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Jul 28, 2009 04:26 PM

Good inexpensive gin

For the remainder of the summer I am thinking about changing from my regular single malt to gin. Looking for recommendations for something about $20 a bottle, dry and flavorful. I enjoy things that are out of the main stream as far as flavor goes. All suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Occasionally I can find Plymouth for a little over $20/bottle though it's gone up quite a bit price-wise lately (been seeing it at $30 all of a sudden).

    1. Second the Plymouth recommendation, especially if you can get it under $20.

      Hendricks is delicious and the flavor is mild, but very different - it has prominent cucumber and rose notes. It typically goes for about $30, but assuming you're in California you can usually find it at Trader Joe's for just over $20.

      Junipero (by Anchor Steam) is intensely flavorful, and Bluecoat is definitely worth a try, but they're in the same price bracket as Hendricks, without the TJ's discount.

      Lately I've been drinking Mononpolowa. A really, really good dry gin in the London style (it's distilled from potatoes in Vienna). It's been winning all kinds of awards and accolades, but is still relatively unknown. And although it's usually $16/750ml, TJs has it at a screaming bargain price - $10/liter.

      5 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        I/we love Plymouth but have never seen it in the $20 range.

        Just tasted Hendricks recently (based on Will Owen liking it). It was pretty blah to me. Only afterwards did I realy about the cucumber flavor. Since I hate cukes, maybe that's why I didn't love the gin???

        Please bring a bottle of the Mononpolowa. Sounds great.

        1. re: c oliver

          Will do. I made a typo, though - it's Monopolowa. Polish for "monopoly."

        2. re: alanbarnes

          I'll have to try the Monopolowa. Their vodka is a great deal, and tastes just fine to me. BTW, I'm in the camp that thinks the only difference between high end vodka and mid price vodka is marketing. I'm assuming it is the base for the gin.

          One of my favorite gins for G&Ts is Brokers. It's won some awards for taste, and is an imported London Dry Gin whose price point is a little less than $20 for a .750 ml bottle. It has a nice juniper flavor if that's goes well in a Gin and Tonic. I can usually find it in the 1.75 size for $30 - $32.

          1. re: TroyTempest

            Marketing and fancy bottles. I like the Monopolowa bottle a lot - kinda retro-Stalinist.

            1. re: TroyTempest

              I don't have a particularly refined palate but there are vodka I don't like and it's not related to cost. Absolut comes to mind. My everyday vodka is Smirnoff and I like it better than Grey Goose. 'Course I drink it straight so that might be the diff. I've not tasted all the gins but Sapphire is my fave to date. I really do believe (so shoot me) that I can taste things other than juniper berries. But maybe it''s because of the bottle and marketing :) But for a G&T with lime, I wouldn't spend the money. I'm easy actually.

          2. In the Boston area it is pretty much impossible to find Plymouth for under $25 (never mind $20) anymore.

            Personally, I prefer Beefeater over Plymouth anyway. It would definitely fit within your price limit.

            New Amsterdam would as well. It is a bit sweeter than your standard London Dry style, so depending on your taste you might really like it or think it is a waste of money. I think it's definitely worth the money (under $20), but wouldn't pay much more.

            I can't think of too many out of the mainstream that fall in that price range, as that definition usually means more expensive. While mainstream, both Gordon's and Seagram's get high marks for taste in terms of their price in a lot of reviewers' taste testings.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

              I'm seconding New Amsterdam! It's not my favorite gin, but for like $15 a bottle it's superbly drinkable.

              I used to drink Citadelle a lot for about $23/bottle. Makes a hell of a martini. Damn those French.

              1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                They have Plymouth on sale at The Fresh Pond Liquor store next to Whole foods for $23 for a 1.75L.

              2. If Gordons was good enough for Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen, it's good enough for me. I shared his pain when Katherine Hepburn dumped it overboard.
                Quick anecdote about Beefeater gin mentioned above: early 70's I was training it from Philly to Boston to see a college sweetie, my seatmate was a wizened graphic artist from Providence. He had created the iconic scotsman on the Beefeater label. I commented that he must be getting nice residuals. He said that if he had known decades earlier that the wellspring of his creativity would still be in use so many years later, he might have thought about charging more than $150 for the artwork, with a hint of resentment.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Veggo

                  Ah, but US-distilled Gordon's isn't quite the same as the British stuff that Kate poured out. 80 proof vs. 90, less aromatic, less, well, ginny. Not bad stuff, but definitely on my B list.

                  Beefeater, on the other hand, is one of my favorites. Not within the OP's spec of "out of the main stream as far as flavor goes"; in fact, it's my benchmark by which classic London Dry Gins are measured (and it's the only one that's still distilled in London).

                  FWIW, they changed the image on the bottle, so your acquaintance has to limit himself to 50 years or so of bitterness.

                2. Thanks for all the suggestions I am sure I will put them to good use.