Spirits & Liqueurs Gin

The 8 Best Gins for Martinis in 2021

Extra dry or a little dirty, a variety of bottles to suit your preference.

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The Martini is one of the most iconic cocktails, beautiful in its simplicity and ability to be tailored to one’s specific tastes. Whether you like it extra dry, a little dirty, with a twist or a few olives, the Martini can take different shapes and forms. But at its core, it’s all about the gin, the spirit that is the star of this show. There are many different types of gin to consider to use in a well-crafted Martini, from London dry to new-school Western to a more citrus-forward flavor profile. We spoke to some top bartenders and beverage directors to find out what types of gin they recommend. Here are their picks for the best gins to make that perfect Martini.

Best Overall: Beefeater

Beefeater London Dry Gin Bottle
  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 44%
  • Tasting Notes: Juniper, Almond, Orange

“Beefeater has a love/hate relationship with some, as it’s looked at as your grandfather’s gin,” says Craig Schoettler, MGM Resorts executive director of beverage & corporate mixologist. “However, it is truly one of the highest quality gins on the market, in my opinion. It is a true representation, and arguably one of the paradigm examples, of a London dry gin. Its broad shoulders stand up in perfect harmony with dry vermouth in a Martini.”

Best for Dry Martini: Sipsmith

https://drizly.com/liquor/gin/london-dry-gin/sipsmith-london-dry-gin/p6914

Courtesy of Caskers

  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 41.6%
  • Tasting Notes: Juniper, Lemon, Coriander

“The Martini is a very personal drink for each consumer,” says James Bolt, owner of The Gin Joint in Charleston, SC. “I personally like a very dry Martini and when making myself one, always reach for Sipsmith London dry. It is a classic London dry style gin with a great balance of citrus notes and juniper. There are also some delicate floral notes that add a nice touch to a classic Martini.”

Read Next: The Best Gins

Best Budget: Boodles

Boodles Gin

Courtesy of Caskers

  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 45.2%
  • Tasting Notes: Juniper, Rosemary, Sage

Hristo Zisovski, beverage director of Altamarea Group, appreciates Boodles for its savory herbal notes. “The Martini is meant to be garnished with a fresh lemon twist because the recipe contains no citrus,” he says. “That fresh addition accents a perfect Martini whose gin is focused on a mellow but herbal style gin finishing with piney, classic juniper notes.” Boodles also happens to be a very affordable gin, usually retailing for around $25 per bottle.

Best Splurge: Nikka Coffey Gin

Nikka Coffey Gin

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: Japan
  • ABV: 47%
  • Tasting Notes: Yuzu, Kabosu, Juniper

For Kevin Reilly, Beverage Director at Taub Family Outpost, a dry Martini is best with just a twist, no olives. ”Since I am a lemon twist Martini fan, I really enjoy citrus-forward gins,” he says. “One of my favorites is from the great Japanese whisky producer Nikka. The botanical blend in its Coffey still gin is highlighted by the Japanese citrus yuzu, amanatsu and kabosu.”

Best Citrus-Forward: Tanqueray Malacca

Tanqueray Malacca Gin

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 41.3%
  • Tasting Notes: Peppercorn, Rose, Jasmine

“The classic gin Martini needs a little juniper—however, I prefer the exotic and citrus tendencies of Tanqueray Malacca gin,” says Kat Hawkins, beverage director for Shaw's Crab House in Chicago. “It is based on a recipe from the early 1800s that is citrus-forward with notes of ginger and finishes with that classic juniper pop.”

Read Next: The Best Bitters

Best High Proof: Cadenhead Old Raj Dry Gin

Old Raj 110

Courtesy of The Whisky Exchange

  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 55%
  • Tasting Notes: Saffron, Juniper, Lemon

One of my favorite gins for Martinis outside of a classic London dry is Old Raj 110,” says Tyson Buhler, national beverage director for Death & Co. This gin has a much higher ABV than others, but it still has subtle flavors. “The juniper is a bit more subtle and there is a distinct orange peel aroma and spice. I like to use a higher proportion of vermouth than I typically do to temper the high proof and it works particularly well with a vermouth that has some sweetness such as a blanc or even an Italian sweet vermouth.”

Read Next: The Best Gifts For Gin Lovers

Best for Dirty Martini: Hayman's Gin London Dry

Hayman's Gin London Dry

Courtesy of Wine Chateau

  • Region: UK
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Juniper, Spice, Clove

“Hayman’s London Dry is a very well balanced gin that is steeped with ten botanicals for 24 hours,” says Gabriel Figueroa, assistant restaurant director at Vestry. “You get that classic juniper note, but with added spice structure and a bit of citrus and faint sweetness that creates complexity and depth. This makes it a good choice to stand up to the briny notes of a dirty Martini.

Best New School: Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick's Gin

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: Scotland
  • ABV: 44%
  • Tasting Notes: Rose, Cucumber, Juniper

“Hendrick’s is a standout when it comes to (making) excellent Martinis,” says Tyson Torres, food & beverage manager for Belmond El Encanto, when talking about this unconventional new-school gin. “The rose and cucumber along with the 11 other botanicals deliver a wonderfully balanced gin that I love to use to guide our guests through our beautiful rose gardens and sip before coming to savor in the restaurant.”

Read Next: The Best Martini Glasses

Why Trust Liquor.com?

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.

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