This week is Negroni week, a celebration of the iconic Italian cocktail. But, what’s a Negroni without gin? It’s just a strange concoction of vermouth and Campari, that’s what. I don’t know about you, but that really doesn’t sound as refreshing. Gin is where the magic is at!
If Negronis aren’t your thing, you can sip gin and tonics all summer long (or various other gin-based cocktails) without ever needing a change of pace. Or, if you’re really feeling frisky, enjoy some gin on its own. Since June 10th is World Gin Day, the time is right to stop by your local liquor store and buy a bottle of gin you might not have tried before. But, in a market full of various gins, how do you pick the brand that suits your tastes?
Scotland is more known for its whisky, but with products like Caorunn, that’s slowly changing. This unique, small-batch gin is infused with five botanicals foraged from the Speyside region of England’s neighbor to the north.
Victoria Pink Gin
This gin is given its color and flavor through a combination of bitters, but that doesn’t keep the juniper flavor from coming through. It adds a nice layer of complexity to mixer-neutral drinks like G & Ts and opens the door for a whole range of custom cocktails.
This northern California distillery is cranking out some seriously great spirits. One of its best is its gin. It all starts with organic California Red Winter wheat that is milled, mashed, fermented and distilled into its gin base before adding juniper and myriad California botanicals.
Another Scottish gin, Hendrick’s has only been produced since 1999, but is already one of the most respected gins in the world. On top of the usual juniper and other botanicals, Hendrick’s also adds cucumber and Bulgarian rose to give it a unique taste, perfect for your favorite cocktails.
Since 1793, Plymouth has been making this London Dry Gin using the same seven botanicals (juniper, coriander, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom, angelica, and orris). This smooth, herbal gin is just about as perfect as a gin gets.
Tanqueray No. 10
Tanqueray is one of the biggest names in the gin world. Its No. 10 was made for bartenders to mix with. Its name comes from the number ten still it’s produced in. This gin is different from regular Tanqueray because, on top of the usual botanicals, it has a distinct citrus presence that makes for exceptional gin and tonics.
Yet another Scottish gin, Botanist is a truly one-of-a-kind spirit. Made by famous peaty Scotch brand Bruichladdich, Botanist is made using traditional flavors like juniper as well as botanicals and herbs only found on Islay, the island the distillery calls home.
If England is the country most known for gin and Scotland and the US are up-and-coming, it might surprise you that Monkey 47 comes from the Black Forest of Germany. The name comes from the 47 ingredients and the 47% percent alcohol. It might sound like a gimmick, but this gin won a gold medal at the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.
If you buy a spirit from the 86 Co., you can be pretty much guaranteed it’ll be great. Fords Gin is a collaboration between Simon Ford and Master Distiller Charles Maxwell. It’s produced in London at Thames Distillers and is made up of 9 botanicals, including: juniper, coriander, bitter orange, and jasmine.
Opened in 2009, Sipsmith was the first copper-pot still distillery to begin production in London is almost two-hundred years. Its London Dry Gin is made to taste like a classic London Dry. The base is Macedonian juniper berries, but also has ground almond, cassia, orris, and coriander.
St. George Dry Rye
This 100% rye gin was designed to be enjoyed by whiskey fans and gin fans alike. It’s spicier than most gins because the base, instead of being a neutral grain spirit, is in-aged rye. The addition of six botanicals (including juniper) adds the flavor gin fans expect from this unique gin.