The Best Gins I’ve Drank in Quarantine
1) Broker’s (the one with the little hat)
“No frills. No bells and whistles. No peculiar ingredients. Just a bowler hat and the World’s Best Gin.”
Building on the image of an archetypal London stockbroker as each bottle is adorned with a little bowler hat, Broker’s is a call back to the home of gin. Broker’s claims to be the World’s Best gin, given the amount of awards it has won over the last two decades, and they ain’t just whistling “God Save the Queen.”
Broker’s lists botanicals such as Bulgarian juniper and coriander seed, Madagascan cinnamon, Chinese cassia bark, Polish angelica root, Italian orris and liquorice, Caribbean nutmeg, and Spanish lemon and orange peels. The wheat based spirit goes through a quadruple distillation process in their copper pot still.
Not only is it the best tasting gin I’ve had, it’s also the cheapest. At $24 a bottle, it stands up to all of the previous gins, if not surpassing them.
All liquors have a true price point, the level where marketing takes the reigns from the spirit and leads the way to economic glory. Gin, oddly enough, is designed for cocktails.
Therefore, the question becomes how much do you pay for something that is going to be mixed? While the craft bourbon craze can run prices of Pappy Van Winkle and Blantons to the moon, the cost of gin needs to match the fact the spirit is going to be mixed, at minimum, with vermouth or tonic.
Broker’s solves this delimma, much like the standard Gordon’s, by making an amazing gin at a reasonable price. Plus, the addition of the hat makes this gold mine a win for any hipster or gin enthusiast.
The taste is perfectly balanced all around and stands out in a martini. Hit it with a twist or some orange bitters to really pull out the flavor, and this is hands down my favorite gin at the moment.
2) Beefeater 24
Beefeater is a standard, like Jack Daniels or Jose Cuervo. When people think of gin their mind usually runs to classics such as this; however, in the modern ear every liquor knows that consumers want more from their status quo. Jack may be Jack, but the iconic label has ten other varities of their traditional spirit.
Enter Beefeater 24. Gin is making a smash in the states as the spirit is running the course of craft bourbon. To meet the growing demand of gins that have more evolution than a Christmas Day, Beefeater launched 24 to the legacy.
Beefeater 24 is our Master Distiller’s contribution to the Beefeater legacy. Mad in London with 12 hand-selected botanicals, including Japanese Sencha and Chinese Green teas, it is a sophisticated and modern London Dry Gin, designed to inspire mixologists around the world.
Master distiller Desmond Payne came up with the concept while traveling through Japan and learning that quinine was banned. Thus, to create an alternative gin for the sweeter palate Desmond mixed Beefeater with chilled green tea.
The resulting flavor is something truly unique and inspiring. Building upon the base of a classic gin, the addition of tea into this mix creates a spirit that stands out in any cocktail. Classicists will prefer the old style to the new breed, but this gin still packs a punch with the juniper and will add a zest of flavor to any drink.
3) Monkey 47
It’s got a lot going on.
Look, Monkey 47 is good. It’s branding is brilliant. It’s website, while difficult to navigate, inspires a feeling of the past. It’s unique and doesn’t need tonic or vermouth to enjoy, one of the few gins I can say that about; however, it’s got a hefty pricetag.
Quality gin usually sits around the $30-$40 price range, with old faithfuls sitting in the $20s. Monkey 47 breaks the bank coming in around $70 for a 1L bottle (they sell smaller ones that fall into the typical price range).
The thing is, however, that as good as this gin is and as wild as all 47 botanicals taste together, I really can’t taste $30 more worth of deliciousness. Now, I understand that value is subjective. Champagne is champagne because it says it is champagne, and people who want to drink a Monkey 47 martini are probably going to tell you they are drinking a Monkey 47 martini. Hell, I will keep the bottle on my shelf just for conversation starters, but the gin, while good, simply doesn’t live up to the mystique.
It’s kind of like dating an Instagram model. It seems like a great idea at first, but once the illusion is broken the romance dies.
4) Tanqueray 10
“It’s what you put in”
Ahhh…the taste of pine. Look, the classic Tanqueray is a dealer’s choice of gin. Perfect in a gin and tonic, the classic Tanqueray is a bartender’s favorite; however, like Beefeater 24 Tanqueray 10 ups the ante.
This fancified gin adds an explosion of citrus to the mix and is a really well balanced gin.
While the Tanqueray Malacca is still my favorite of the Tanquerays, 10 is defiantly a staple worth keeping on the shelf. It removes the need for orange bitters in a martini if that’s your thing, but leaves the door open for other evolutions.
I mean, come on. It’s a style and a brand. This gin simply just is. It’s such a solid liquor that I feel sort of silly listing it, however, I never tried it until COVID.
If it doesn’t have juniper, it’s not gin, and Plymouth is certainly gin. With a bit more citrus than they give it credit for, Plymouth is a damn fine gin.
It’s brand shucks the oddities of Hendricks or Monkey 47 for simple sailor roots. This bartender beast is not going to blow your mind with evolution or pretend to be anything but a solid staple.