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8 best gins to try in 2023: Our favourite gins for every budget

Be it dry, craft or Old Tom, these are the very best gins for cocktails and G&Ts

Gin is always in and to celebrate, we’ve found some of the best gin from across the globe. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of gin types, all based on the humble juniper berry and each with their own different origins, styles and flavour profiles. From micro-distilleries that put all their effort into a small selection of gin, to the big distilleries that produce gin alongside a range of other spirits, there’s undoubtedly more gin in the world than you’ll ever be able to try.

So how do you choose the best gin in such a saturated market? What are the options and which are the best of the best? While we haven’t tried every gin in the world, we’ve supped enough to consider ourselves knowledgeable on the subject; knowledgeable enough to provide the answers to those questions and more. Oh, and if you need something with a bit of pizazz from which to drink, read about our favourite goblet, highball and Copa de Balon glasses befitting any of the classic G&Ts and gin cocktails you’ll be fixing.

If you want to know more about gin, our guide below will give you a good idea of what to look out for when buying. Those already in the know should keep scrolling to find our top picks from fab budget gins to special occasion tipples.

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Best gin: At a glance

How to choose the best gin for you

What types of gin are there?

London dry gin: The best-known and most popular type of gin, this has flowery and aromatic characteristics, which result from botanicals, mainly juniper, being added during the second or third distillation. It doesn’t have to be produced in England’s capital city as the name may imply, but instead involves the botanical vapours reaching the alcohol after passing through a “gin head” still. Great for cocktails and martinis.

Navy Strength Gin: A subset of London dry gin is this extra strong variant, once commonly drunk by those in the British Royal Navy. It’s powerful, packing a punch of at least 57% ABV compared to the 40 to 45% peaks of London dry gin.

Plymouth Gin: Another London gin variety you may come across, this gin can only be named Plymouth Gin if distilled in Plymouth, England. Today, there is only one distillery left in the region, which has been open for 200 years. Great for those who enjoy London gin but want a stronger, earthier kick.

Craft gin: This more modern type of gin uses the same distilling process as traditional gin, but is typically infused with additional (and sometimes surprising) flavours, pushing the envelope of the spirit’s more traditional characteristics. Gins in this category are otherwise known as “new western gins”.

Old Tom gin: A sweetened version of London dry gin, with syrup and/or citrus notes, this was the gin of choice in the 19th century. It used to only be available in the UK, but other countries now produce it, as it’s having something of a renaissance in recent times. Great for traditional gin cocktail recipes, including Tom Collins.

Genever gin: Otherwise known as Schiedam gin, this Dutch and Belgian version of gin is the oldest there is. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it is – rather like whisky – distilled from malted grain mash and is often aged in oak casks. You can get two types – old Genever, which is sweet, aromatic and straw-coloured and young Genever, which is lighter and dryer.

Sloe gin: This red liqueur is gin flavoured with sloe (blackthorn) drupes – a small fruit that’s a relative of the plum. The traditional production method involves soaking the sloes in the gin, using sugar to ensure the sloe juice is extracted from the fruit, but many commercial sloe gins are made by flavouring cheaper neutral grain spirits.

How we test gin

Here at Expert Reviews, we test our alcohol by drinking it. Now, it may seem like the best job in the world – and don’t get us wrong, it’s pretty good – but we have a specific process for choosing the best spirits to recommend. We first test our gin on its own – if you’re considering a bottle of gin, you want to be sure it’s top-quality before you’ve even got to the mixer. We assess whether it matches the bottle description, as well as making any of our own tasting notes. Following the standalone test, we pair our gin with its most trusted companion – tonic – to see if it will satisfy the taste buds on a summer’s day. But we don’t stop there. After testing our gin with mixers, we shake it up with a cocktail. It’s important to know whether it meets the high standards we set.

With gin coming in such a variety of styles, it’s up to us to ensure the flavours are true. We look for the distinctive or interesting flavours that could make or break a drink. We also focus on comparing the taste and quality against similar products within that price range to ask the pressing question – is the gin good value for money? By taking these factors into consideration, we’re able to select a delectable list of favourites suitable for every taste.

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The best gins you can buy in 2023

1. Ramsbury Single Estate Gin: Best classic gin

Price when reviewed: £31 | Check price at AmazonWe think Ramsbury’s gin has it all. It’s impressively smooth even without tonic, while its delicate sweet notes make it very drinkable. It’s produced, bottled and hand-labelled all within the boundaries of the Ramsbury Estate in Wiltshire but you don’t need to know all that to see it’s a special gin.

The clean, almost toffee-like taste really stood out from the other gins we tried and it’s as fantastic with tonic as it is in a martini.

Key details – Alcohol content: 40%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

2. Bloom Gin: Best budget floral gin

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at Amazon

The two most common words associated with this gin – which comes in a pretty tall bottle – are “floral” and “perfumey”, which, unsurprisingly, puts many people off even trying it. But we think this gentle, easy-drinking gin is a corker – and one of the best to give people who are normally not keen gin-drinkers, both because the juniper doesn’t dominate and due to the slightly-sweeter-than-most citrus flavours.

Made from a blend of three botanicals – honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo – serve it with tonic and strawberries to maximise the flavour profile. It’s great value too.

Key details – Alcohol content: 40%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

3. Herno Old Tom gin: Best Old Tom gin

Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at Master of Malt

Deliciously sweet and fragrant, Herno’s Old Tom is an instant classic. It has all the stand-out flavours you’d expect from Old Tom gin including punchy juniper, light floral notes and a soft honey-like sweetness. To make this super-smooth variation, Herno takes its classic dry gin and adds a touch of sugar, as well as extra Meadowsweet – a herbaceous flower from the rose family with a mild, sweet aroma.

Between 2012 and 2017, Herno was the most awarded gin brand in the world. This particular variation has scooped numerous awards, including two World Gin awards for the world’s best gin and an International Wine and Spirit Competition award for outstanding quality. It’s certainly one of the best Old Tom’s we’ve ever tried and is absolutely stunning in a classic G&T, as well as a variety of gin-based cocktails.

Key details – Alcohol content: 43%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: Sweden

4. LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin: Best lemon gin

Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Ocado

LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin is one of a line of new spirits from BrewDog, a brewing company most famous for its beers and ales. This gin isn’t complex but if you love the taste of bitter lemonade, it might just blow your mind. It’s deliciously tangy and when paired with a classic tonic, it’s the ultimate grown-up soft drink.

It’s reasonably priced too, which is lucky because it’s so drinkable you’ll be buying another bottle in no time.

Key details – Alcohol content: 40%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: Scotland

Check price at Ocado

5. Colwith Farm Aval Dor Cornish Dry Gin: Best British small-batch gin

Price when reviewed: £43 | Check price at Amazon

For those seeking a more mellow, laid back gin, this small batch offering from Colwith Farm Distillery is worth your attention. It’s light on the juniper and coriander, with heavy lemon peel and fresh fruit flavours on the tongue. On the finish you get a short, clean spicy note that doesn’t hang around for too long, making this a superbly smooth and enjoyable gin.

We loved it in a classic G&T, but think the mellow flavours would also lend themselves well to cocktails.

Key details – Alcohol content: 42% Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: UK

6. Gin Mare: Best Mediterranean-style gin

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at Amazon

You’ll be hard pushed to find a decent bar that doesn’t stock this unique Mediterranean-style gin. The name means “sea”, and with arbequina olives, basil, rosemary and thyme added to the usual botanicals, it’s more savoury and herbal than most – yet still beautifully delicate, smooth and aromatic.

Indeed, despite the additional ingredients, it’s well accepted by gin purists and makes a great starting point for luring newbies into the wonderful world of gin. Ditch the lime garnish for a simple sprig of rosemary, orange peel or basil.

Key detailsAlcohol content: 42.7%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: Spain

7. Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin Navy Strength: Best navy-strength gin

Price when reviewed: £46 | Check price at Amazon

A three-time winner at the World Gin Awards, this complex gin is stronger than the original Bathtub gin – apologies in advance for the hangover – but also has more oomph in the taste department, as the botanicals are bashed up to extract more flavour.

Produced in small batches by cold compounding (which gives it a straw hue), it comes in a unique brown-paper-and-string wrapped bottle that’s then wax-sealed. Both earthy and woody, it’s delish, and at 57% ABV it packs a hell of a kick: if you’re wondering where the term “navy-strength” comes from, it’s because the British navy reputedly used to require gin to be so strong that, if it was accidentally splashed on gunpowder, the powder would still ignite.

Key details – Alcohol content: 57%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

8. CleanCo Clean G: Best low-alcohol gin

Price when reviewed: £16 | Check price at CleanCoMost low to no alcohol gins are perfectly delicious but they’re not quite the same as enjoying a real G&T. CleanCo is trying to change that with this take on a London dry gin. Taste-wise there’s a citrusy grapefruit note on top with a mild little juniper kick to follow. The flavours are fairly subtle, but still definitely what you’d expect from a classic. This low-alcohol alternative has another trick up its sleeve, however – a unique mouth-feel.

One of the best experiences of drinking a real gin is that lingering dry finish on the tongue, which you don’t typically get with gin-like alternatives. While CleanCo was reluctant to tell us exactly how it’s done (trade secrets), it says its use of glycerol over sugar and unique distillation techniques are responsible for the authentic experience you get. If you’re thinking of cutting down on alcohol but want to recreate a real gin experience, this is worth a try.

Key detailsAlcohol content: >0.5%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

Check price at CleanCo

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