VinePair is ringing in the Holiday Cheers with a spotlight on the bottles we’re gifting (and hoping to receive) and a look inside some of our favorite holiday traditions and recipes — from elevated eggnog to all things bubbly. Plus, we’ll be reflecting on the past year in the beverage industry and shifting our focus to the drinks trends we expect to see in 2022.
A staple in classics like Martinis and Negronis, gin is beloved by bartenders for its herbaceous, botanical notes that elevate any cocktail. Unlike other spirits — like bourbon and mezcal — gin is rarely if ever drunk neat or on the rocks, instead shining in a wide variety of mixed drinks.
With its wide array of flavors and botanicals to experiment with, gin’s complexity and versatility are beloved by spirits enthusiasts. And for the home mixologists or aspiring collectors in your life, a truly special gin would make for a delightful gift to add to their bar carts.
Read on for seven of the best gins to gift this season.
- Best budget gin: Beefeater London Dry Gin
- Best splurge gin: Isle of Harris Gin
- Best gin for beginners: Suntory Roku Gin
- Best gin for geeks: Cadenhead’s Old Raj Dry Gin
- Best gin for cocktail lovers: Fords London Dry Gin
- Best gin for the boss: Kyoto Distillery Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin
- Best limited-edition gin: Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut 2021 Edition
Best Budget Gin
Beefeater London Dry Gin ($18)
A classic London Dry gin, Beefeater has been a longtime bottom-shelf darling — and for good reason. Notes of juniper and fresh seasonal herbs make this gin ideal for the friend who crafts holiday-themed drinks, from spiced G&Ts to Christmassy French 75s.
Best Splurge Gin
Isle of Harris Gin ($60)
This gin is unlike any we’ve tasted before, making it worth the splurge. Made from locally and sustainably sourced sugar kelp, this spirit is bursting with briny seawater notes offset by a subtle sweetness imparted by angelica root. In a Dirty Martini or Gibson, this gin would truly shine.
Best Gin For Beginners
Suntory Roku Gin ($30)
This is a citrus-forward offering with subtle botanical undertones, making it an ideal introduction to the gin category. Instead of being hit over the head with juniper, this gin brings in the bright, refreshing flavors of yuzu and sencha tea. For the vodka drinker in your life, this would be a welcome bar-cart addition.
Best Gin For Geeks
Cadenhead’s Old Raj Dry Gin ($50)
This distinctive gin — with a yellow hue imparted by a saffron infusion — is floral and earthy, with a peppery spice that’s balanced by notes of bright juniper and roasted coriander. With an alcohol content of a whopping 55 percent, this gin is lively on the nose and palate and would make for an incredibly unique Martini.
Best Gin For Cocktail Lovers
Fords London Dry Gin ($25)
Made by and for bartenders, Fords gin was specifically created for cocktails. Though its juniper aromas are quite subtle on the nose, this London Dry is rich with floral, zesty flavors. At an affordable price point, Fords offers an impressive complexity on the palate, standing up to dry vermouth in a Martini and balancing the bitterness of tonic in a G&T.
Best Gin For The Boss
Kyoto Distillery Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin ($76)
A high-end Japanese gin beloved by geeks, Ki No Bi is known for its bright, citrusy aromas followed by an herbaceous finish on the palate. To top it off, it’s all packaged in a stunning bottle that adds to its elegant allure — ensuring your boss will be impressed. This gin speaks for itself, meaning it truly shines in simple highballs or classics like the Vesper.
Best Limited-Edition Gin
Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut 2021 Edition ($142)
Each year, Monkey 47 releases its prized limited-release gin to be raffled off to big spenders and spirits collectors. Each special bottle includes a rare 48th ingredient that’s added to Monkey 47’s typical recipe. This year, the brand added monarda didyma to its botanical bill — an aromatic herb that imparts a bright bouquet to the high-end gin. If you can get your hands on a bottle, be sure to snag it for a gift any aficionado is sure to remember.