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Gin is not generally known as being as expensive as whiskey or cognac, but there are some premium brands that cost close to $50 a bottle. Fortunately, some of the best gins out there are very affordable, usually going for less than 30 bucks—yet another reminder that quality doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. These gins encompass all styles, from classic London dry to New Western to unique spirits from Japan and France. These are essential bottles for any home bar, as gin is an important component of many classic cocktails from the simple martini and gin and tonic to more involved libations.
We spoke to experts in the hospitality industry, including top bartenders and members of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, to find out what their top picks are for the best cheap gins to get right now.
Best Overall: Plymouth Gin
- Region: UK
- ABV: 41.2%
- Tasting Notes: Juniper, Lemon Peel, Coriander
“This is one of my favorite gins to sneak into people’s cocktails who say they don’t like gin,” says Jose Medina Camacho of Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham, Ala. “Nine out of ten people love it. My favorite gin drink is a 50/50 martini.” This iconic gin from southwestern England strikes the perfect balance and can be used in any classic gin cocktail.
Best Flavored: Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin
Region: South Africa | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Blood Orange, Juniper, Cassia Bark
“Whitley Neill Blood Orange Handcrafted Gin, some rocks, and a splash of club soda is all I need on a hot summer day,” says Belmond El Encanto food & beverage manager Tyson Torres. “Little do people know, the Neill family has been distilling gin since 1762. Full of citrus, oranges and juniper, this is a great gin to try out if you’ve never ventured to try a Whitley Neill gin.”
Best for Gin and Tonic: Tanqueray Rangpur
Region: UK | ABV: 41.3% | Tasting Notes: Lime, Juniper, Lemon
“Tanqueray Rangpur Distilled Gin is one of the most citrusy gins out there, and it's damn delicious,” says Alan Walter, spirit handler for Loa at the International House Hotel in New Orleans. “It pairs with lime perfectly.” This makes it the ideal choice for a gin and tonic, the classic highball that combines gin, tonic water, and a refreshing slice of lime.
Related: The Best Gins for Gin and Tonics
Best for Martini: Bombay Original Dry
Region: UK | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Pepper, Lemon
“Can a gin be knighted? At the very least give it an OBE,” says Clay Tolbert of The Alley Light in Charlottesville, VA. “It absolutely has done more for the martini than any “00-“ ever did. Yes, it’s blue-bottled brothers get better press, but your no-call martini is probably going to be made with this stuff, and it will be delicious, olives or twist.”
Best London Dry Gin: Beefeater London Dry
Region: UK | ABV: 44% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Almond, Orange
“Beefeater always delivers high quality for value pricing,” says Erin Scala, beverage director of Common House in Virginia. “It's a punchy, juniper-forward gin staple that I've been happy to work with for decades.”
David Vanegas, of Quinto la Huella at EAST Miami, is also a fan. “Nothing like a classic London dry,” he says. “This is perfect for a classic gin and tonic and you can even mix it to make a London Mule.”
Related: The Best Gins
Best British: Fords Gin
Region: UK | ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Flower, Spice
“This gin is a collaboration between eighth generation master distiller Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers and Simon Ford of The 86 Company,” says Danilo Bozovic of Sugar, rooftop bar and restaurant at EAST Miami. “It’s a very well-rounded gin that makes great martinis and works amazingly well with citrus.” There’s also an overproof version of this London-distilled gin called Officers’ Reserve if you’re looking for something with a higher ABV.
Best American: Bluecoat American Dry Gin
Region: Philadelphia, PA | ABV: 47% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Pepper, Lemon
“Whether it’s for a stirred, spirit-forward cocktail, a G&T, or something refreshing, the first bottle I always reach for is Bluecoat Gin,” says Adam Morgan, bar manager at Husk Nashville. “It’s a true American powerhouse.”
“Bluecoat American Dry Gin is always worth mentioning,” agrees Benjamin Pozar of Fogo de Chao in Philadelphia. “It basically created the American gin style. It's beautifully citrus-forward and does wonderfully in a Clover Club.”
Best Craft: Bully Boy Estate Gin
Region: Boston, MA | ABV: 47% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Pink Peppercorn, Coriander
“Bully Boy (Boston-based) makes a great gin that challenges your traditional London dry gin,” says Matthew Sentas, general manager at Precinct Kitchen + Bar in Boston. “Honeysuckle and citrus notes evenly balanced with juniper make this super interesting, and not your typical gin. We always try to incorporate local distilleries when we can so Bully Boy is a great option for us.”
Best Japanese: Suntory Roku Japanese Gin
Region: Japan | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Sansho Pepper, Yuzu, Juniper
“Light, bright and floral—this gin can be sipped on ice with a twist or enjoyed with your favorite tonic,” says Jonathan Cunningham, bar manager at Husk Barbeque in Greenville, SC. Roku comes from Suntory, better known for its whisky brands like Yamazaki and Hibiki. The name translates to “six,” referring to the Japanese botanicals that are combined with more traditional flavors, resulting in a truly unique spirit.
Best French: Citadelle Gin
Region: France | ABV: 44% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Anise, Cinnamon
“The French terroir gives this gin a perfect combination of citrus and juniper, making it very flexible to use in simple cocktails,” says Carlos Lopez, restaurant manager at Moxy South Beach. This gin comes from Alexandre Gabriel, of Maison Ferrand Cognac, and Plantation Rum. Citadelle is distilled in pot stills frequently used for making cognac, which makes sense given its pedigree.
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Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled.