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Friday, July 12, 2024

The Best Gin Brands in the World

Gin – it’s about as English as it gets. Classy, delicate, floral. Sit back and picture yourself sitting under the shade of a veranda, it’s hot, and the view is picturesque as you watch small waves lap gently onto the nearby beach. It’s perfect, or nearly perfect, as a situation like this can always be improved with a chilled glass of gin and tonic. But understandably, you want to ensure this moment is christened with the help of one of the best gin brands in the world.

Viewed as a quintessentially English drink, the concept of gin was actually pinched from the Dutch, and when you think about it, what’s more English than stealing an idea and pawning it off as your own? It’s thought that the Dutch liqueur jenever arrived on English shores around the turn of the 17th century. By the mid-17th century, everyone was calling it gin and this new spirit quickly overtook brandy as one of the most popular drinks in the nation. One hundred years later — thanks to the legalization of unlicensed gin production — England had gone completely gin mad, a period known as the Gin Craze.

Everything continues ticking along nicely when in the 1820s the column still was invented, making the distillation of a neutral spirit far easier, popularizing London Dry Gin. British troops in tropical countries would mix gin with quinine — one of the only substances known to combat malaria — and so the gin and tonic was invented (quinine was dissolved in carbonated water making tonic water). At this point, the concept of the best gin brand was unimaginable – gin was gin, plain and simple.

Throughout the 20th century, there were a few main players: Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire, to name a few. Until the early 2010s when there was another gin boom, with small independent distilleries popping up and entering the fray. Gins of all kinds flooded the market – pink, orange, spicy, gins that change color, and even gins that don’t taste like gin at all. 

Now the dust — or rather the juniper — has finally started to settle, consumers are left wondering, what actually is the best gin in the world? Well, Elite Traveler has compiled a list of the best gins in the business, from the ultra-luxury to independent hidden gems, these are some of the best gins to slip into your next cocktail.

Seventy One Gin

Seventy One Gin
Seventy One Gin / ©Seventy One Gin

Let’s kick things off with a bang, or perhaps more apt a spray. You don’t even have to squint to mistake this gin for a bottle of cologne, something creator Mert Alas will likely be pleased about given that’s exactly what he was going for.

Supposedly fashion photographer Alas particularly enjoyed a gin on the rocks before heading out and hitting the town. So much so in fact, he spent four years making his own, the nod to a bottle of cologne evoking this pre-night-out ritual.    

Crafted from hand-picked botanicals, blended and then rested in oak casks for how long? Yep, that’s right, 71 days. Seventy One Gin has positioned itself in a corner of the market few other gin brands have attempted, the luxury side. In this department, looks count just as much as taste, thankfully this bottle brings both. Part ornament, part tipple, those looking to elevate their gin game to the highest echelons can do a lot worse than Seventy One Gin.

$187, seventyonegin.com

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Solaro Capri Gin

Solaro Capri Gin
Solaro Capri Gin / ©Solaro Capri Gin

In the search for the best gins in the world, perhaps we need something a touch more Mediterranean. Solaro Capri Gin could possibly be the answer. Taking its name from the highest mountain on the beautiful Italian island of Capri, Monte Solaro, this gin provides a smooth, refreshing mix of aromatics. Think citrus and complex spices that conjure the essence of punchy vibrancy that perfectly reflects this place in the sun.

Offering something totally different from a classic London dry, this gin is made from a selection of botanicals local to Capri, such as zagara or lemon blossom from Monte Solaro, sun-soaked red juniper from Cilento, minto from Sorrento, in addition to Amalfi lemon peel and leaf which brings a citrus burst.

Aside from the impressive gin, the bottle itself is quite the looker. Ceramic bottles are handcrafted by a family of local artisans with each one taking a week to make. The pattern emblazoned on the ceramic was inspired by the iconic clocktower that sits in Capri’s main square. When it comes to the best gin brands, those looking for a tipple that captures the essence of Italian summer should look no further than a bottle of Solaro Capri Gin.

$120, solarogin.com

Papa Salt Coastal

Papa Salt Coastal Gin
Papa Salt Coastal Gin / ©Papa Salt

Among the vast swathes of gin available on the market today, a new category has emerged in celebrity gin. From Ryan Reynolds to Snoop Dog and Marco Pierre White, they are all getting in on the action, but Papa Salt Coastal is taking a more subtle approach.

This award-winning gin from Australia comes from Josey McNamara, Tom Ackerley, Regan Riskas, Charlie Maas and Margot Robbie. The story, five friends passionate about gin decide to make their own. Looking to remove the stuffiness, this serve is described as an easy-drinking gin made for sharing.

Using a mixture of native Australian botanicals, in addition to wax flower, citrus peel and hibiscus with a hint of minerality that actually comes from oyster shell. It’s a gin that’s capable of a lot, from complementing a soda, to a classic G and T and of course, a martini. If you’re thinking of having more than one, this easy-drinking gin has your name on it.

$57, papasaltgin.com

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Watenshi best gin in the world
Watenshi / ©Cambridge Distillery

In the world of luxury, there are different levels. From enjoying the finer things in life to the audaciously absurd, there’s a scale to this business. Falling to a particular side of that scale is Watenshi, marketed as the world’s most exclusive gin. But is this interesting serve from UK brand Cambridge Distillery one of the best gins in the world?

In the process of distillation, a tiny fraction of spirit will always escape. Most distilleries forgo this and just chalk it off as a minute loss. But not Cambridge Distillery. Using a complex process that requires atmospheric pressure half that of what is found at the summit of Everest, in addition to some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded on Earth, that small amount that is lost can be saved. It’s about 15 ml for every run.

So to eke out a single bottle, it will require almost 50 separate distillations. Serious effort for a single bottle, but the liquid at the end is a medium-bodied gin with subtle yuzu citrus flavor and a base of sansho and juniper. It’s a bold idea and carries a price to match, but if you’re looking to turn the extravagance up to the max, a bottle of Watenshi could be the way to go.   

$3,800, cambridgedistillery.com

Silent Pool Black Juniper Gin

best gin in the world Silent pool
Silent Pool Black Juniper / ©Silent Pool

Silent Pool remains one of the most popular gins in England, and this particular bottle remains the absolute pinnacle of their production. Silent Pool Black Juniper Gin is crafted with the rarest juniper, in addition to a selection of exotic botanicals like oud and cloud tea, all to develop a layered gin experience.

This ultra-rare juniper comes from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, only growing 13,000 ft above sea level in crisp mountain air, and is picked by a select team who know exactly where to find this delicate resource.

The final result is a gin that brings a silky mouthfeel, with notes of strong juniper that fade into perfumed agarwood. A spicy pepper foundation is complemented by different tea flavors and even a touch of caramel. This luxurious bottle from Silent Pool could be the ideal way to add a touch of the Himalayas to your next gin night.  

$373, silentpooldistillers.com

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Nolet’s Reserve Gin

Nolet's Reserve
Nolet’s Reserve / ©Nolet’s

Given the Dutch essentially invented Gin, it makes sense to include a Dutch brand in this list. Thankfully a distiller in the Netherlands, Nolet’s produces a particularly special bottle. Inspired to develop a bottle like no other, 10th-generation distillery owner Carolus Nolet Sr set about creating Nolet’s Reserve.

Available annually by allocation only, Carolus Nolet Sr has spent over four decades perfecting this particular spirit. It’s partly its extreme exclusivity, but also the incredibly rare ingredients which make this gin so special. Designed to be sipped neat and over ice, this serve is truly for gin lovers.

Providing notes of warm, spicy saffron and a delicate verbena. This gin brings a subtlety that true connoisseurs will appreciate. As one of the hardest gins in the world to actually attain, if you’re interested it’s best to start inquiring about the next release as soon as possible. Each bottle is individually numbered by hand and set in a prestigious display box, so aside from an impressive gin, you’re also purchasing a slice of history.

POA, noletsgin.com  

Procera Blue Dot

Procera Blue Dot
Procera Blue Dot / ©Procera

To finish our romp through some of the best gin brands in the world, let’s go with something a little different, an African gin. From Kenya’s equatorial city of Nairobi comes Procera, an African gin company that’s looking to innovate. Be it the zero waste distillation system which conserves water, or the utilization of recycled glass bottles, sustainability sits at the heart of this business.

Procera Blue Dot includes the essence of 11 botanicals from all over Africa, from the plains of Morocco to Indian Ocean islands, however, the bulk of this gin’s punch comes from Juniperus Procera berries. These berries are added fresh as opposed to dry like many other gin producers. What results is a gin with a nutty and bright flavor, representing the great African terroir in which it’s made.

Coming as naturally as possible in hand-blown glass, without a label and only including a wood stopper and a piece of leather, this small batch gin is the ideal tipple for those looking to be a little more eco-conscious with their spirits.

$96, proceragin.com

[See also: The Best Scotch Whisky Collections to Invest in (and Drink)]

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