About Gin

About Gin
Gin is the original flavored vodka, a clear spirit that is flavored with juniper berries and so-called botanicals (a varied assortment of herbs and spices). The spirit base of Gin is primarily grain (usually wheat or rye), which results in a light-bodied spirit.

The chief flavoring agent in gin is the highly aromatic blue-green berry of the juniper, a low-slung evergreen bush (genus Juniperus) that is commercially grown in northern Italy, Croatia, the United States and Canada. Additional botanicals can include anise, angelica root, cinnamon, orange peel, coriander, and cassia bark. All gin makers have their own secret combination of botanicals, the number of which can range from as few as four to as many as 15 or more.

Most gin is initially distilled in efficient column stills. The resulting spirit is high-proof, light-bodied, and clean with a minimal amount of congeners (flavor compounds) and flavoring agents. Gin's lowland cousin, Genever, is distilled in less-efficient potstills, which results in a lower-proof, more flavorful spirit. Low-quality 'Compound Gins' are made by simply mixing the base spirit with juniper and botanical extracts. Mass-market gins, known as 'Distilled Gins', are produced by soaking juniper berries and botanicals in the base spirit and then redistilling the mixture.

Many top-quality gins are flavored in a unique manner and are referred to as 'London Dry Gins'. After one or more distillations the base spirit is redistilled one last time. During this final distillation the alcohol vapor wafts through a chamber in which the dried juniper berries and botanicals are suspended. The vapor gently extracts aromatic and flavoring oils and compounds from the berries and spices as it travels through the chamber on its way to the condenser. The resulting flavored spirit has a noticeable degree of complexity.

The most famous examples of gin are from the UK. These are among the most complex gins with subdued flavors of pine, peppery spices, citrus, herbal roots, and even floral notes, which are currently in vogue. Gin has experienced a revival thanks to the craft cocktail movement as the base for the wildly popular gin martini, a host of newly resuscitated classic cocktails, and adventuresome new libations.

Top Picks for Gin

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
96 points
$37
Clear color. Citrusy aromas and flavors of powdered sugared citrus peels, orange vanilla gelato, and spiced cucumber and melon with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, compelling, medium-long finish that shows notes of tangerine gelatin candies, spice cake, vanilla oat milk, and pepper. A rich and artfully balanced gin with delicate juniper notes and robust fruit and spice flavors; a great choice for elevating cocktails.
Martin Miller’s Summerful Gin
95 points
$33
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of spiced candied citrus peels, exotic tropical fruits, and herbal lozenge with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, complex, very long finish with notes of anise creme anglaise and pink peppercorn. A remarkably potent and pleasurable full throttle gin that will be superb in classic cocktails.
Bristow Gin
95 points
$34
Gin
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of juniper berries and bark, tree sap, lemon meringue, and bbq rub with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, subtle, long finish manifesting notes of alpine flower honey, spiced exotic tropical citrus, and mixed peppercorns. A dry stately gin with deep savory, sylvan flavors for serious cocktails.
Mahon Gin
95 points
$32
Gin
Clear color. Inviting aromas and flavors of orris root, sweet orange, lime, coriander, rose peel, sandalwood, and hints of celery with a velvety, vibrant, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, colossal, very long finish. A garden of vivid aromas charm and entice the imbiber to the glass; a spectacular Gin for martinis.
Barrister Dry Gin
94 points
$19
Best Buy
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of candied lemon and key lime peels, frosted spice cake, turmeric, and thai basil with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long finish with overtones of pickled watermelon and clementine. A refreshing delicious and citrus-and-herb-forward gin that will be great in a Collin or long drinks.
94 points $19 Best Buy
StilL630 Volsteads Folly American Gin
94 points
$27
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of lavender and bergamot gum, pressed flowers, and juniper licorice jam with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, very complex, long finish with nuances of lychee, kiwi chutney, and pine sap and needle. A penetrating, floral and juniper-forward gin for creative cocktail play.
Martin Miller’s Gin
94 points
$29
Gin
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of lemon poppyseed muffin, orange blossom honey, and strawberry passionfruit, and earl grey and chamomile chais with an oily, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a seamless, delightful, medium-length finish that presents notes of citrus and floral oils, sugar dusted meyer lemon peel, coriander and herbs sprinkled cucumbers, and spiced almond milk. A silky and seamless gin with nuanced fruit and floral tones well suited for sophisticated craft cocktails.
Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
94 points
$34
Clear color. Spicy aromas and flavors of pickled green tomatoes, spicy plum chutney, lemon blossoms, and bubblegum with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a refreshing, medium-length finish with notes of candied lemon peels, exotic peppercorns, earl grey chai, and violet gum. A fine balance of subtle yet present botanicals makes this versatile savory gin a natural choice for elegant cocktails.
Atian Rose Gin
94 points
$49.99
Brilliant light pink color. Attractive, floral aromas of Turkish rose custard dessert, lemon and lime curd pastries, hint of bergamot, and melon with an oily, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, elegant, long juniper blossoms and jam, Moroccan orange spice cake, hint of bitter herbs and pink pepper, and wet minerals finish. A soft, oily, superbly balanced floral-accented gin with great drinkability, neat, on ice, or in shaken or long cocktails.
94 points $49.99
JUNíPERO Gin
94 points
$34
Gin
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of pine needles and sap, singed citrus peels, hint of turpentine, and honey horseradish mustard with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, complex, long finish revealing accents of juniper jam, Meyer lemon curd, and fresh herbs. A bold, in-your-face Gin with fresh herbal flavors and an elegant edge.