Exceptional Gins To Drink On World Gin Day And Beyond
If you’re like me, you don’t need an excuse to celebrate gin. The G&T has long been my go-to drink, and I love a French 75, gimlet, negroni, or other gin-based cocktail.
So while we might not need a designated day to sip this juniper-infused spirit, today — World Gin Day — is a good reminder that there are always new and exciting gins to try. Made in varying styles, with a wide range of botanicals and other distinctive ingredients, each is unique. Here are some of the most notable gins to try on World Gin Day and beyond, along with cocktail recipes so you can mix, shake, and stir them up in creative cocktails at home.
There’s a bit of black magic in this singular black gin from New Zealand-based Scapegrace Distillery.
Pour the blue-black-colored spirit into ice-filled cocktail glasses for you and your friends. Then watch their faces as you play mixologist and magician, topping off the glasses with tonic water and changing the color to a bright red or dreamy pinkish-lavender.
The world’s first color-changing gin isn’t made with any artificial tricks or ingredients. In addition to the usual juniper, it’s just a collection of natural extracts (including chokeberries, butterfly pea flower, pineapple, and saffron) that cause the color to transform when combined with tonic water, creating a magical cocktail moment in the blink of an eye.
New from Gin Mare (AKA my favorite Spanish gin), this citrusy spirit is inspired by the idyllic Mediterranean island of Capri.
The sunshine-in-a-bottle spirit is infused with lemons from Capri and Calabrian bergamot, along with the distiller’s four core botanicals: Italian sweet basil, rosemary from Greece, Turkish thyme, and Arbequina olives from Spain. The result is a smooth-drinking gin flavored and scented with woody herbs and energizing citrus fruits.
Clonakilty Distillery Minke Irish Gin, $45
Sourcing doesn’t get more local than it is at Clonakilty Distillery, which crafts its Minke Irish Gin along the coast of County Cork, Ireland. The spirit owes its velvety texture to a base derived from whey produced on the founder’s farm near Galley Head Lighthouse, which has been in the family for nine generations.
Rock samphire (AKA sea fennel or sea asparagus), the gin’s signature botanical, is hand-harvested along Clonakilty’s rocky cliffs. The wild succulent is bountiful on the rocky Irish coastline, but is a rare ingredient in the U.S.: not only does it not grow in the States, but Clonakilty’s Minke Gin is the first-ever product containing rock samphire to be imported to the country.
The herbaceous and briny taste of the succulent marries beautifully with zesty notes of orange, grapefruit, and fennel, a nose of lavender, lemon, sea salt, and aniseed, and a spicy red peppercorn finish. Together, they capture the unique terroir of coastal County Cork.
Crater Lake Prohibition Gin, $25
Named for one of Oregon’s best-known natural wonders, Crater Lake Spirits gives a nod to America’s pre-prohibition era with its traditional gin infused with wild, handpicked juniper berries.
This classic, super versatile, juniper-forward gin crafted in Bend, Oregon has racked up a long list of accolades, including silver medals at the World Beverage Competition and Seattle International Spirits Awards, and gold from Fifty Best Gins and Tasting Panel Magazine.
Try it in: a Clover Club
Dreaming of summertime on the Amalfi Coast? Taste the citrusy flavors of this stunning, sun-drenched coastline anytime via Malfy’s Gin con Limone.
Zesty, bright, and totally refreshing, this aromatic spirit is made with hand-picked juniper, Italian lemons, and the zest of lemons from the Amalfi.
Try it in: a Ciao Malfy Spritz
Las Californias Cítrico Gin, $33
Juniperus californica, a species that grows only in a very small area between Hollywood and the Ojos Negro Valley, is the star ingredient of Las Californias Cítrico.
Named for the region stretching along the coastline of what is now California and Mexico, the just-launched “dual-origin gin” marries the sweet, mellow, and pleasantly-piney flavor of this particular juniper with an array of botanicals. Some are indigenous to the area, while others migrated from across the globe (think figs and almonds from the Middle East, apricots from Armenia, lemongrass and citrus from Asia.)
With fresh notes of pomelo, lemon, and grapefruit, lush green forest, and a touch of ocean salinity, it’s a refreshing and energizing spirit that is purely of its place.
Try it in: a California Love
135 East Gin Hyogo Dry Gin, $40
Japanese botanicals meet a classic London dry gin to create a new style of the spirit: Hyogo dry gin. Named after the 135° East meridian that crosses Akashi City in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, 135 is an east-meets-west spirit that’s totally unique.
Traditional Japanese botanicals including yuzu, sansho pepper, sensha, shiso, and ume are infused in every bottle to create a complex spirit that’s floral, citrusy, pleasantly bitter, and spicy all at once. But the unexpected secret ingredient is a splash of Junmai sake, which is added at the blending stage.
Try it in: a Longitude Line