Top-shelf gin is the pinnacle of gin craftsmanship, the kind that makes you do a double take and nod in appreciation. It’s not your average gin – it’s the one that stands out in a crowd, boasting a blend of top-tier botanicals and a level of refinement that sets it apart. If you’re the type who savors the art of mixing drinks or simply loves a well-crafted cocktail, top-shelf gin is right up your alley.
Monkey 47 is a progressive dry gin that combines botanical ingredients from throughout the world, highlighting East Asia and Germany in particular. This juniper-forward gin has several unique flavors that stand out, including lingonberries. Monkey 47 is excellent in a martini or enjoyed on the rocks.
Hendrick’s is a wonderful entry brand into top-shelf gin. The brand puts its twist on traditional gin by infusing its botanical blend with cucumber and rose, producing a refreshing and aromatic drink. Hendrick’s goes great in a gin and tonic or fruit-based cocktails, such as a cucumber lemonade.
Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin
Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin is a premium Japanese gin that incorporates botanicals from throughout Japan, such as bamboo, yellow yuzu, and Japanese peppercorn. This gin is also made with rice, producing an incredibly light and sweet liquor. If you want to try drinking gin neat, this brand is a fantastic choice.
Nolet’s Reserve Gin
Nolet’s Reserve Gin is a special batch of gin produced by the family-owned Nolet Distillery in the Netherlands, an institution that has been around for hundreds of years. The reserve gin has a unique botanical blend, featuring ingredients such as saffron and crocus flower. Although you can elevate any cocktail with Nolet’s Reserve, this premium gin is best enjoyed on ice in a small glass.
The Botanist reflects the contemporary trends of gin brands, emphasizing the qualities of regional botanicals. For Botanist Gin, this means making a special botanical blend based on plants from Islay, a Scottish Island. This highly floral and aromatic gin is excellent with infused tonic water.
Gray Whale Gin
If Gray Whale Gin tastes like the smell of the ocean breeze, that’s because it’s what the distillers had in mind—Gray Whale is composed of botanicals from the California coast, inspired by the migratory path of the gray whale. The result is a refreshing, herbal gin with hints of salty air.
Bombay Sapphire is a favorite brand for many gin fanatics. Unlike brands that focus on specific regions, Bombay Sapphire takes on a global perspective, compiling exotic botanical ingredients from all over the planet. This gin is a crisp blend of herbal and citrus flavors. If you’re interested in more complex gin beverages, try Bombay Sapphire in a ginger and orange cocktail.
Reflecting the radiant sapphire waters of its namesake city, Plymouth Gin carries an incredibly clean flavor and a memorable aftertaste. Its taste is rich, smooth, and classic; it includes seven delicately balanced aromatics that will grace any cocktail you mix it in. If you want to savor Plymouth Gin’s flavors, take note of the cardamom in the nose and the creamy taste on the palate.
KOVAL Barreled Gin
While many gins on this list represent the end product of centuries of experimentation, KOVAL Barreled Gin aims to bring something else to your cocktail bar. This gin is a marriage between traditional whiskey and gin, with the gin being aged in whiskey barrels after its initial distillation. The final result is a crisp beverage with a hint of spice and butterscotch, lending itself well to traditional gin and whiskey cocktails.
Highclere Castle Dry Gin
With a regal name and a suite of awards under its belt, Highclere Castle Dry Gin is one of the best choices for classy gin lovers. Its classic juniper flavor doesn’t bring any surprise guests to the palate, but that’s hardly necessary when you have the delicious pine and orange taste of this well-refined spirit.
Sipsmith London Dry
Sipsmith’s London Dry is the epitome of classic gin. When you take a sip, you get a subtle trace of florals and juniper, leading to a full-throated pop of citrus and an ever-so-slight spice. The final result is a gin with a fresh, floral taste, making it a perfect choice for a gin and tonic, a martini, or simply a straight sipping experience.
Some of the gins on this list are indie darlings or industry disruptors, but Tanqueray is not one of those. Tanqueray’s first dry gin rolled out of London in 1830, making it one of the most storied gin brands in the world–and its flavor lives up to this storied legacy. This gin is best for those looking for hyper-refined gin; what the drink lacks in extraneous flavors, it makes up for in classic taste.
Nikka Coffey Gin
Although Nikka is widely known for producing Japanese grain and malt whiskeys, gin lovers can still enjoy one of their Coffey Gin. Named after the still used to produce the spirit, Coffey Gin contains a wide array of delicious Japanese flavors, pairing the taste of four Japanese citruses with botanicals like juniper berries and coriander.