What Is the Best Gin? Things to Look for in a Great Gin

In recent years, gin has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in popularity and, these days, it’s the drink of choice for many. In this post, we discuss the qualities of the best gins and the characteristics you should look out for. Before we discuss the delightful drink that is gin, let’s first take a look at its origins. What is now known as gin was initially sold as a type of medicine called “genever”, which dates all the way back to 16th-century Holland. Although what was available during this period was created for medicinal purposes, the addition of juniper berries made it a flavoursome and aromatic recreational drink.   Then a little further down the line, during the Dutch War of Independence, British troops discovered and liked the spirit so much that they brought it home with them. Back in England, gin flourished and quickly became one of the nation’s favoured boozy beverages — so much so that the term “Gin Craze” was coined in reference to the period of time.

Tasting Good Gin

So what exactly is good gin, or even the best gin? Good-quality gin brings out the flavours and aromas of the botanicals that are added during the re-distillation process. A taste test between good-quality gin and lesser-quality gin will make it relatively easy to notice the contrast in the quality of both the ingredients and the distillation process. Here’s some advice for carrying out your own taste test:
  • Choose the right glass — one with an inward curve at the top, to trap the aromas and provide a better olfactory experience, as well as a stem to prevent your hands from warming the gin.
  • Appearance — hold your glass of gin in the light to look at its colour. The botanicals will emit colour in addition to the aromas.
  • Water — add an equal amount of still water to the gin. This will reduce the alcohol content and allow the full flavours and characteristics of the botanicals to flourish.
  • Swirl — swirling the gin around your glass adds some oxygen and collects the aromas around the rim.
  • Aroma — fill your lungs and take a long sniff of the gin. When doing so, attempt to detect notes of fruits, spice, citrus, flowers and even wood. A strong chemical odour is a sign that you have stumbled upon some poor-quality gin.
  • Taste — by now, it’s safe to say you deserve to taste it, so have a sip. You’ll notice the subtle hints of juniper and, in subsequent sips, enjoy the variety of unique flavours of the gin you’re drinking. Although juniper should, of course, be the most prominent taste, the other flavours should be noticeable and complement each other.

How to Pick the Best Gin

Unlike whiskies, wines and other drinks — with which you can refer to details such as an age-statement — determining the quality of a gin requires more of a hands-on approach. Thanks to our taste test instructions above, you’ll know exactly what to look for when you embark on your quest to find the best gin. Aside from buying a bottle of gin and giving it a whirl, or ordering your favourite gin-based cocktail at a bar and asking which brand they used — your best bet is to seek the advice of an expert. So feel free to contact us for a chat or come into our store to browse our gins. Why not check out our Top 10 Selling Gin Chart that is updated once a month.