Are you looking for the best gin brands? Go no further, because we have compiled a list of the 15 best gins in the world so that you don't have to. Among the most famous brands, we can include Hendrik's Gin or Bombay Sapphire, as well as flavored gins such as the Spanish Puerto de Indias.
We will explore the definition and origin of gin, as well as examine the different types of gin available on the market.
Gin is an alcoholic beverage made from unmalted barley and juniper berries, which give it its characteristic taste, and can be flavored with other ingredients such as cardamom, angelica (wild celery), and various botanical flavored herbs. Its alcohol concentration tends to be between 38% - 47% Vol.
The history of this spirit is tightly connected to the Dutch although gin as we know it came to life in London.
Gin’s core ingredient, juniper berries, have been combined with alcohol as far as back as 70 A.D. In those times, a physician named Pedanius Dioscorides published a five-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine which included a detailed description of the use of juniper berries steeped in wines to combat chest ailments.
It wasn't until later, in the 16th century, that Franciscus Sylvius, a Dutch physician, mixed juniper berries and grain alcohol and thus created the genever.
This original version of genever resembled a light, unaged whiskey more than it does gins of today – but it did have juniper as a required component.
The legal status of gin differs from region to region; however, Canada and the USA recognize only three types of gin - Genever, Gin, London or Dry gin, while the European Union acknowledges four types - Juniper-flavoured spirit drinks, Gin, Distilled gin and London gin. We will focus on the former category and explore the three main types of juniper alcoholic drinks.
Genever, also known as genièvre, jenever, peket, or as Dutch gin or Hollands, is the juniper-flavored national and traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved.
This full-bodied spirit is essentially a distilled malted spirit often blended with neutral grain spirit, then infused or further distilled with various herbs and spices, including a healthy amount of juniper, like gin. It can be clear, lightly aged, or aged in oak for several years.
Unlike gin, genever does not have to have an apparent juniper aroma or taste to it. Traditional genever has an alcohol content of 35%.
The base of this spirit must be ethanol of agricultural origin flavored only with juniper berries as opposed to the redistillation of botanicals that occurs with juniper-flavored spirits. The alcohol content must be a minimum of 37,5%.
Known also as London Dry Gin, this spirit is the bestselling gin of all times. It is a clear drink with a dry, unsweetened taste because it is flavored with more subtle aromatic botanicals.
The flavoring process is complex and only takes place after the distillation. The minimum volume of alcohol obtained must be 70% which is later reduced with water. Brands such as Bombay or Tanqueray are a good example of dry gin.
This alcoholic drink can also be distinguished based on other factors such as flavors and aromas.
This is due to distilling botanicals, such as juniper, coriander, citrus peel, cinnamon, almond or licorice, with neutral grain alcohol.
Classic gins allow us to enjoy the simple yet defining taste of juniper and although this plant takes front stage, it is also combined with fresh citrusy accents that give it that specific dryness.
Technically speaking, classic gins are made from the fruit of Juniperus communis L. or Juniperus oxycedrus L. with a minimum alcohol volume of 30%. Examples of traditional gins are Plymouth Gin or Martin Miller’s.
Flavored gin has a distinctive character, capable of causing a splash with its increasingly sophisticated array of flavors.
One of the most popular flavored gins is the strawberry gin or the pink juniper gin, and a grand representative of this style of gin is the Spanish Puerto de Indias.
Citrus gins are made with oranges, lemons, and grapefruit which become the star flavors of the spirit and stand out from the rest of the botanicals used. A delicious example of citrus gin is Tanqueray Nº TEN or Beefeater 24.
Rosemary and basil are used in the production of herbal gin which gives it an unmistakable taste.
While the aromas might pack a punch, many people favor this type of gin and list Jodhpur London Dry Gin or The Duke - Munich Dry Gin as two of their favorite herbal gins.
There is a great variety of flowers that can be used in the distillation process of making gin, from roses to lilies.
Typically, the flowers have common traits with the botanical herbs used, although they are sweeter and less dry. Two impressive representatives of this style of gin are G’Vine Floraison or Port of Dragons 100% Flora.
This style of gin tends to stand out because of its strong character and a full aromatic spectrum of taste. The process of making spiced gin includes ingredients such as cinnamon, walnut, pepper, or angelica, as some of the most popular spices.
The most popular spiced spirits are Citadelle Gin or Bulldog Gin.
We will discover the best 15 brands of gin according to specialized ranking organizations such as World-Spirits Award.
Chosen as the best classic gin in the world, 1897 Quinine Gin is an exciting, innovative London Dry Gin which has been made using cinchona bark.
A well-balanced spirit, fresh and fruity, this spirit has a 45,8% Vol.
According to the World Gin Awards, this 42,40% Vol. spirit is considered the best compound gin.
Most of its appeal comes from the subtle vanilla, juniper, and marmalade flavors mixed with vibrant flavors of orange, cardamom, and clove.
Dubbed the best-flavored gin in the world, this exquisite drink contains sweet cherry flavors mixed with juniper, nougat and almond pie.
The Old Tom Gin is a style of gin that tastes sweeter than London Gin but not as much as Genever, the Dutch precursor to gin.
According to World Gin Awards, the Swedish brand Hernö Gin is the best Old Tom Gin in the world, with a sweet floral taste recognizable by its pine, honey, and spicy accents.
Houlle Brut de Fût de Genièvre de Houlle is a French gin with a warm, malty taste and discreet fresh hay aromas.
The taste is quite smooth, and the main botanical ingredients are anise, juniper, and other hot spices.
Considered one of the best Dry gins, Balfour is produced in the Netherlands and contains mint and walnut aromas, as well as floral accents and an impressive 47,3% Vol.
An excellent example of a London Dry Gin, Tanqueray Nº TEN is a fresh and rich double distilled spirit.
With a 47,3% Vol., this British flavored drink - contains grapefruit, orange, lime or chamomile, is probably the best product in the Martini portfolio.
This German spirit contains 47 botanicals infused with water from a natural spring. With a characteristic aroma and a citrusy flavor, this gin sports subtle nuances of licorice, cardamom, and juniper on top of a 47% Vol.
If you're new to the world of gin, then Hendrik's is the way to go. This refreshing and smooth Scottish brand will surprise you with its mix of botanical ingredients - it contains pepper instead of citrus, and it boasts a 41,4% alcohol content.