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Good inexpensive gin

  • ozbuc Jul 28, 2009 04:26 PM
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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.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  wow, that's a deal

              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.

                  1. My favorite gin in that price range is Bombay Dry Gin (the white label, not the Sapphire). A great mix of botanicals that stand out and isn't as juniper forward as Beefeater nor juniper meek like Hendrick's.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: yarm

                      I agree that Bombay White has the flavor and balance you need for a martini--it's under appreciated these days and reasonably priced...

                      1. re: penthouse pup

                        It's a gazillion times better than the Sapphire.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          Oh, come on. Sapphire is the best gin in the world. For people who don't like gin.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            :)

                    2. I've always been content to limit myself to Costco's gin offerings and settled on Beefeater years ago. Then I moved to a smaller town where the Costco didn't carry it at first (it since does) and traded up to Tanqueray, which I'd enjoyed in years past. Don't know whether it was the T or me, but I found it quite flavorless. Looked at the Sapphire and figured "why spend the bucks" so went down to Gordon's, but its lower proof makes it less satisfying in a martini. Beefeater is now on offer, so at ~$25 for a big bottle, that's my go-to.

                      1. Seagram's Distiller's Reserve. $15/750. Flavorful with a strong 102 proof backbone that makes it a versatile gin that works in Martinis and more complex cocktails.

                        1. I vote for Plymouth. It was $17 for 750ml last time I looked. Did a blind taste test against Tanq 10. Unanimous winner at half the price.

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5520...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: phantomdoc

                            In Boston I recently picked up a Tanqueray 1.75L for $29. US made Gordon's is also fine in my book and can be had for very reasonable money for 1.75L I think <$20. Seagrams, also very reasonable is cask aged, and I have been meaning to try it.

                            No reason to abandon old school brands for new fangled stuff at 2X+ the cost especially Gin which is just alcohol and Juniper berries at it's most basic. Heck I have some grain alcohol and Juniper berries, might have to make some of my own. Will of course dilute it down appropriately once it has steeped.

                          2. Major whoops, it was New Amsterdam at the Fresh Pond Liquor store. After all the hub bub went back to buy some, only to be sorely disappointed. My apologies to gin lovers everywhere ;-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              That makes more sense for Boston/Cambridge. Plymouth is good, but in my book $20 good. Not worth the close to $30 I find it for now (in this area).

                            2. Thanks to all for the suggestions I have decided to make my first foray into my gin experience with one of Trader Joe's house brands, Rear Admiral Joseph's Original London Dry Gin. Price and whim will dictate where I go from here.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: ozbuc

                                I think it's fair to say it also matters how you're drinking it. I just made a couple of Tom Collins with Gordon's and it was perfect (it is hard to even taste the gin). Also mixed up a Jasmine (Gin, Campari, Cointreau, lemon juice) with Gordon's which was perfectly nice and a good spot for a bargain gin.

                                As far as Plymouth goes, I read somewhere that they decided to bump up the price from around $17 to $27 for a 750 not too long ago to reflect going after the "premium" market.

                                1. re: nickls

                                  Well since I am a diabetic the only way I will be drinking it is straight with an ice cube.

                                  1. re: ozbuc

                                    If you don't mix it with seltzer, you are missing something great.

                                    1. re: ozbuc

                                      Is good dry vermouth out of the question?

                                  2. re: ozbuc

                                    Good call. Probably one of the best cheapest gins out there.

                                    As far as how to drink it, is good dry vermouth out of the question? It makes a pretty good classic martini.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      I just might give the martini a try.