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9 best gins to try in 2021: Our favourite gins for every budget

Kate Hilpern
24 Aug 2021
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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 your gin, we've got a list of our favourite gin glasses below too.

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.

READ NEXT: Upgrade your G&T with the best tonic water


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. The vapours reach the alcohol as they pass through a still with an attachment called a gin head. Great for cocktails and martinis.

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. The gin of choice in the 19th century, it used only to be available only in the UK, but other countries now produce it too. Great for older 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.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best vodka you can buy

The best gins to buy

1. Ramsbury Single Estate Gin: The best classic gin

Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon

We 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 specs – Alcohol content: 40%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

2. Bloom Gin: Best budget floral gin

Price: £25 | Buy now from 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 specs – Alcohol content: 40%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

3. Herno Old Tom gin: Best Old Tom gin

Price: £33 | Buy now from 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 specs – Alcohol content: 43%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: Sweden

Buy now from Master of Malt


4. LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin: Best lemon gin

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

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

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

Price: £39 | Buy now from 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 specs – Alcohol content: 42% Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: UK

6. Gin Mare: Best Mediterranean-style gin

Price: £32 | Buy now from 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 specsAlcohol content: 42.7%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: Spain

7. Caleño: The best non-alcoholic gin-like spirit

Price: £18 (50cl) l Buy now from Amazon

If you’re in the mood for a gin-like drink without the headaches the following morning, then the tropical-infused Caleño might be just the ticket. Flavoured with South American ingredients such as Juniper and Inca berries, and infused with a handful of citrus and spice botanicals, Caleño is a non-alcoholic alternative for gin drinkers that are hoping to curb consumption without compromising flavour.

A refreshing drink with a subtle hint of spice, Caleño is a fine addition to your drinks cabinet, regardless of whether or not you’re the designated driver.

Key specsAlcohol content: 0% Bottle sizes: 20cl, 50cl, 70cl; Country of origin: England

8. CleanCo CleanGin: Best low-alcohol gin

Price: £21 | Buy now from Amazon

Most 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 specsAlcohol content: 1.2%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

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

Price: £25| Buy now from 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 specs – Alcohol content: 57%; Bottle size: 70cl; Country of origin: England

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