If any doubts lingered over the Martini’s iconic status, one need only search Emojipedia where they’d find it used as the literal, illustrated synonym for “cocktail” itself.
Unlike other household names in mixology, the Martini claims ownership not of a set-in-stone recipe, but instead offers a template for ultimate personalization via varied ratios of gin and vermouth. Gin takes a rightful, commanding lead in the duo, making the spirit the Martini’s most important constituent.
When choosing which gin to deploy, drinkers should look beyond quality alone and consider factors such as defining botanicals, booze, budget, and occasion. Covering each of those considerations and more, here are the 10 best gins for Martinis.
Best Budget-Friendly Gin for Martinis
Beefeater London Dry Gin
It doesn’t get more classic than Beefeater London Dry, which goes above and beyond in nailing the “distinctive juniper character” brief legally required to classify the spirit as gin. While some purists may even argue that you need read no further on this list than here, that seems limiting, given the sheer depth of the category today. Still, there’s no arguing against the price and quality of this gin, nor the quintessential nature of the Martini it mixes. Average price: $19.
Best Bang-for-Buck Gin for Martinis
Fords London Dry Gin
Former bartender and brand ambassador Simon Ford and master distiller Charles Maxwell crafted this gin with mixology in mind. Debuted in 2013, the spirit yields a Martini that is classic in style but with extra layers of depth, and exceptional balance. It’s also friendly on that most crucial aspect of bartending: the bottom line — so much so that one wonders just how Fords is able to offer such an incredible gin at this price point. Average price: $25.
Best Gin for Martinis for Beginners
Suntory Roku Gin
While the inclusion of juniper defines gin, in recent years, distillers across the world have flooded the market with new expressions that serve the peppery, piney berry in more measured proportions, focusing instead on other botanicals. These bottles serve the perfect on-ramp for anyone who finds juniper’s character challenging, while still sticking true to the essence of the spirit. From Suntory, this gin includes six native Japanese botanicals that build a Martini that is light, zesty, and floral. Serve with a lemon twist. Average price: $29.
Best Citrus-Driven Gin for Martinis
If Roku and other new-age expressions offer the perfect introduction to gin (and Martinis), look to this bottle as the next step in that exploration. Notable for being both a brand and style of gin, Plymouth arrives with vibrant citrus notes and a bold, savory earthiness that adds body and lengthens the finish of the cocktail. Average price: $31.
Best Gin for Martinis With a Sense of Place
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
The best drinks hold the power to transport us, and that’s certainly the case with a Martini made with The Botanist. Containing the traditional botanicals of a London Dry, this gin from the Bruichladdich distillery also showcases 22 hand-foraged ingredients from the Isle of Islay. Through bog myrtle, mugwort, and creeping thistle, each sip will whisk you off to the tranquil island and deliver a moment of Martini zen. Average price: $40.
Best Gin for Dirty Martinis
Reisetbauer Blue Gin
This Austrian gin contains 27 botanicals from 10 countries. While its aromas are bright and invigorating, the palate finishes with a subtle splash of salty water, making it the ideal choice for an olive garnish or even, if you are so inclined, a Dirty Martini. Just don’t go too heavy on the brine! Average price: $47.
Best Gin for Elegant Martinis
Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Tanqueray could occupy any number of places on this list with its multiple fine expressions. The standard London Dry over-delivers on a budget, while its Rangpur bottling delivers a heavy dose of inviting citrus. Above them all, however, we find ourselves regularly reaching for Tanqueray No. Ten. Perfumed, classy, and complex, this gin simply shines in a Martini and takes the iconic cocktail to new heights. Average price: $33.
Best Gin for Classic Martinis
Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Sipsmith serves the quintessential London Dry profile, though each of its botanicals stands out with stunning clarity. The juniper arrives fresher, the rosemary with more herbaceous vigor, and the dried citrus peel with zesty enthusiasm. As for the cocktail, this is the classic Martini as you know it but served with high-definition crystal clarity. Average price: $35.
Best Higher-Proof Gin for Martinis
Cadenhead Old Raj Dry Gin
Saffron infusion lends this gin a subtle yellow hue and prickly spice. More noticeable is its 55 percent ABV content, which adds plenty of oomph to the cocktail but no alcoholic burn. Given the Martini’s signature potency, this is the bottle to turn to after a particularly challenging week rather than mixing up that typically regrettable second (or third) serve. Average price: $50.
Best Splurge Gin for Martinis
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
Among the most premium gins on the market, this expression includes 47 signature botanicals, with five native to its local region of the Black Forest in Germany. It’s not just the price tag that makes this a special Martini, Monkey 47 serves a distinct and intense range of flavors that add endless depth to the cocktail. Average price: $68.