Whether you’re seeking a classic London Dry or a modern style infused with local botanicals, choosing the ideal gin for cocktails such as the Negroni or Gin & Tonic can be a mind-numbing exercise. With so many wonderful gin cocktails waiting to be shaken up at home, how does one decide on just one ultimate bottle?
To help take out the guesswork, we queried drink experts on the best mixing gins. The following list includes a clear winner in terms of the style favored by bartenders, but there’s something below that will satiate any gin lover’s palate and mix seamlessly into a few obscure cocktails worthy of adding to your repertoire.
The Best Gin for Mixing Cocktails, According to Bartenders
- Greenhook Ginsmiths
- Dorothy Parker
- Atian Rose Gin
- Boatyard Double Gin
- Fords London Dry Gin
- Bombay Sapphire London Dry
- Barr Hill Gin
- The Botanist
- Tanqueray No. Ten
- East London Liquor Company Batch No. 2 Gin
- Hayman’s London Dry Gin
- Jin Jiji India Dry Gin
- New York Distilling Company’s Perry’s Tot Gin
- BCN Gin
- Plymouth Gin
- Gin Lane 1751
- Occitan Gin
- St. George Botanivore Gin
- St. George Terroir Gin
- St. George Dry Rye Gin
- Todd Leopold’s Summer Gin
- Broker’s Gin
- Hendrick’s Gin
- Oxley Gin
- Aviation Gin
“The best gin for mixing cocktails is a locally made craft gin that pairs well with local ingredients. Personally, I love Greenhook Ginsmiths or Dorothy Parker, both of which are made in Brooklyn. The unique botanical notes in each gin act as a great jumping-off point when crafting cocktails, and the flavors work well in everything from a refreshing Gin & Tonic to a strong Negroni.” —Billy Van Dolsen, owner and beverage director, Sereneco, Brooklyn
“I have found Beefeater to be a workhorse gin that functions well in every style of cocktail from stirred classic Martinis to shaken Eastsides. My belief was also supported after joining the team of Drink here in Boston, for it is what we use as our go-to gin.” —Frederic Yarm, bartender, Drink, Boston
“Atian Rose Gin is rich and bold with a luxurious mouthfeel and comes from South Africa, where all the botanicals are locally sourced. On the nose, this gin exudes a bouquet of fresh floral notes with sharp juniper, hints of ginger, and crisp citrus. The palate is very gin-forward, meaning that the botanicals are not shy — you get strong cardamom and juniper, with bitter grapefruit and a hit of spice from the ginger. Atian is fantastic for making variations on the Negroni and the Vesper Martini. I also found Atian makes a great spritz-style cocktail. —Josue Gonzalez, junior partner, Unfiltered Hospitality, Miami
“Patty and I absolutely adore using Boatyard Double Gin in a variety of cocktails — shaken, stirred, take your pick! Among the classic botanicals you’ll find in a dry gin, Boatyard uses sweet gale which is harvested from the McGirr family farm. This secret weapon emotes refreshing, crisp flavors, making Boatyard Double Gin the ultimate base spirit whether it be in a Gimlet or a Martini.” —Ally Marrone and Patty Dennison, beverage director and head bartender, Grand Army Bar, NYC
“In my opinion, Fords London Dry gin is the best gin for mixing cocktails because of its dependable balance of botanicals. Fords takes the guesswork out of choosing a base spirit for almost any gin classic. Many other gins in today’s market focus too much on making a specific ‘flavor’ of gin, whereas Fords makes the best London Dry style gin they possibly could. Fords’ juniper, coriander, and grapefruit zest notes harmonize in such a way that no single botanical dominates the palate. This has resulted in a truly sturdy and dependable base spirit for creating anything from the Dry Martini to the Corpse Reviver No. 2 to the Negroni.” —Tyler Haley, bartender, Drink Like Royalty and The Continental, Nashville
“Without doubt, the best gin to mix cocktails with is Bombay Sapphire London Dry, which is not only very rich in juniper, but also has hints of lemon, coriander, angelica, orris root, grains of paradise, cubeb berries, cassia, almonds, and licorice. I usually use this gin in my Martini, or in a classic Gin & Tonic (without fruit). A smooth gin with peppery notes on the palate for the win! At Coffee + Cocktails, we mix it with tangerine syrup, grapefruit juice, and flavored tonic water for a refreshing cocktail.” —Federico Doldi, beverage director, Gansevoort Meatpacking, NYC
“I think gin can be utilized in so many different ways, and depending on what your cocktail goal is, I promise there is a gin for that. I do believe that you can’t go wrong with a nice London Dry like Fords Gin to have handy at all times, but for myself and the bar team, Barr Hill Gin from Vermont has been one of our favorite pulls as of late. Barr Hill is distilled using solely juniper and honey. Due to the rich honey in the distillate, the mouthfeel of the gin is so much rounder than your average gin and it holds up nicely in Martinis, Negronis, as well as G&T’s, and, of course, a citrus-based cocktail like a Bee’s Knees. Also, if you or a friend think they ‘don’t like gin,’ then give the barrel-aged Barr Hill Tom Cat a try in your favorite whiskey cocktail.” —Marshall Minaya, beverage director, Valerie and Madame George, NYC
“Gin has to be one of my best spirits to create cocktails with. Gin can transform a simple cocktail into something dynamic. I’ve used a lot of gin, but the Malfy Gins from Italy are delicious, and the best part is that it comes in different flavors. The flavors are captivating, smooth, and perfectly balanced.” —Joy Daniel, beverage director, Favela Cubana, Calle Dao, Mareluna, and Erbaluce, NYC
“I love how stylistically different every gin can be, while being under the same umbrella of spirits. Botanical distillers are creating unique gins that stand out, particularly The Botanist, which I like as it changes the flavor profiles of our cocktails, which is so fun.” —Kristie Sibley, director of food and beverage, The Kennebunkport Resort Collection, Kennebunkport, Maine
“Tanqueray No. Ten: Consistently excellent for nearly all cocktail applications. Its perfect balance of juniper and bright citrus makes it versatile enough to be used in practically any gin cocktail, whether stirred or shaken, and at 47.3 percent [ABV], it can stand up incredibly well to dilution and bold flavors.” —Harrison Snow, co-owner and beverage director, Lullaby, NYC
“East London Liquor Company Batch No. 2 Gin: I’m a sucker for a really good local product. East London makes so many fantastic products, but this is such a fantastic applicant for G&Ts, Martinis, and everything in between. I especially love this gin in a French 75 with a dry Prosecco. These guys have taken the gin game by storm, and the work they do is incredibly thoughtful.” —Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director, The Garret Group, NYC
“For both Martini and Daisy variations alike, Hayman’s London Dry Gin is a great gin for making cocktails. It’s a true London Dry with juniper as the leading flavor and supporting notes of spice and citrus. Hayman’s is lesser known than big brands like Tanqueray or Bombay, but if those are your typical gin preferences, I would encourage you to give Hayman’s London Dry a go. Join us in the ‘Living Room’ of the Shinola Hotel to enjoy Hayman’s London Dry Gin in a ‘First Word’ with pomegranate, lime, and an absinthe rinse.” —Liz Dabecco, head bartender, Evening Bar at the Shinola Hotel, Detroit
“Jin Jiji India Dry Gin is made from the fragrant tulsi leaf used in Ayurveda, the wildly aromatic chamomile flower, and wild juniper from the Himalayas. It has notes of coriander seed, black tea, angelica root, orris root, cashew nut, and more. With such a powerful flavor profile, this gin makes a great base for spirit-forward cocktails like a Gin Martini.” —Chetan Gangan Maverick, head mixologist, Indienne, Chicago
“I personally love New York Distilling Company’s Perry’s Tot Gin. It’s a great deal and it is navy strength, meaning it’s got a heavy hand but a little goes a long way when using it in cocktails, which I love.” —Ivy Mix, co-founder of Speed Rack, co-owner of Leyenda and FIASCO! Wine and Spirits, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“BCN Gin is insanely fruity like those chalky candies (Smarties to be exact). Sure, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want a gin to shine in a simple sour, choose this.” —Anna Giordano, bar director, Anna’s, New Orleans
“I love gin and I love gin cocktails. We always call it the ‘white amaro.’ I love Plymouth Gin. The lower (82.4) proof makes Plymouth more mellow and drinkable on its own, as well as more mixable than some of the stronger and sharper gins. It makes a good substitute for Old Tom while still being a great London Dry. The simple blend of botanicals create a perfect balance of bitter, floral, and citrusy.” —Malcolm Knighten, bar director, Table and All Day Darling, Asheville, N.C.
“Aria Portland Dry Gin: When it comes to gin cocktails, you can never go wrong with the London Dry style, and Portland, Ore.’s Aria does it better than plenty of the old British brands. The Martin Ryan distillery uses a remarkably well-balanced mix of botanicals, with juniper as the star of the show — as it should be — supported by spice and citrus. It has more complexity and less of a bite than other London Dry gins out there, and its alcohol content of 45 percent ABV is ideal for any cocktail, from a Martini to a Gimlet. What’s more, this gin is the only spirit that Martin Ryan produces, so you know they’re focused on making it as good as it can be.” —Noah Manskar, beverage director, Colonia Verde, Brooklyn
“The ultimate gin for mixing cocktails is Gin Lane 1751. Using just the right amount of floral and spice factors that won’t jeopardize other mixing ingredients, this bold yet balanced gin is created in a classic style with juniper, star anise, and Mediterranean citrus. My personal favorite is the ‘Violet’ because of the wonderful balance of floral flavor and freshness due to the all-natural violet leaf oils and vanilla.” —Cosimo Bruno, beverage curator, Daxton Hotel, Birmingham, Mich.
“It’s a little off the beaten path, but we really like Opihr — it’s an India dry and hits both the heavy juniper notes that some people look for but also brings in some unique botanicals, which makes it a slightly more modern style. Incredible value and the bottle itself is gorgeous — fun conversation starter with a guest before they’ve even had their cocktail.” —Lex Madden, bar manager, Point Easy, Denver
“Much like vodka, the entire category of gin (especially London Dry gin) is reliant upon industrially produced grain neutral spirit as its base, so there often isn’t much opportunity for agricultural expression outside of the distiller’s choices made in selection of botanicals for macerations and extractions. As a result, most gin drinkers tend to decide on their favorite gin for cocktails based on whether it has a more juniper-forward flavor and aroma or whether it is one of the more citrus-driven brands. For the juniper-forward variety, we tend to favor the Occitan Gin from Bordiga because all of the juniper is wild-foraged at high elevation in the Italian Alps and has an incredible concentration of flavor that helps it to maintain its presence in mixed drinks. Another great gin producer is Lance Winters at St. George distillery in Alameda. All three of his gins are bold and assertive in different ways, but all are exceptional in their own right. The Botanivore is their London Dry style and a steady, reliable go-to for citrusy cocktails like the Monkey Gland or a Gimlet, as well as stirred and spirit-driven drinks (think: Turf, Opera, Bronx, etc). I would classify Terroir as alpine-style similar to Bordiga, which can lend an exotic wild forest flavor that puzzles some and delights others. When we are trying to recreate old Holland gin recipes from the early 1800s (Martinez, Holland Gin Old Fashioned, etc.), we often reach for St. George Dry Rye Gin as a substitute for Holland gin and we are very rarely disappointed. For the more citrus-driven variety, I usually like to recommend Todd Leopold’s Summer Gin for its delicate balance of juniper, blood orange, and elegant spring floral notes. Also, once again, the process of production at Leopold Bros. is labor intensive, skillful, and slow, but as usual it yields incredible flavors, and that is why he is one of our favorite domestic distillers.” —Craig Lane, head bartender, Bar Agricole, San Francisco
“I’m a massive Sipsmith fan — a true London Dry gin created to bring the acclaim back to its namesake city. Beautiful floral notes on the nose, bold juniper on the palate that flows into lemon zest, with bold lemon meringue notes towards the finish. Not only is it perfectly bold for a Gin Martini with a twist, it dances beautifully in a G&T and allows an approachable canvas to get creative in other gin creations.” —Phil Collins, beverage director, TableOne Hospitality (Mother Tongue, Los Angeles/La Société Bar & Cafe, San Francisco), NYC
“Broker’s Gin: Juniper-forward, dry, almost crisp London-style gin with hints of citrus and alpine herbs. A nice vehicle for Gimlets and Martinis alike.” —Adrian Juarez, bartender, Magari, Hollywood, Calif.
“I love using Hendrick’s Gin for refreshing, citrusy cocktails. The notes of cucumber lend to the refreshing style of cocktails that are so popular here in Arizona.” ––Jason Asher, vice president of beverage, Grey Hen Rx, UnderTow, and Platform 18, Phoenix
“London Dry always — specifically Oxley Gin. Oxley has a delicate nose with floral and citrus notes. On the palate, it reveals a more herbaceous element, with grapefruit zest as well as star anise and juniper notes that are perfectly expressed in a G&T, Martini, or any craft cocktail you can imagine.” —Alex Serena, bar manager, Teleferic Barcelona, Palo Alto, Calif.
“Aviation: First, Ryan Reynolds is my boy (well, I wish!). Second, the delicate balance of the botanicals works well with any pairing, from citrus-forward cocktails (like a Bee’s Knees) to boozy drinks (like a classic Martini). Clearly, this gin can fly solo or take any cocktail to new heights (cough, cough, shout-out)!” —Eric Lambright, lead bartender, Sorry Charlie’s, Savannah, Ga.