Gin is fairly unique in the alcohol world. It’s the kind of spirit that you either love or hate. Gin fans will point out that well-made gins are filled with nuanced herbal and botanical flavors that lend themselves to various spring and summer cocktails just as much as sipping neat or on the rocks. Gin haters will say that it tastes like an over-the-top juniper bomb–something that tastes more like someone soaked potpourri in neutral grain alcohol than a palatable spirit they’d actually want to sip.
Sadly, the gin haters might have a point (at least a little bit). And it’s not that all gin is bad. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that when gin is bad, it’s really bad. Plastic-handled, bottom-shelf, juniper-filled, harsh gins are so bad that one sip tends to ruin the spirit for some drinkers for decades or a lifetime. That’s a real shame.
Luckily, this isn’t always the case. For those who have never had this traumatic experience or those willing to give gin another chance, myriad flavorful, herbal, botanical gins are so good that you won’t even want to use them as a mixer, instead, opting to drink them neat or on the rocks in order to enjoy all of the aromas and flavors. These are those gins. Some are classic juniper-forward gins, others are London dry gins, some are lightly flavored, and all deserve a spot on your home bar cart or in your liquor cabinet.
The Best Gins To Drink On the Rocks or Neat
Sipsmith London Dry Gin
There are a ton of flavorful, memorable London Dry gins on the market. But when it comes to quality and drinkability, it’s tough to beat Sipsmith London Dry Gin. This pot still distilled gin featuring herbs and botanicals like juniper berries, lemon peel, orange peel, ground almond, cinnamon, Angelica root, licorice, Cassia bark, coriander, and more. The result is a dry, juniper-centered gin featuring tons of citrus and spices.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
When you think about Germany’s Black Forest, you likely think about delicious cake or Grimm’s fairy tales. Probably not gin. But, since this is where Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin is produced, you probably should. Named for the 47 herbs and botanicals (many of which are sourced from the aforementioned Black Forest) including juniper, rose hips, nutmeg, acacia flowers, and a lot more. The result is an herbal, lightly spicy, complex, sippable gin.
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
Islay is well-known for its peat-smoked single malt whiskies. But in recent years, the Inner Hebrides island is gaining exposure for its award-winning gin. Produced by famed whisky distillery Bruichladdich, The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is infused with twenty-two different hand-picked, locally sourced herbs and botanicals. Flavors of pine, fresh mint, chamomile, and lemon peel make this a highly sippable gin.
Hendrick’s Flora Adora Gin
Nobody would fault you for drinking the classic Hendrick’s Gin, with its rose and cucumber-centric flavor, neat. But if you really want to enjoy a flavor bomb, then grab a bottle of recently released Hendrick’s Flora Adora Gin. This limited release is as fresh as a field of spring wildflowers with a bright floral aroma and flavor profile. It’s unique, yet well-suited for sipping neat or on the rocks.
Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
Tanqueray is a big name in the gin world. Especially when it comes to London Dry gin. Another brand that you’d be happy with its traditional London Dry Gin, this brand also makes a citrus-filled, aromatic, highly sippable gin called Tanqueray Rangpur Gin. Named for the addition of the Rangpur lime and Mandarin orange, it’s loaded with flavors like lime, orange zest, and other herbs and botanicals as well. It’s fresh, zesty, and great as a base for a gin & tonic and even better on its own.
This French gin has gained quite a following in recent years for its superior mixability and for being an exceptional sipping gin. Flavored with myriad herbs and botanicals including orange peel, cardamon, coriander, juniper, almond, fennel, and many more ingredients, it’s known for its spruce tip beginning and lightly herbal, spicy palate. It’s the kind of gin you’ll want on hand at all times for drinking neat or on the rocks.
No.3 London Dry Gin
No. 3 London Dry Gin gets its name because of its trifecta of flavors: spice, citrus, and juniper. This award-winning gin was crafted to be used as a base for your favorite gin cocktails. But with its notes of pine, orange peels, and various spices, it’s even more suited to be a slow-sipper on a cool spring or summer evening. Stock up on this gin whenever you can.
St George Botanivore Gin
With a name like Botanivore, you better believe this is a gin for the botanical fans. Infused with 19 different botanical ingredients including bergamot peel, black peppercorn, juniper, lime peel, orris root, Seville orange, star anise, and Citra hops, it has an herbal, bright, floral flavor profile well-suited for slow-sipping neat or on the rocks on a pleasant spring evening.
Spanish for juniper, Junipero is an award-winning copper pot still distilled gin produced in San Francisco. Known for its drinkable flavor profile, it’s infused with 12 botanicals including Juniper, Angelica root, Aniseed, bitter orange peel, Orris root, lemon peel, Cassia bark, grains of paradise, cubeb, cardamom, orange peel, and coriander.
Gray Whale Gin
Named for the annual journey up the West Coast by the Gray Whale, this gin is infused with ingredients, herbs, and botanicals found along the way. This includes Big Sur juniper, limes from Temecula Valley, fir tips from Sonoma, mint from Santa Cruz, and sea kelp from Mendocino. It has a complex flavor profile of pine, mint, citrus, and light spices.