

Mate, it might not be the fanciest or the smoothest, and it might’ve dropped in alcohol percentage by 2.5% so that it can more easily compete with its white spirit rivals and cut costs so it doesn’t have quite the same burn that it did, but when you’re in a rush, a bit strapped for cash and dying for a Tom Collins, who’re you gonna call?

  • Origins: London, England
  • 37.5% Alcohol

Beefeater Gin

beefeater

This is a true middle of the road classic from the bottle in. Versatile and bloody affordable, this is what you might call the quintessential London dry gin. If you’re looking to mix it up with you gin gimlet, but don’t want to break the bank then this crisp English drop is a fine choice.

  • Origins: London, England
  • 40% Alcohol

Bombay Sapphire

bombay

With arguably one of the most recognisable and prettiest gin bottles out there, Bombay Sapphire’s name originates with the popularity of gin in India during the British Raj, whilst alluding to the Star of Bombay sapphire that sits in the Smithsonian Museum. And if that isn’t a nice little fact to bore your mates with we don’t know what is. It’s very drinkable and defined by its lightness – which is probably why it’s so popular – but still has a nice peppery finish.

  • Origins: Warrington, England
  • 40% Alcohol

No. 209 Gin

no-209

Coming from the 209th registered distillery in the US, this complex gin is interesting to say the least. For us it invoked the ghost or our favourite morning beverage – Earl Grey – with its initial taste of bergamot followed up by notes of orange. There’s cardamom and coriander spice in there too, which blends well with the citrusy vibe.

  • Origins: San Francisco, U.S.A
  • 46% Alcohol

Four Pillars Gin

fourpillars

‘Straya had to feature on the board somewhere, and here it is a lovely little distillery in the Yarra Valley. We know its going to be a good bit of gear, coming from Victoria and all, but what really sets it apart from the competition are the distinctive Australian aromatics, namely Australian oranges, lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepper berry leaf. Bloody get it down ya.

  • Origins: Healesville, Australia
  • 41.8% Alcohol

Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin

caorunn

Named after the Gaelic word for the Rowan Berry – which provides the piquant cornerstone to this gin – and pronounced “ka-roon,” this lovely floral gin is crisp and sweet. There’s no surprise with the result when you know that the four other unique Scottish aromatics used (as well as six traditional ones) are Coul Blush apple, bog myrtle, dandelion leaf and, of course, heather. Is the freshness of the Highlands in a glass.

  • Origins: Speyside, Scotland
  • 41.8% Alcohol

Gin Mare

gin-mare2

Spain’s contribution to our list is a real delight. It captures the Mediterranean beautifully with its super savoury botanicals that include basil, thyme, rosemary and, from local suppliers, Arbequina olives. What could be more Mediterranean than all those herbs plus olives we ask you? It’s like a mouthful of pizza. Except that it’s not. There are citrus elements in it too, coming from Seville oranges, bitter oranges from Valencia and lemons from Lleida. However, it is the herbs that win the day, making this a ripper of an appertivo, and one of only a handful of herbal gins.

  • Origins: Vilanova, Spain
  • 42.7% Alcohol

Crafter’s London Dry Gin

crafters

As we all know, gin is basically infused vodka. So it is fitting that Estonia – one of the world’s most prolific consumers and makers of vodka – should feature on our gin list. With ingredients such as cumin, mint and grapefruit you know that you’re going to get something quite exotic, which is what we found. The fennel seeds and juniper give this gin a really flowery softness in the mouth, whilst the veronica anchors it to its Estonian roots. It’s got quite a spicy finish on it, so if you want to do something a little different and stand out from the pack, match it with a quality tonic and whack a sprig of rosemary into a highball glass. It’s delightful, but probably not something you want to drink when you’re watching footy with the lads.

  • Origins: Tallinn, Estonia
  • 43% Alcohol

Hernö Blackcurrant Gin

herno

This fruity gin doesn’t pack much of a punch in the booze department, but sweet baby Jesus it is massively flavoursome. It’s like Ribena for adults, except that you can drink it on its own. That may seem like an imposing proposition when you’re looking at it. Admittedly, it’s such a deep dark colour that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’d have the viscosity of molasses and blacken your teeth, but the whole blackcurrants are mellowed and their bitterness taken away by the local Swedish honey. Crucially, the base gin characters still permeate through. A slosh of this is a banger of a way to rev up a glass of champagne and leaves your mouth watering.

  • Origins: Ångermanland, Sweden
  • 28% Alcohol

Martin Miller’s Gin

martin-millers1

Accolades have been showering down on this English gin for years now. It’s not surprising really, thanks to it’s distinctive but not over the top perfume, and the crystal clear finish that it achieves due to its (wise) use of Icelandic glacial water. This is one of our picks for a world-beating drink every time, and is very much the embodiment of a proper top-shelf, premium gin. Sure, you’re wallet might not necessarily thank you, but don’t your tastebuds deserve to take a trip to Pleasure Town once in a while?

  • Origins: Black Country, England
  • 40% Alcohol

Hendrick’s Gin

hendricks

There’s not too much that needs to be said about this wee alcoholic gem, as the gin does all the talking. If you haven’t experienced a Hendrick’s with a slice of cucumber then you should be ashamed of yourself and go immediately to your room. Actually go to your local cocktail bar and rectify the situation. Hendrick’s is infused with the unique pairing of rose petals and cucumbers, with botanicals such as caraway, orange peel, angelica root and yarrow. It’s quite the concoction. You can check it all out on their website, which is perhaps the best website we’ve ever seen, straight out of the head of the Monty Python crew. The thing that sets this gin apart from the competition is the way that it’s a delicious favourite for the connoisseur, whilst being a brilliant introduction to gin for the rookie. Marvellous stuff for sure.

  • Origins: Girvan, Scotland
  • 41.4% Alcohol

Blue Bottle Dry Gin

bluebottle

This drop of juniper juice should satisfy most drinkers. It’s an all-rounder. The equivalent, perhaps, of Shane Watson – had he been a small bottle of alcohol, and not a big blond cricketer. Whilst juniper is the front man here and keeps everyone happy with his familiar taste, the backup performance from the fragrant gorse flowers, spicy cubeb pepper and vanilla help to carve a niche for this gin of its very own.

  • Origins: Island of Guernsey
  • 47% Alcohol

Brooklyn Small Batch Gin

brooklyngin

Made in the Hudson Valley, this is a proper artisan gin produced in a copper pot still at a fruit orchard. Not exactly what you might initially think of when you think New York. Locally sourced ingrediants? No, sir. This is as far away from their gin brethren on the other side of the pond as you’re likely to get with cocoa nibs from Brazil, Persian limes and juniper coming all the way from Albania. What a potion.

  • Origins: New York, U.S.A
  • 40% Alcohol

Greenall’s London Dry Gin

greenalls_the-original-gt_hi-ball_

Greenall’s is another gin that belongs in the category of London Dry Gin 101. The recipe hasn’t changed since 1761 – back when it was all the rage for blokes to be wearing those ludicrous and elaborate wigs – and is a closely guarded secret. It’s a spirit that is most closely tied to the gin and tonic, with gin drinking purist swearing by it. Perhaps it’s the antiquity that many rave about, or the tang of the lemon peel and coriander seeds that is noticeable straight off the bat. Or maybe it’s the price, because for a decent gin it’s very well priced.

  • Origins: London, England
  • 37.5% Alcohol

Rutte Celery Gin

green

Not surprisingly this is the most contentious gin on our list. Whilst the celery flavour isn’t the be all and end all of this beverage, it’s most definitely there waving a little green flag. For an old world company, Rutte have certainly put a fresh twist on this award winning spirit. Put to best use, we recommend it in a Red Snapper. Don’t know what that is? Variety is the spice of life.

  • Origins: Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • 43% Alcohol

Elephant Gin

elephant

Certainly this gin is made in Germany, but the African influence is strong in its herbaceous taste thanks to ingredients such as Lion’s Tail, Devil’s Claw and African Wormwood. There’s one thing better than the taste of this premium gin though, and that is that, since the first bottle came off the production line in 2013, 15% of the proceeds of this beverage have gone to two African elephants foundations; the Space for Elephants Foundation and the Big Life Foundation. That little burning glow you’re feeling next time you enjoy a bottle of Elephant Gin? That might just be pride.

  • Origins: Hamburg, Germany
  • 45% Alcohol

Boodles Gin

boodles

You’ve got to be careful with this one, as its adorable name will lull you into a false sense of security, and on waking up hungover you might feel slightly betrayed – like when you’re patting a big friendly Labrador and it lets loose with a shining bastard of a fart without warning. This drink though is perfect in drinks that are heavy on the lemons, such as a Tom Collins or (depending how you make them) G&T, as it is distilled without citrus.

  • Origins: Warrington, England
  • 40% Alcohol

Professor Cornelius Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin Navy Strength

bathtub

Let’s face it; you should probably buy this gin solely on the merits of its phenomenal name. There’s an old wives tale that goes with Navy Strength gin too. It’s said that the Navy demanded that gin be distilled at 57% so that if it were accidentally spilled on gunpowder the powder would still ignite. Now that’s responsible drinking. So, not only does it have a great name that you’ll forget as you fall off your barstool after your third drink, it also comes with its own conversation piece. Along with the booze, the botanicals provide it with a hell of a wallop. It is, as we say, a genuine hangman – one drop and you’re dead.

  • Origins: Kent, England
  • 57% Alcohol

Plymouth English Gin

plymouth

As there are London Gin gins so there used to be a host of Plymouth Gins. Now there is only one, and for good reason. Plymouth Gin is one of the oldest and most celebrated gins in England. It is refreshing, with citrus notes, making it fantastic for a Negroni. If you want a gin with pedigree then look no further.

  • Origins: Plymouth, England
  • 41.2% Alcohol

Citadelle Gin

citadelle-gin

From a region of France famous for another spirit (we’ll let you puzzle that one out) comes this triple-distilled, wheat-based gin. This is a fine drink, delicate in taste without being boring. It is triple-distilled from wheat and spring water, and is classic smelling in the way that it is quite juniper heavy with citrus notes – in the form of orange – following casually after. It is the same when you come to taste it, with juniper and citrus taking pride of place, but without the hint of green that you get from the cardamom on the nose. Overall this is a grand gin for cocktails due to its zesty character, which makes it as versatile as you could wish.

  • Origins: Cognac, France, 44%
  • 44% Alcohol

Death’s Door Gin

deaths

Unlike its American compatriot, Brooklyn Gin, mentioned above, all the ingredients that go into this spirit are grown on or near the distillery’s base in Washington Island. Fennel makes recurring appearances, both on the nose and on the palate, and the juniper blends seamlessly with it. There’s a lot going on with this gin and it’s worth grabbing a bottle and seeing exactly what you can pick up in the taste and smell. Some of us thought it had an almost pine-needle quality to it, whilst others tasted spicy baking. Maybe it was just a sign that we were getting too involved and better go to bed.

  • Origins: Wisconsin, U.S.A
  • 44% Alcohol

Glendalough Gin

glendalough_gin_-_irish_whiskeys

And here, friends, we have a seasonal gin – four variations come out each year. That’s right, just as the seasons change so do the locally sourced botanicals that make up this Irish drop. Expect ground ivy and hawthorn leaves, meadowsweet and dandelion leaves.

  • Origins: Glendalough, Ireland
  • 41 – 44% Alcohol

Daffy’s Small Batch Premium Gin

daffys-gin-hero

Nerd alert! Before we even get to the gin, let us draw your attention to the bottle. The design is by American artist Robert McGinnis who designed movie posters for various James Bon films as well as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, amongst others. With so much prestige on the outside you’d expect the gin to be pretty fantastic too, and it is. The most notable botanical you’ll taste comes from the Lebanese mint, which is grown by the owner’s father-in-law.

  • Origins: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 43.3% Alcohol

Filliers Pine Tree Blossom

filliers

As the name suggests this gin is infused with a touch of pine, giving it a certain refreshing richness. It’s like drinking one of those things that dangle on your rear-view mirror, but in a good way. When you want to try something a little different, then you could do far worse.

  • Origins: Bachte-Maria-Leerne, Belgium
  • 42.6% Alcohol

Few Spirits American Gin

few_american_gin1

This is the epitome of easy sippin’ with lemon and vanilla playing the lead roles in this production. The unmistakable bite of juniper at the end of each mouthful acts as a reminder of what a fine gin you’re drinking.

  • Origins: Illinois, U.S.A
  • 40% Alcohol

Sipsmith London Dry Gin

slipsmith

All agree that this West London-based gin is beautifully smooth and fragrant and perfectly suited to a martini, whilst having the depth and balance for a spot-on G&T. Archetypal London Dry Gin was the aim for the Sipsmith team when they started out in 2009, and they’ve nailed it with their hand-crafted, small-batch gin. For some inexplicable reason it reminded us of Christmas. It comes with a wax seal as well, which is just plain cool, isn’t it?

  • Origins: London, England
  • 44.6% Alcohol

Cruxland Gin

crux

The last gin on our list very much embodies the part of the world from which it hails. Amongst other African botanicals such as rooibos and honey bush tea, the stand out ingredient is the rare Kalahari truffle, which lends the crisp, grape-based gin an earthy flavour. This is a luxury gin from winemakers KWV.

And that about wraps it up, chaps. Remember, there is still plenty of time for you to find your favourite juniper juice before World Gin Day on June 10th. In the meantime, we strongly urge you to get out there and start experimenting, because, after all, why be dull?

  • Origins: Paarl, South Africa
  • 43% Alcohol

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