The Top 10 Gins of 2021

The Top 10 Gins of 2021

For the third year, we enter spring with gin on our mind, excited to break out the tonic and cool down with the season’s most essential cocktail. That said, if you can’t shake those wintry Negronis yet, we won’t judge you. Either way, we’ve got you covered, with a look at our ten favorite gin bottlings released in the last year. Need more picks? Check our top gin lists from 2019 and 2020! You can also search multiple stores at wine-searcher to find the best prices on all these products and more.

1. Poli Marconi 42 Gin – Singing its praises last fall, I remarked that this was one of the better gins I had tried in quite some time – despite Poli’s heritage as a grappa producer. I’m thankful to report that the hyperbole still checks out, and the lovely combination of garden herbs on the palate and minty menthol finish make this a lovely gin ideal for building complex cocktails. We’re still proud to proclaim this our top gin of the year. 84 proof. $50 -RT

2. Tamworth Garden Aviary Gin – Made with raw, local, New Hampshire honey, Tamworth Garden Aviary Gin is a big, warm hug in a glass. The higher alcohol content is well hidden, and the individual botanicals all play nicely as the gentle sweetness of the honey blends beautifully with the other components for an integrated whole we could sip all day. There are other, more complex gins on this list, but few we enjoyed more. 92 proof. $55 -RL

3. 6 O’Clock Brunel Gin – A rare unanimous decision from our assembled panelists, Brunel is one of only two gins on our list highly endorsed by three different Drinkhacker writers. It’s easy to see why: It’s a wonderfully versatile gin flaunting complex notes of cinnamon, orange peel, pine notes, and herbs without ever losing its brightness. To paraphrase 21st-century philosopher Phonte, this is a gin that goes the distance in a ring full of one-rounders. 100 proof. $39 -RT

4. The Family Jones Earl Grey Juniper Jones Gin – Juniper Jones, get it? Tea and gin go together so well it’s surprising there aren’t more innovations like this aged offering, which sees its gin spending time in bourbon barrels that were formerly stuffed with Earl Grey tea leaves. A complex dual distillation is blended together to offer a rich and complex gin that, naturally, finds room for notes of freshly brewed tea in the mix. A standout in a world of barrel-aged offerings that often taste more like the barrel than the gin. 97 proof. $35 -CN

5. Nikka Coffey Gin – This isn’t a new product, but we first reviewed it last year and, well, we loved it that much. Showcasing Japanese ingredients, including four kinds of Japanese citrus, Nikka Coffey Gin introduces unusual flavors that work together brilliantly. Distinct orange citrus and lemon peel join with a lovely, oily mouthfeel to create a contemplative gin that rewards repeated sips with more complexity. Herbal notes appear midpalate along with a light, peppery sweetness that defines the finish. Mixed with tonic, this gin offers further depth, introducing a pronounced and enjoyable bitterness to the experience. For those branching out beyond London Dry style, this is an exciting gin to try. 94 proof. $45 -RL [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]

6. Dry Gin XII – A gin from a region known for absinthes and liqueurs (Provence, France) arrived with high expectations for quality and flavor, and Dry Gin XII met the task with flying colors. The blend of twelve botanicals fuse together in a winning mix that feels custom-tailored for summer cocktails. Grab a bottle now before the great Global Heatwave of 2022 hits. 84 proof. $33 -RT

7. Citadelle Gin Jardin d’ete – This new variant from Citadelle is inspired by a (single) French garden cultivated by the wife of Citadelle’s founder. She seems to know what she’s doing, growing such delights as violet, iris, yuzu, and – especially – melon, which is prominent in the distillate. Bright and citrusy, though a bit heavy on licorice notes on the back end, it’s especially delightful in long drinks built for the summertime. 83 proof. $25 -CN [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]  

8. Procera Gin – Procera Gin draws its name from the Juniperus Procera, a juniper variety that grows in Kenya, and all the botanicals and the distillate for Procera are drawn from Africa. The result is a lovely gin that showcases its individual botanicals beautifully. Notes of juniper and lime, cardamom, mint, eucalyptus, and black pepper are clearly articulated in the gin, which also shows excellent mouthfeel. The botanicals show so well, we liked it best neat, without tonic or even an ice cube. 88 proof. $85 -RL

9. Salcombe Gin Rose Sainte Marie – This unusual pink gin is intended to emulate a Provence rose, and to that end it succeeds well, showcasing unusual ingredients like strawberry and lemon verbena in the mix. Quite floral and heavy with rose petals and orange blossoms – both used in the distillate – the gin finishes with drier notes of potpourri. Ideal with a mixer and a warm summer day. 82.8 proof. $40 -CN [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]

10. Still Austin American Gin – Craft distillers seem to have moved on to whiskey in earnest, but Still Austin’s American Gin is proof that some amazing white spirits are still being turned out from tiny outlets. This London Dry-style offering folds in just a few twists, with grapefruit and some sweeter orange notes giving it a fruitier punch, with elderflower hitting harder on the finish. Versatile and beautiful – and well priced. 90 proof. $25 -CN

Poli Marconi 42 Gin




1 Comment

  1. Cangey on March 10, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Exciting list, I shall enjoy hunting for these.

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