When there’s a whole world of gin to choose from, how do you know which will make the most special presents? We’re here to help with our expert taste test of the most special, beautifully bottled gin.
Read on to discover our top picks for Christmas, birthdays and beyond. For more, visit our reviews section and find over 400 practical buyer’s guides, including taste tests of whisky, vodka, rum, brandy and more.
Best gins to buy as gifts 2020
Silent Pool (43% ABV)
Best bottle design
A gin that looks as great as it tastes – the aqua blue of the Silent Pool bottle is mesmerising. A delicious mix of chamomile, lavender and honey flavours, it’s made on the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills, so it’s a real product of its location. Wrapping up a bottle of this will definitely earn you brownie points.
Tappers Hydropathic Pudding (32% ABV)
Best for lovers of Pimm’s
Some gin drinkers prefer a flavoured variation that adds a certain sweetness to the overall drink. This particular bottle is classed as a ‘fruit cup’, or a gin-based drink flavoured with herbs, spices and fruits – the gin version of Pimm’s, essentially. Made in small batches in West Kirby, it’s perfect when mixed with lemonade and should be served cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Beefeater London dry (40% ABV)
Best classic gin
Nothing beats a classic, and Beefeater is arguably the grandfather of gins. Crafted in central London, the distilling process still utilises copper pot stills to this day and, from the distillery’s home in Kennington, you can see directly into the Oval cricket ground. With juniper at its heart and balanced with botanicals, Beefeater is best when simply mixed with tonic and ice. It never goes wrong as a decent bottle to give on special occasions, and is widely available in supermarkets if you need something last-minute.
No.3 London dry gin (47% ABV)
Best crowd-pleasing gin
Produced by Berry Bros & Rudd (the oldest wine and spirits merchant in the UK), this gin takes some beating. Expect to find citrus, cardamom and lashings of all-important juniper. No.3 subscribes to the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, and is all the better for it. Outstanding, simple and a crowd-pleaser.
Star of Bombay London dry gin (40% ABV)
Best gin for a spin on tradition
With its distinctive blue bottle, Star of Bombay is produced in the beautiful surroundings of the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill. It’s a punchy gin and is big on juniper, coriander and bergamot, bringing added intensity to your G&T. Do pay a visit to the distillery if you get the chance – its glasshouse is a thing of unadulterated beauty.
Death’s Door (47% ABV)
Best back-to-basics gin
In a world where most craft gins seem to stuff tons of botanicals into their recipes, this wonderful brand from America stands out for its simplicity. Death’s Door uses just three botanicals: juniper, coriander and fennel. The result is an earthy gin sure to impress for its outstanding balance.
Drinks by the Dram gin tasting set
Best gin gift for variation
Why try one gin when you can sample a flight of them? Drinks by the Dram specialise in tasting packs with a variety of different gins. Perfect for a small gift or someone still discovering which gins they prefer.
Four Pillars rare dry gin (41.8% ABV)
Best gin gift from across the globe
An Aussie gin built on the four pillars of a copper still, water from the Yarra Valley, local botanicals and a whole lotta love! Beautifully balanced, full-bodied and full of Aussie personality. A ray of sunshine from the southern hemisphere to chilly UK climates.
Abelforth’s bathtub gin (43.3% ABV)
Best gift for a gin novice
One of the new wave of gins to hit shelves in the past few years, this is ‘compounded’ by adding the botanicals to a neutral spirit and steeping until the flavour develops. The result is a gin that is delicate yet balanced – perfect for the beginner.
Few barrel-aged gin (46.5% ABV)
Best aged gin
Few is an independent outfit from Chicago where the distillers make their own spirits from scratch (a fairly rare occurrence). It is then redistilled with juniper, lemon peel, cassia bark and angelica before being enhanced by resting in an oak cask, which adds a vanilla complexity and golden colour.
Gin Mare (42.7% ABV)
Best gin for martini lovers
The martini is having a moment once again. The question is, how do you like yours? If you enjoy it with an olive rather than citrus zest, Gin Mare is the one for you. Rich and smooth, this Spanish gin has a distinct savoury backbone.
Hepple gin (45% ABV)
Best traditional English gin
When it comes to flavour, chefs know more than most. Hepple is distilled in the North East and is the brainchild of well-known chef and forager, Valentine Warner, and it shows. This is a gin made with passion and flavour at the very heart of it, and can be enjoyed simply over ice.
Martini riserva speciale ambrato (18% ABV)
Best vermouth to gift
Vermouth is to gin what McCartney was to Lennon: together they make a great pair, but as individuals, they’re also star performers. For anyone who is building a decent collection of different gins, try giving them a bottle of Martini’s latest. It’s spicy yet delicate, with blossoming elderflower notes.
Seedlip non-alcoholic spirit
Best ‘gin’ for non-drinkers
For someone who is teetotal or simply having a break from booze, Seedlip is the perfect go-to drink. Seedlip Garden 108 is a gin-like, alcohol-free distilled spirit that pairs brilliantly with tonic.
What’s your favourite gin? Leave a comment below…
This review was last updated in August 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.