The best gin taste tested

Drinks expert Leon Dalloway sips his way through a selection of the best new-wave, artisan gins to find his must-buy bottles, complete with tasting notes.

Parisan gin and tonic in a glass with lemon and bay leaf

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Gin is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s on the lips of bar-goers and drink lovers everywhere as it enjoys a resolute renaissance. The juniper elixir is now produced in all corners of the globe and the gin industry is absolutely thriving in the UK. 

Here I’ve picked my favourite gins, and I’ve focused on what makes each gin unique. The botanicals I discuss are ingredients that showcase the variety of the drink in the modern age. All gins must use juniper and most also use citrus peels along with some spices – hopefully, once you read about the other components, you’ll find the right gin for you.

For more unbiased expert buyer's guides, visit our reviews section to find 200+ round-ups including taste tests of rum, vodka, whisky, plus the best gins to buy as a gift and plenty more gin inspiration.

The best gin to buy

Victory gin bottle on white background

Victory Gin

Inspired by George Orwell’s novel 1984 and cold-distilled by booze aficionado Max Chater, this super small-batch creation is a gin full of intrigue. Chater creates his potion in a basement on the south side of Tower Bridge in London. During distillation, Victory Gin never rises above 48 degrees Celsius and the botanicals see no heat whatsoever, therefore the gin harnesses the lighter oils from the botanicals only. It's uniquely flavoured, with an instantly iconic label.

 

 

Warner Edwards gin

Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin

The flavoured gin to end all other flavoured gins. For this version, Tom Warner and Sion Edwards take their classic Harrington Dry Gin and instead of diluting the distillate with water they use pressed Queen Victoria rhubarb juice. Sound utterly delicious? It is, with a royal stamp of approval to boot.

 

 

Manchester three rivers gin on white backgroundManchester Three Rivers Gin

Manchester Three Rivers only started producing tasty liquid in 2016. A stone’s throw away from Manchester’s Northern Quarter, master distiller Dave Rigby has produced a gin of intrigue and ease. It harnesses a creaminess that has the nostalgic nose of a Murray Mint. Rigby adds oats to a traditional selection of botanicals that serves to offer a smooth mouthfeel. Best when stirred with a touch of dry vermouth and an olive (or three).

 

 

Burleigh's gin on white backgroundBurleigh’s London Dry Gin

You can find Burleighs Distillery near the Burleigh Wood in Leicestershire. Creator Jamie Baxter was wandering through the woods and struck gold in the form of the silver birch tree, which he combines with elderberry, dandelion and burdock to create a gin that soars with a eucalyptus and menthol flavour profile. Baxter and his team frequently roll out special editions, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

Silent Pool

Silent Pool Gin

Made in the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills, this gin takes its name from the mystical pool that the distillery resides beside. The gin is a sublime distillation using two distinct styles of juniper, then lavender, orange, pear, camomile, elderflower, Essex-grown kaffir lime leaves, linden flowers and rose petals, among others, adding a touch of excitement. This is a new gin making serious waves in the juniper world.

 

St George Gin St George Terroir Gin

This distillery is situated in a former aircraft hangar over the bay from San Francisco. They produce gins, absinthe and a coffee liqueur, but the jewel in St George’s crown is their Terroir gin. It has a taste that’s as refreshing as fresh rainfall, and it features a hint of Douglas fir and all sorts of other delicious piney notes. A sip of this will have you feeling like you’re strolling through Yosemite National Park!

 

East London gin on white background

East London Liquor Co Batch 2 Gin

East London Liquor Company fired up their stills in the summer of 2014, and they wasted no time in announcing themselves to the world with this belter of a gin. Lavender, sage, fennel and thyme all provide lovely herbal flavours, producing an English summer garden style of gin, perfect for sunny afternoons and balmy evenings. Plus, it packs a delightful punch at 47% ABV.

 

Elephant Gin

Elephant Gin

Not only does this gin taste amazing, the owners give 15% of all profits to two charities that focus on elephant conservation. They use five botanicals native to Africa, including baobab, blended with more classic European-style botanicals such as elderflower and apple. Complex, yet distinct in delivery.

 

Greenhook gin on white background
Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin

This gin uses a vacuum style of distillation which allows the process to occur at a much cooler temperature. This harnesses the lighter, more aromatic oils of the botanicals, which include camomile, elderflower and ginger, creating a harmonious balance of flavour that is difficult to produce at higher temperatures. The result is a stunningly well-balanced gin.

 

Deaths Door gin on white background

Death’s Door

Death’s Door distillery rip up the rule book by using only three botanicals. They solely use botanicals that grow wild on their native Washington Island in Lake Michigan: juniper, fennel and coriander seed. It’s simple yet beautiful. The dramatic name derives from the notoriously choppy body of water that passes by Washington Island.

 

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What's your favourite gin? We'd love to hear your product suggestions in the comments below... 

This review was last updated in February 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk. 

Comments, questions and tips

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1jus.barton@gma...
27th Apr, 2020
Sky Wave Gin is fabulous : a wave of taste which is as smooth as it is refreshing! The London Dry is my favourite and I can buy it in 500ml, 200ml or even 50ml bottles, whatever is most appropriate for the occasion !
Moira S
23rd May, 2018
The Botanist Gin from Isaly is my favourite.
Dawn Spruill's picture
Dawn Spruill
10th Jan, 2018
You are missing by far the best Scottish Gin out there. Pickering Gin is by far the best we tasted on our trip through Scotland.
rosyposyd
16th Nov, 2017
Sheffield Gin and Sir Robin of Locksley gin for me, both smooth and do not taste too overwhelmingly of juniper.
surfnirvana's picture
surfnirvana
15th Nov, 2017
I can highly recommend British Polo Gin. Organic and made in small batches by artisans. Botanical and absolutely delicious. They also do a very smooth Sloe Gin :0)
sarah gurnhill
15th Nov, 2017
I love the edinburgh gin company, especially the rhubarb and ginger. But my favourite so far is Audemus pink pepper Gin!
linzechris
5th Nov, 2017
Pin Gin from Louth in Lincolnshire is full of botanical flavours and is beautifully smooth. I am very proud that it is produced locally. Most of our local bars serve it. If you try it don't tell anyone or they might not be able to produce enough and run out!
whatscookin
27th Feb, 2017
There is another Irish Gin causing a stir over here at the moment - Gunpowder Gin produced in the NorthWest of the country in Leitrim - very tasty!
whatscookin
27th Feb, 2017
There is another Irish produced Gin called Gunpowder - produced in the northwest of the country in Leitrim - excellent I must say.
andyshep
11th Dec, 2016
Just discovered Salcombe Gin from South Devon. Simply the best!......

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paulasiegers
28th Jan, 2017
Some tips from across the North Sea where the mother of all gins is made for centuries already. We started our own small but quite international (Dutch, Danish, Irish, Scottish) gin tasting club in May 2016. We get together every month and try 3 new G&T's then. Our best tips so far: - Bobby's Schiedam (nice & spicy) to go with orange & cloves - Hermit (Dutch) and Møn (Danish) (dry & salty) to go with grapefruit & samphire - Hanami (Dutch) (flowery) to go with berries and/or hibiscus