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Looking to dive into the world of pink gin but not sure where to start? We’ve got your back. Contrary to their clear counterparts, pink gins are macerated with botanicals and fruits post-distillation to achieve their colorful hue. However, not all pink gins are created equal.
Each pink gin on the market is crafted using a very specific Rolodex of botanicals and fruits (as well as a meticulously curated schedule of maceration times) to create an expression’s unique flavor profile. Curious to learn more but not sure where to start? Check out this curated list of our favorite pink gins, as well as everything you need to know about the topic, here.
Best Overall: Glendalough Rose Gin
Region: Ireland | ABV: 41% | Tasting Notes: Rose petals, White pepper, Red fruit
Produced in the hills of Wicklow, Ireland, this tasty pink gin pays homage to the unique place in the world from which it comes. This floral-driven gin is produced in small batches and uses a combination of fruits, flowers, and spices to achieve its unique flavors and pink hue, the most important of which are two varieties of local roses, the rare and elusive Wild Rose from the Wicklow mountains and the large, fragrant Heritage Rose. High-toned and aromatic, the gin bursts with balanced flavors of rose petals, juniper, white pepper, and red fruits.
“For rosé and flavored gins, I like to stick to the classics in order to keep the nuances of each gin noticeable on the palate,” says Justin Wilson of Atlanta’s The Betty, Willow Bar, St. Julep at The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel. Wilson cites Glendalough Rose Gin as one of his go-to favorites, particularly when mixed into a Rosé Negroni.
Best Splurge: Salcombe Rosé Sainte Marie Gin
Region: England | ABV: 41.4% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Orange blossom, Rose water, Pink peppercorn
Inspired by the Mediterranean flavors and overall joie de vivre of the South of France, Salcombe’s ‘Rosé Sainte Marie’ pink gin is distilled and crafted with a variety of thoughtful botanicals, including Macedonian juniper, angelica, and strawberries. The gin’s natural pink hue is obtained by macerating clear gin with unsweetened red fruits. No sugars, colorings, or artificial flavors are added. Expect flavors of strawberry, orange blossom, rose water, and pink peppercorn to jump from the gin’s smooth palate. Salcombe’s Rosé Sainte Marie Gin is also the only pink gin to win a double gold medal at San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition in 2020. The gin gets its name from the famous lighthouse at the Old Port entrance in Marseille, where workers could regularly be seen loading citrus, fruits, and other herbs onto boats headed to the ports of England.
“I love the variety of flavor profiles that you can find in these new wave pink gin style liquors,” says Chelsea DeMark, beverage director at Thompson Savannah, enjoys using pink gins in ways that allow their carefully constructed pink appearance to pop, which generally means using cocktail components with limited hue. “Sometimes I do this by using ingredients that are clear or also pink in color or even clarifying ingredients to protect that pink. Since the flavors of these gins are really the star of the show, I always consider how to enhance their components without covering them up,” she says.
Best for Aperitivo: Malfy Gin Rosa
Region: Italy | ABV: 41% | Tasting Notes: Pink grapefruit, Juniper, Citrus
Longing for a taste of the Amalfi Coast? This well-balanced pink gin is just the ticket. Produced using Sicilian pink grapefruits, Italian rhubarb, and juniper berries, this tasty pink gin offers an instant mental transport to the sunny coast of Italy, whether served up in a cocktail or sipped solo on the rocks.
For those new to the category, DeMark recommends enjoying pink gin in a simple gin and soda mash-up to see how the flavors evolve with a bit of dilution, then adding the spirit to a citrus-forward cocktail—though consider the cocktail at hand first. “Think long and hard before using a pink gin in a Dirty Martini—those flavors will probably not play nice together,” she reveals.
"Malfy Gin is currently my favorite pink gin for two big reasons. First, the pink grapefruit really adds a beautiful citrus note to floral and fruit-forward cocktails such as Gimlets, Pegu Club, and French 75. The tartness of the gin really rounds out the sweetness in those classic cocktails. Secondly, the Amalfi Coast is my favorite place on earth to visit. The citrus they grow there is unmatched and always perfectly ripe."
Related: The Best Gin Mixers
Best Unique: Stockholms Bränneri Pink Gin
Region: Sweden | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Lingonberry, Rhubarb, Red flower Petals
Looking for an off-the-beaten-path pink gin that promises to satisfy the spirits lover in your life? This floral-driven expression from Stockholms Bränneri has your back. Crafted from still dry gin infused with rose petals, rhubarb, and foraged lingonberries (the last of which are steeped in the gin after distillation to give the spirit its light pink hue), this fresh pink gin is delicious both on its own or mixed into classic Gin & Tonic or French 75 recipes.
DeMark notes that today, there are many styles and flavor profiles to be in the pink gin category. “You can find variations that take the traditional approach and present a subtle pink color as a result of added aromatic bitters, or you can find them with all sorts of fruit components,” she explains. Best of all, DeMark notes that fruitier styles of pink gin give consumers the opportunity to make complex, dynamic cocktails from home without spending time making infusions or syrups from scratch.
Best for Gin & Tonics: Beefeater Pink Strawberry Gin
Region: England | ABV: 37.5% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Fresh berries, White pepper, Vanilla
For Gin & Tonics with a pink twist, look no further than Beefeater Pink Strawberry Gin. This easy-to-sip bottle combines the original Beefeater London Dry recipe with the addition of natural strawberry flavoring. Expect flavors of fresh berries, white pepper, and vanilla to ooze from this flavor-packed bottle. “Beefeater Pink Strawberry offers a bold, new twist on the classic Beefeater London Dry Gin. The original recipe has been enhanced with soft fruit / natural strawberry [which go] perfectly with classic notes of juniper and citrus to produce a finely balanced contemporary gin,” says Desmond Payne, Master Distiller for Beefeater Gin.
Payne notes that Beefeater Pink Strawberry is inspired by Beefeater’s founder James Burrough's creative curiosity. “A pharmacist by trade before becoming a distiller, Burrough's wonderful inventions included raspberry gin, cherry brandy, British Brandy, [and more],” he explains. “Beefeater continues to embrace Burrough’s passion for colliding quality craftsmanship with experimentation and has created this natural strawberry gin for the new generation of drinkers.” Paye recommends using Beefeater Pink Strawberry to craft The Strawberry B&T by combining one part Beefeater Pink Strawberry with three parts of tonic over ice with fresh strawberries.
Related: The Best Gins
Best Craft: Isolation Proof Summer Gin
Region: New York, USA | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Rhubarb, Pink peppercorn, Citrus, Hibiscus flower
Produced in the heart of upstate New York, this small-batch pink gin is a must-try for those who love refreshing, citrus-driven spirits. Crafted at the hands of passionate distiller Jake Sherry, this refreshing pink gin is made by macerating Isolation Proof Gin with organic botanicals, including local rhubarb, pink peppercorn, fresh orange and grapefruit peels, cardamom, and hibiscus flower. “This gin tastes like summer in a bottle, and is the perfect blend of tart citrus and sweet spice. Summer Gin, like all of our gins, is distilled with natural spring water from our property and organic botanicals,” Sherry explains, noting that the exact use of botanicals tends to evolve every year.
“My goal has been to capture the essence of what summer tastes like in a bottle. To do that, we start with what is growing locally (and what is in season) near our barn distillery in the Catskills,” Sherry reveals, calling the grapefruit and rhubarb the “MVP ingredients,” as they contribute a “tart and incredibly fresh citrus foundation that is rounded out with spice from the cardamom and pink peppercorn, and subtle sweetness from the orange peel.” At Isolation, each ingredient is macerated for a different amount of time based on how much of the flavor he and the team want to be imparted. Sherry notes that the rhubarb steeps overnight while the citrus and spices steep for roughly 30 minutes, and that the hibiscus steeps for just 5 minutes.
Best Gift: Gin Lane X Cynthia Rowley ‘Victoria’ Pink Bottle Clutch
Region: England | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Juniper, Citrus, Bitters
For the gift that keeps on giving, look no further than this beautiful collaboration between Gin Lane and Cynthia Rowley. Inspired by the great gins of the Victorian era of London, this flavor-packed bottle is created from a well-balanced recipe that incorporates eight natural botanicals, including juniper, cassia bark, orris root, Sicilian lemon, coriander, star anise, angelica, and Seville orange.
Gin Lane has partnered with world-renowned fashion designer Cynthia Rowley to offer this gin with a ‘Victoria’ pink bottle clutch, perfect for taking your gin on the go. Best of all, 50% of all profits from this limited edition bottle-and-bag combination will be donated to breast cancer research. Sipping tasty gin while contributing to a good cause? Now that’s a deal that we can get behind.
Pink gins span a vast flavor profile spectrum, ranging from floral-driven to herbaceous to slightly sweet. These final flavors are highly dependent on the botanicals with which the dry gin is macerated. We’ve found that the best expressions strike a savory balance between herbaceous and floral notes. For a well-balanced expression that covers all of your bases, look no further than Glendalough (view at Caskers) or Salcombe (view at Caskers). For a sweeter expression, check out Beefeater’s Pink Strawberry (view at Total Wine) bottling. For something more peppery, Stockholms Bränneri (view at Whiskey Exchange) has your back.
How is pink gin made?
“Historically, pink gin was a cure to all your ailments, as it was essentially a cocktail composed of bitters and London dry gin,” explains DeMark, noting that today, a broad spectrum of liquors advertised as ‘pink gin’ get their rosy hue by macerating a variety of ingredients in gin post-distillation. Sherry explains that Pink gin is basically just a gin that’s been macerated with botanicals and/or fruit post distillation to impart additional flavor and pink color to an otherwise clear gin.” Distillation by its nature removes color, so maceration/steeping post distillation is one of the best ways to bring color back into a gin,” he says.
Is pink gin sweet?
Sometimes, though not always. While some pink gins can be overly sweet, a well-balanced pink gin will be more floral-driven and herbal than its cloying counterparts. Seek out well-made expressions from small distillers to dive into the world of delicious, well-made craft gins.
What’s the difference between pink gin and “regular” gin?
Simply put, pink gin is made by macerating botanicals or fruit post-distillation with an otherwise colorless gin to obtain its signature pink hue.
Can you drink pink gin on its own?
Yes! Although the spirits are most commonly used in cocktail creations, well-made pink gins are perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks. “Gin is not usually considered a sipping spirit, but I think pink gin can be,” says Sherry, describing it as “quite elegant on its own over ice with a lemon twist.” Here at Liquor.com, we recommend trying both. Prior to whipping up your at-home cocktails, simply pour a small splash of your pink gin of choice over a large ice cube to really see what the spirit is all about.
For example, Enzo Cangemi, head bartender at The Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, finds that pink gins are perfect for creating variations on classic gin-based cocktails. “Pink gin is fun to use in cocktails, as the infusion varieties allow bartenders to create beautiful, eye-catching drinks,” he says, citing Malfy Rosa Gin as a go-to favorite.
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Vicki Denig is a wine, spirits, and travel journalist who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her work regularly appears in major industry publications. She is the content creator and social media manager for a list of prestigious clients, including Sopexa, Paris Wine Company, Becky Wasserman, Volcanic Selections, Le Du’s Wines, Windmill Wine & Spirits and Corkbuzz. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine.
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