HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater?

Faune Jun 10, 2008 01:54 PM

I would appreciate it if someone could give me recommendations*, contrasts and comparisons (e.g. tasting notes) regarding Bombay Sapphire (which I have tried and enjoyed), Tanqueray and Beefeater.

*Which do you recommend:

in general / all around

in a martini

in a Gin and Tonic

(and yes I have seen the articles in various newspapers like the NY times etc... I'd like to hear what "real people" recommend after all its a matter of taste...so every one has to decide for themselves)


  1. c
    chazzerking Jun 10, 2008 03:20 PM

    Beefeater's is a good low price gin that does fine in a GnT.
    Tanq is a middle of the road London gin that is also quite serviceable for all purposes. a slightly higher juniper quotient.
    Bomb sapphire has more other botanicals especially in the nose.
    Personally, I like Plymouth as my favorite all-around gin, but also like Hendricks(strong component of cucumber in the nose) Magellan(french gin with different multi-botanical flavors, and Junipero, american, made by Anchor, with, as its name would suggest, a strong bracing juniper flavor, which works well in martinis to my taste.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chazzerking
      Faune Jun 10, 2008 10:47 PM

      Thanks for the feedback. Out of the three: listed in the topic which would you choose and why?

      1. re: Faune
        chazzerking Jun 12, 2008 07:09 AM

        I probably would go with the Bombay, for the botanicals, especially for maritinis, but it's a close call between it and the Tanq. But you need to comparison test for yourself as zin suggests and decide which you like best.

        1. re: Faune
          c oliver Jan 23, 2011 07:08 AM

          Why are you limiting it to those three? I also have a strong preference for Plymouth.

      2. b
        Beach Chick Jun 10, 2008 10:55 PM

        Bombay Sapphire hands down..the infused herbal aromatics are what makes this fab gin and I always have a big bottle in the freezer and I only serve it as a gin and tonic with the good juicy Mexican Limes with lots of crushed ice..
        I think its the juniper berries that make it so bloody good!
        Dang, makes me want to make one at this hour..

        2 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick
          Davwud Jun 12, 2008 05:17 AM

          I had this in a martini on valentines day and was very surprised. I like gin martinis (More of a vodka martini person) but this was the best one I'd ever had. It tasted so much like juniper berry. No "Alcoholy) taste. A hint of vermooth and some olive in there. It was just perfect.
          I wasted no time in adding a bottle to my liquor cabinet.


          1. re: Beach Chick
            chazzerking Jun 12, 2008 07:05 AM

            I have to quibble with your practice of keeping gin in the freezer. Vodka;fine, Gin; nay,nay. Freezing kills the botanical scents that make gin taste like gin. I'm all for cold, cold martinis, but not made with frozen gin.

          2. t
            tmcghee Jun 11, 2008 05:49 AM

            Out of the 3 that you acknowledge, I like Tanqueray the best. It is a good, true gin and I think it makes a great G&T. If I am allowed to choose from outside of your realm, Martin Miller's Gin is my hands down favorite. MMG makes for a great G&T (try with Fever-Tree tonic water), but even better is MMG chilled up with a twist. Yum!

            1. z
              zin1953 Jun 11, 2008 11:38 AM


              May I make a suggestion? Go to a bar with some friends and order G&Ts -- one each with Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay Saphire, and whatever else you want to try. (Or you can pick up 50ml bottles of each and try it at home). Then, try it again -- probably another night -- with each in a Martini, etc., etc., etc.

              My guess is that you will prefer one brand for a G&T, but a different brand in a Martini, and so on.

              That's the only way to really know what YOU prefer -- taste them side-by-side.

              Having said all that, I generally prefer Plymouth or Boodle's, but if I'm in a bar with only the "basics," then it's usually Tanqueray if I'm ordering a G&T; Bombay or Bombay Saphire if I'm ordering a Martini.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zin1953
                ibstatguy Jun 24, 2008 10:48 PM

                started out as a Tanqueray drinker, switched to Bombay but like Boodle's although would still vote for Bombay and there is some in the freezer at all times. am thinking I like your idea of a tasting.

              2. Condiment Queen Jun 11, 2008 12:27 PM

                I'm a Boodle's gal but I think zin's suggestions are spot on.

                1. w
                  wontonton Jun 11, 2008 03:45 PM

                  I have to admit as a regular gin drinker I haven't developed a real preference yet. If you want to save some money I think Gordon's or Seagram's taste just fine as regular "go to" brands for making gin and tonics at home. At a bar I'll order Plymouth, Beefeater or Bombay in a martini. Most gin and tonics made at bars taste cloying to me because the tonic water is usually too sweet. Schwepps seems to be the dryest I've had so far, so that's what I use at home.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wontonton
                    hill food Jun 21, 2008 09:47 AM

                    wontonton: I'm with you on the Schweppes/sugar content issue - have you had trouble finding it lately? there's only a handful of places I can, 2 grocers (out of 6) and 1 liquor store (out of 7) in a 15 block radius and even then it's iffy.

                    1. re: hill food
                      wontonton Jun 24, 2008 10:41 AM

                      I've noticed it's not easy to get at your random convenience store, but it's usually easy to find at the grocery stores I go to.

                      1. re: wontonton
                        hill food Jun 25, 2008 10:44 AM

                        all we get around here (mostly) is Canada Dry. ok, but not my fave.

                        the grocers that sometimes have it are a good 8 block+ walk each way.

                        what is it with buyers? if something is chronically flying off the shelf and out of stock, one would think that might change purchasing patterns.

                        back on topic: Sapphire is just too floral (for me) the rest of you, enjoy!.

                  2. bkhuna Jun 11, 2008 08:51 PM

                    Favorite all around- Plymouth

                    Martini - Plymouth

                    Neat - Bombay Sapphire

                    Gin & Tonic - Boodles

                    Cleaning the grunge out of grout - Tanqueray. It tastes lik Pine-
                    Sol and cleans just as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bkhuna
                      BustedFlush Jan 8, 2010 12:12 PM

                      A drinker of my own heart.

                      Plymouth or regular Bombay for Martinis
                      Boodles or Sapphire for Gin and Tonics

                      I think Beefeater (or Gilbey's, or Booth's) kicks the tar out of Tanqueray, but I'd drink Tanquaray all day long over Hendrick's. That stuff tastes like...grandma.

                    2. Faune Jun 12, 2008 05:09 AM

                      I have already tried Bombay and Bombay Sapphire, both of which I love.

                      I have been hearing such incredible things about Plymouth Gin, though, I had never seen Plymouth Gin around where I live, so I did not inquire about it.

                      Ask and ye shall receive? well not exactly:

                      Today I found Plymouth Gin and figured that I'd go for it, it was reasonably priced @ $16. I guess they dont know what they have, I have heard that Plymouth costs twice that in certain places. BTW it was the last bottle in the store. It was the older bottle with the mayflower on it, the store clerk didn't even know she had it. I saw it behind the Beefeater.

                      Well I hope it tastes as good as everyone here has been raving about it.

                      I also bought some individual bottles of Schweppes Tonic water, I hope Plymouth is as good in a G&T as it is supposed to be in a Martini.

                      Thank you all for your advice.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Faune
                        Hobsons Choice Jun 12, 2008 11:07 AM

                        I know you have already made your choice, but I would only add one note the others who are still reading...

                        For any drink that contains a non-lime citrus component or a liqueur like Campari or Aperol, go with the Beefeater. It is the only gin that I know of that has a distinct orange flavor because they use orange peels as one of the botanicals.

                        For example, Beefeater is great drinks like the Negroni and the Pegu Club.

                        1. re: Hobsons Choice
                          JMF Jun 14, 2008 02:18 PM

                          Orange peels are used in quite a few gins and many have orange tones. The one with the most orange presence to it is Bluecoat, made in PA. An excellent gin.

                          1. re: JMF
                            JohnE O Jan 12, 2010 12:30 PM

                            Just tried Blue Coat. It's so potent with botanicals it makes Bombay Sapphire taste like vodka. I liked it, but wouldn't drink it more than once in a while.

                            1. re: JMF
                              venividibitchy Jan 12, 2010 12:59 PM

                              How would you compare Bluecoat to Seagram's, botanically? More citrus, but of similar intensity?

                              1. re: venividibitchy
                                JMF Jan 12, 2010 04:55 PM

                                Seagrams is much lighter citrus.

                          2. re: Faune
                            one.day.fly Jan 8, 2010 10:22 AM

                            Hi, Faune

                            Can you please tell me how Plymouth Gin was like for you?
                            For as far as I know, it's increased in price or simply more expensive here (The Netherlands). Plymouth goes for + - € 25,=/€ 33,= for 750 ml.
                            So, I'd rather have someone else's opinion than buying it with disappointment as a result.(",)

                            To answer to your topic:
                            Havn't tried those gins yet but I heard from friends that Tanqueray Ten is good for G&T / T&T
                            Bombay Sapphire is good for Martinis.
                            Tomorrow I'm going to buy both:P

                            Thanks in advance

                            one day fly

                            1. re: one.day.fly
                              Faune Jan 17, 2010 01:55 PM

                              Hey one.day.fly,

                              I had a good experience with Plymouth gin and would definitely buy it again (by me, despite the price hike, its still cheaper than the "other brands")

                              It is different than London Dry Gin, I'd say it doesn't feel as dry, its "sweeter" in my opinion. Plymouth's citrus notes are more prominent than its juniper as opposed to London Dry Gin.

                              I experimented with Plymouth in martinis, G & T, Negronis and numerous other cocktails and I must say that I was impressed and thoroughly enjoyed it.

                              Let us know what you think of Plymouth.



                              1. re: Faune
                                JonParker Jan 19, 2010 09:39 AM

                                Another vote for Plymouth. My favorite gin hands down. I wish they sold it in a 1.75 L bottle though.

                                1. re: JonParker
                                  invinotheresverde Jan 22, 2010 01:40 PM

                                  Plymouth all the way, especially over Bombay Sapphire.

                                  1. re: JonParker
                                    Faune Jul 6, 2010 04:40 AM

                                    Me too! a 1.75 L bottle of Plymouth would be great.

                            2. q
                              quazi Jun 13, 2008 10:01 PM

                              I am a tanq and plymouth fan. tanqueray in g+t and plymouth on the rocks or with a dash of bitter.

                              Plymouth was a revelation when I tried it. the juniper without the high alcohol of tanq. Not overly smooth like Bombay sapphire

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: quazi
                                venividibitchy Jan 9, 2010 07:08 PM

                                I'm glad to see that I am not the only person who finds Bombay Sapphire to be too smooth and muted. Not that I'd complain if I had to drink it (I've never actually encountered a bad gin), but it does get lost if it's being mixed with anything. It's gin for those who don't like gin.

                                My two favorite gins so far are as follows:
                                Seagram's Extra-Dry (For mixed drinks -- juice or soda)
                                New Amsterdam No. 485 (For sipping neat)

                                I've had Tanqueray (not 10) once, but didn't really find anything unusually spectacular about it.

                              2. ibstatguy Jan 9, 2010 09:33 AM

                                read this article:


                                1. s
                                  scoob Jan 11, 2010 11:30 PM

                                  I'm no gin expert, but I have noticed that G&Ts taste better with tonic that has natural sugar, as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup. The only place in my area I could find natural tonic water was at Whole Foods-- their house brand "365".

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: scoob
                                    TroyTempest Jan 12, 2010 06:47 AM

                                    i think the Schweppes Indian tonic has natural sugar, but i can only find as an import, so it is pretty expensive.

                                    1. re: scoob
                                      ericalloyd Jan 22, 2010 08:50 AM

                                      g&ts are wonderful with q tonic water ... it's not too sweet ... made with agave nectar ...

                                      1. re: scoob
                                        TroyTempest Jan 22, 2010 11:00 AM

                                        Fever Tree might also have natural sugar. It should for what it costs.

                                        1. re: TroyTempest
                                          Wahooty Feb 9, 2010 05:50 PM

                                          It does, and it is delicious. You do get what you pay for, in this case.

                                      2. shaogo Jan 12, 2010 07:05 AM

                                        I drink gin perhaps 4-5 times a year.

                                        When I do, it's usually Tanqueray; either with tonic, soda or in a very dry martini.

                                        Whenever I'm drinking gin, I'm also eating half-shell oysters and a very rare steak. It's a taste combination that takes me back to a culinary peak experience many years ago.

                                        Beefeater's is what we serve in our restaurant as "well pour." It makes a refreshing gin and tonic and a classic martini. Bombay Sapphire is a very good gin, but I think it's botanical flavors are a bit too understated for me.

                                        1. d
                                          dbaublis Jan 23, 2010 05:29 AM

                                          Tanq - and Tonic
                                          Beefeater - Martini - up, extra dry, olives
                                          Sapphire (aka Windex) - on the rocks with a large squeeze of lime.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dbaublis
                                            nickybirds Feb 9, 2010 04:50 PM

                                            Having tried Beefeater and tonic for ages, i must say that i like bombay saphire and lemon on rocks.So refreshing or should i say wasted.

                                          2. s
                                            sourcandy Jul 7, 2010 07:00 AM

                                            Why are we only choosing from 3 boring gins? If you can find yourself a bottle of CapRock do yourself a favor and make lots of martinis out of it. Delightful.

                                            New Amsterdam is nice in G&Ts. It has some great citrus notes and not too much juniper.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: sourcandy
                                              tanker64 Jul 7, 2010 06:51 PM

                                              New Amsterdam is an excellent "daily" gin.

                                              1. re: tanker64
                                                hill food Jul 7, 2010 11:04 PM

                                                by the name I would assume New A is a 'Dutch' Gin, usu. milder in flavor and lower in proof.

                                                1. re: hill food
                                                  TroyTempest Jul 8, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                  new amsterdam is New York
                                                  It is from the states

                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                    JMF Jul 9, 2010 12:14 PM

                                                    New Amsterdam is a dry style gin. It is either a contract gin and made by the big guys. Definitely not made in NY State.

                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                      JMF Jul 9, 2010 12:16 PM

                                                      Dutch gins / Genever are the opposite of what you say. They are malt based, and have a much heavier and deeper flavor of malt, plus botanicals.

                                                    2. re: tanker64
                                                      EvergreenDan Jul 8, 2010 07:34 AM

                                                      Boy, their website sure isn't encouraging -- flash, unasked for sound, and unpromising recipes. 80 proof.

                                                      Can you contrast it to, say, Sapphire or Tanqueray?

                                                  2. s
                                                    Steve_K Jul 8, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                    For an all round gin, Tanqueray Ten

                                                    For a Martini, Distillery No. 209 or Leopold's

                                                    For a G&T, Leopold's, Martin Miller's or Seagram's.

                                                    1. Peaches to Poutine Jul 12, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                      Ah, gin. How I love it. Either in martinis or G&Ts (the perfect summertime drink as far as I'm concerned).

                                                      I do love the Bombay Sapphire but mostly as a martini. Tanq is a good standard gin to have around; I like to think of it and Beefeater as party gins. You throw a shindig, someone is gonna want gin, but at least you don't have to waste the good stuff on large crowds.

                                                      Hendrick's has become my new go-to gin, though. I take cues regarding its use from a friend of mine in London. No citrus, but cucumber in the G&Ts. It has worked so far. It also makes a darn good version of a Bloody Mary, too. Another gin I love to recommend but don't is Victoria Gin, out of British Columbia. The reason I say don't is because it's very very very hard to find. I live in Quebec (an American expat) and I have had to drive to Ontario to procure some. It's only available in BC, Ontario and I think Washington state. This is too bad as it is a perfect small batch gin. It's floral, just the right kind of soft and wonderfully aromatic. It made a wonderful G&T, it made a gorgeous martini. It's just frustrating not to be able to get ahold of it on a regular basis!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Peaches to Poutine
                                                        sakeandgin Jul 12, 2010 01:38 PM

                                                        New Amsterdam gin a division of E.&J. Gallo Winery

                                                        1. re: Peaches to Poutine
                                                          hawkeyeui93 Mar 13, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                          My wife brought me home a bottle of Victoria Artesinal Gin when she was in British Columbia last week. It was in the low $30's at the duty free shop [and $60 in a Canadian liquor store]. Although I am two drinks into the bottle, I am very much enjoying the balance of the botanicals. One thing I further enjoy about it is that the floral doesn't come as pronounced as Hendricks.

                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                            kinnickinnik Mar 13, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                            So glad to read that you found it to your liking! I hope you enjoy their hemp vodka too, so very smooth as well.
                                                            In your BC board post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7921...
                                                            you mentioned liking it in a Gin Buck. May I ask what ginger ale you use?
                                                            I'll have go give that a try as I can see ginger being quite compatible with the flavor profile of Victoria gin (citrus, floral, spice).
                                                            Good to know it's on hand in the duty free (was that at the border or airport?) for out of country gifts (you saw the painful markups we endure here :-( )

                                                        2. j
                                                          Jerri1031 Jul 18, 2010 06:03 AM

                                                          Bombay Sapphire Dry Martini is the perfect beverage --- make sure the bartender stirs the gin, vermouth and rocks and definitely does not shake the hell-out-of-it! I always go for the olive but you may want to try a twist instead of the olive. Enjoy,......and thank God for this little piece of heaven on earth;

                                                          1. n
                                                            nmatavka Jul 26, 2010 06:21 PM

                                                            Hendrick's is great, so is Boodle's, Bombay Sapph, and Plymouth. Tanq and Gordon's are so-so. Beefeater is way too dry. I'd never, ever drink Tanq Ten, it feels like slop in the mouth (too much glycerine).

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: nmatavka
                                                              tanker64 Jul 26, 2010 09:45 PM

                                                              I agree with everything you said except about Hendrick's. Its like drinking perfume. Way to floral and I like cucumber in my salad, not my drink (with the one exception being a Pimm's Cup). It's terrible. I wont allow it in the house.
                                                              Sapphire and Plymouth produce great Martini's and Sapphire is my go to Gin for G&T. Boodles works exceptionally well in either. Tanq I can take or leave; Tanq 10 is for wankers....

                                                              1. re: tanker64
                                                                raider Oct 29, 2010 06:27 AM

                                                                tanker, i was with you till the end there -- why is tanq 10 "for wankers"? (and, for those of us who are not brits, what is a "wanker"?)

                                                            2. Pzz Oct 25, 2010 08:59 PM

                                                              As it's fairly assertive, I prefer Beefeater's in a G&T or other mixed drink. For a "budget" gin, I'd pick Booth's, although it's mild enough to border on being a vodka and, as such, is a good starter gin for newbies. In a martini I prefer Bombay Sapphire, but have also greatly enjoyed Boodles and Citadelle (French). And the best gin is wasted in a martini unless you use a better grade of vermouth like Noilly Prat. The olives matter, too. Try to avoid the mediocre supermarket olives and try one of Santa Barbara Olive Co.'s offerings - especially the jalapeno-stuffed version.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: Pzz
                                                                CastOff Oct 28, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                                Beefeater for anything mixed, like a Salty Dog or a G/T. The flavor of Beefeater is intense enough to get through and be "ginny". Regarding Martinis, i prefer Bombay original 86 proof. It doesn't hammer as much as Safire, so you can enjoy more and for longer. In general, i think 86 proofing in any spirit is the perfect strength. Vodka is for pussies, GIN is for men!

                                                                1. re: CastOff
                                                                  tomjb27 Oct 28, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                                  I find Beefeater to be one of the great value spirits. A Beefeater martini is a cocktail of unassailably high quality, perhaps only ordinary in the sense that its profile helped define the drink for so many people. Spending a few bucks extra on a good vermouth, like Noilly, and taking a possibly obsessive interest in making it just right probably help as well. It's spikey enough to handle the vermouth too, so need to hold back. I like it plenty for other cocktails and agree it makes a nice gin and tonics. One can buy a 1.75 of Beefeater on sale for under $30, which is a remarkable buy for the quality. While I order martinis with other gins at bars, I find Beefeater to be such a workhorse that I rarely find myself buying premium gins for home.

                                                                  1. re: tomjb27
                                                                    arverni Jan 23, 2011 04:58 AM

                                                                    Wow. I tried this site to get an idea of gins (aside from my usual Beefeaters) and learned that it's all a matter of individual taste! So many contradictions. I was curious about the comments on New Amsterdam; I don't know Dutch gins but this sure ain't London dry -- sweet and spices is what I taste (although the "aroma" is pure alcohol). Terrible for martinis. I had some Bombay when I was in France and it was blah. I think it was Tanqueray that I actually disliked but ... that's one of the things I was hoping to glean from other people's comments. I've never tasted Plymouth and was really getting geared up to try it then I came on all the negatives. Guess I'm back to not knowing what to try. Beefeater's is my martini gin; to my taste it's too mild for G&T. (My G&T gin was Booth's, back when it didn't taste sweet and cinnamon.) For something cheaper I'm satisfied with Burnett's, which tastes good in a martini but certainly isn't epicurean.

                                                                    1. re: arverni
                                                                      invinotheresverde Jan 23, 2011 07:03 AM

                                                                      Interesting. I've never seen anyone with anything bad to say about Plymouth.

                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                        c oliver Jan 23, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                                        Nor have I. Maybe arverni will share some citations.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                          zin1953 Jan 23, 2011 07:41 AM


                                                                      2. re: arverni
                                                                        zin1953 Jan 23, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                                        >>> . . . and learned that it's all a matter of individual taste! <<<

                                                                        What were you expecting?

                                                                        1. re: arverni
                                                                          EvergreenDan Jan 23, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                                          You might find this interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Gin

                                                                          It is sweeter than a London Dry. Perhaps you can find some nips of some contenders to try.

                                                                          www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                          1. re: arverni
                                                                            JMF Jan 23, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                            New Amsterdam isn't a Dutch gin. It is a slightly sweet version of a western dry gin. It still lands under the dry category. An Old Tom gin would be a sweet gin, and much sweeter than New Amsterdam, which is a mediocre contract distilled gin, that has nothing to do with Amsterdam old or new.

                                                                    2. r
                                                                      Rocketj100 Feb 28, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                                      Tanqueray Ten makes a great Martini, G&T or Bloody Mary.

                                                                      Beefeater Wet is also good, it might be closing out at BevMo and I bought a case for a song!

                                                                      1. ginreviews Mar 22, 2011 11:22 AM

                                                                        Depends on your Perception. What do you equate the best to, as you already know what the NY times said. What qualities are important to you in a spirit?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: ginreviews
                                                                          ginreviews Apr 4, 2011 10:26 AM

                                                                          I would replace Bombay Sapphire with Citadelle, and Tangueray with Cascade Mountain Gin
                                                                          I would keep Beefeater.
                                                                          So the list should look like

                                                                          *Cascade Mountain

                                                                        Show Hidden Posts