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We Asked 14 Bartenders: What’s the Best New Gin That’s Earned a Spot on Your Bar? (2024)

Gin can be divisive. People may love it or hate it, and many don’t think much about its flavors beyond the juniper kick it traditionally brings to a Martini. But gin is an enormous category, and within, you’ll find everything from centuries-old flagships to new, small-batch products boasting fresh takes on botanicals. Exploring this wide array of offerings can take a simple gin cocktail from run-of-the-mill to revolutionary.

For guidance, we asked bartenders and beverage directors from across the country to tell us about the best new gin they’ve recently added to their back bars. Their answers span the spectrum of new and new-to-them, and range from classic London Dry expressions to bottles inspired by the terroirs of California, Mexico, and India. In short: there’s never been a better time to make a Vesper or Gin & Tonic.

The best new gin, according to bartenders:

Canaïma Gin
EcoSpirits Widges Gin
No. 3 London Dry Gin
Ki No Tea Kyoto Dry Gin
Condesa Gin Clásica
Abrojo Gin Alivio Al Alma Green Label
Neversink Spirits Gin
Aczu Gin
St. George Valley Gin
Rebel City Distillery Maharani Irish Gin
Tenjaku Gin
Grey Whale Gin
Cutler’s Gin
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Sardinian Citrus
Beyond Distilling Company Tropical Gin

“I would have to say Canaïma, a small-batch gin with a unique choice of botanicals sourced from the Amazon rainforest. It’s robust, tropical, and grassy — excellent for a Vesper.” —Christopher Rodriguez, Cantinero, Cafe La Trova, Miami

“Widges Gin by EcoSpirits. This is a classic London Dry that pops with citrus and pine. Something that makes [the brand] special is its focus on low-carbon and low-waste production and distribution. I think that’s really cool.” —Alex Velasquez, area general manager, Lost Boy Dry Goods and Fox’s Lounge, Miami

“The No. 3 London Dry Gin is one of the best gins we have recently added. It has the perfect balance of three essential flavors: juniper, citrus, and spice. It’s ideal for any type of cocktail elaborated with gin, as it is refreshing, clean, and crisp. Vale!” —Yaniel Rodriguez, bartender, OSUMI Cocktail & Sushi Bar, Coral Gables, Fla.

“Two new gins that have made their way to our back bar are Ki No Tea Gin from the Kyoto Distillery and Condesa Gin Clasica from [Mexico City’s] Flor de Luna Distillery. Both gins have a unique botanical profile that are representative of their terroir, and we have similar uses from both as they are so incredibly expressive. Due to their delicate and complex profiles, both gins rock in a dry Martini or Spanish-style Gin & Tonic.” —Brandon Ristaino, cofounder and beverage director, Good Lion Hospitality, Santa Barbara, Calif.

“One of my favorite new gins that has earned a spot on my bar is Abrojo’s Green Label Gin. It’s from Oaxaca, Mexico, and [made by] maestro mezcalero Gonzalo Martinez, who is known for producing Macurichos, a delicious mezcal brand. He upcycles leftover agave fibers that would normally be discarded to produce this very special unique gin. It smells smoky but tastes very earthy, herbaceous, and vegetal.” —Engracio Clemena, beverage manager, La Societe at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, San Francisco

“Neversink. This gin is made from scratch in New York from local apples and botanicals that go well with apples: fresh citrus, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and elderflower. The mouthfeel is round and textured, but the finish is dry and crisp. This is my go-to gin for a Last Word or any herbal cocktail.” —Krissy Harris, co-owner, Jungle Bird, NYC

“One of my favorite new gins is Aczu out of Andalusia. This gin, born from pandemic times, is built like a London Dry with 11 botanicals [including] the beautiful citrus and spice of southern Spain. It is then rested in stainless for seven months, which causes the juniper to mellow out and the citrus notes to come to the foreground.” —Collin Griffith, beverage director, Corrida, Boulder, Colo.

“St. George Valley Gin has earned a spot on our bar. The gin, released in May, captures the idea of a spring day in a California citrus grove through the use of local citrus blossoms that shine beautifully in the final product. What I love about it is the versatility it offers [in cocktails] from Vespers to Gimlets. The floral flavor shines and offers a depth and complexity that is so intriguing.” —Keenan Davis, bar director, Che Fico, San Francisco

“I love Maharani, which is distilled in Ireland with spices from India. It represents the flavors of two cities, thousands of miles apart: The spirit is distilled in Cork with spices like cassia and nutmeg sourced from a women’s organic farming collective in Kerala. [Made] by a husband-and-wife team, this is a bright and lively gin.” —Akshar Chalwadi, head bartender, Indienne, Chicago

“Tenjaku Gin from Japan has won my heart for its elegance and smoothness. Made in the London Dry style but with moderate juniper, Tenjaku uses classic Japanese aromatics of green tea, yuzu, and sansho pepper and incorporates fresh peaches. It all blends together harmoniously and the result is deliciously sippable all on its own. An excellent gin to showcase in a simple Martini!” —Jim Lunchick, mixologist, Merriman’s Waimea, Waimea, Hawaii

“Grey Whale. The locally sourced botanicals make this gin special. Mint, almonds, kelp, and fir are the dominant flavors while the juniper whispers through. Super clean and incredibly delicate, Grey Whale has become my go-to for the classic Martini. As a bonus, a portion of their success goes to oceanic preservation. A win-win, in my opinion.” —Christian Taibi, bar czar, Mahina & Sun’s at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, Honolulu

“Cutler’s Gin has earned a spot on our bar for its bright, California citrus nose layered with delicate floral botanicals, spiced cardamom, and juniper berries. Handcrafted and distilled in Santa Barbara, it’s a local favorite for a refreshing Martini or summertime Negroni.” —Christine Tran, director of food & beverage, Finch & Fork Restaurant at Kimpton Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara, Calif.

“The best new gin I’ve had in the past few years is hands-down Drumshanbo Gunpowder Sardinian Citrus. Their base-level gin is always on my back bar, but this one brings a punchy citrus character that can stand up in stirred and shaken drinks. It’s hard to pin down a favorite use, but it shines best in simple applications like a Gimlet or a Negroni riff.” —Patrick Nikel, lead mixologist, Daisy Lounge, Austin

“My new favorite gin is Beyond Distilling Tropical Gin. They are local to us here in Charleston. This gin is a take on a London Dry with traditional notes of juniper berry, citrus, and coriander combined with melon, pineapple, and mango. The flavors pack a punch, and it’s a great cocktail gin! The distillery is also owned by three amazing people who employ adults with disabilities, [a cause] near and dear to my heart!” —Amanda Phelps, beverage manager, Hotel Emeline, Charleston

*Image retrieved from Pavel via stock.adobe.com

The article We Asked 14 Bartenders: What’s the Best New Gin That’s Earned a Spot on Your Bar? (2024) appeared first on VinePair.

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