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Best "cheap" gin?

I like Tanqueray just fine, but the last time I was in the liquor store, I was considering whether I really need to buy a "premium" brand if I'm just going to mix it with tonic (that's pretty much the only way I drink gin). (And, yes, I'm old enough to consider Tanq to be a "premium" brand.)

Any suggestions about whether any of the standard "bottom shelf" brands are worth checking out (e.g. Gordon's, Beefeater, etc.)?


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  1. LOL @ calling Beefeater bottom shelf! It's one of the better gins regardless of the price. True, there are more expensive gins that taste less like gin, but Beefeater is a solid spirit.

    Bombay Dry Gin (not Sapphire) is another solid one that like Beefeater is just under $30 for a 1.75L.

    5 Replies
    1. re: yarm

      Tanqueray definitely gets a premium price -- at least a few bucks -- due to the name. I don't think I've ever heard anyone order a "Beefeater & tonic" or a "Gordon's & tonic".

      1. re: scratchie

        Yes, marketing.

        I have definitely asked for cocktails made with Beefeater. Never Gordon's though (although in some drinks it works decently).

        Beefeater 24 and their Summer Edition are both in the premium price point (although both are just softer versions flavor- and proof-wise of regular Beefeater).

        1. re: yarm

          Agreed that marketing (and alliteration) have made "Tanqueray and tonic" more common, but I've heard many a "Beefeater and tonic" call be made. I find that Tanqueray has a sweeter, fruitier taste and hence pairs well with the sugary tonic and lime. Beefeater and Gordon's are drier and have more juniper flavor.

        2. re: scratchie

          I've worked in high-end restaurants for many years and people order Beefeater and tonic very regularly.

        3. re: yarm

          I agree with your assessment, and both Bombay Dry and Beefeater are really martini gins...Tanqueray goes better for me as a g-t...in NYC, Bombay dry 1.75 L goes from $35-42 except on occasional discount...

        4. If Tanqueray is a premium brand, then that category would have to include Gordon's and Beefeater as well. The price points are nearly identical (at least in Central NJ). That being said, I actually much prefer the latter two to Tanqueray, but I do not, generally, dilute my gin with tonic. Nevertheless, unless you want to do the "expensive albeit fun" G&T - think Bulldog with Q - then I can't imagine any reason why any of the three discussed herein wouldn't provide a fine partner to some Schwepps and a nice wedge of lime.

          1. I drink Gin above all else.....but that can be an expensive habit if you have discerning tastes. In my cupboard i have my main "splurge" gins like Hendrick's, and a couple small distillery brands.

            But, my main day to day drinking gin is Seagrams. Its extremely easy in a G&T and never disappoints. So, if you want "bottom shelf" stay clear of Gordons, Burnetts, or whatever is out there and just get Seagrams (bumpy face as we call it).

            9 Replies
            1. re: wagoneer79

              Agreed. Is the topic about "cheap" gin, or "inexpensive imported" gin? Sure Beefeater is less expensive than Tanqueray, Bombay, or Plymouth, but it isn't what I would consider "bottom shelf" at all.

              For years, Seagram's Extra Dry Gin has been my recommendation for parties and the like where one doesn't have to "impress the guests" with a fancy label.


              1. re: zin1953

                And it's actually an excellent gin. One of only two worldwide that is aged in a barrel.

                1. re: JMF

                  Seagrams is good stuff, especially for gin & tonics with a slice of fresh lemon from your own tree.

                  1. re: JMF

                    Seagram's is sneaky, quietly putting out decent products.

                    Someone told me that Seagram's Brazilian Rum is actually a cachaca - and a pretty good one - that was intentionally bottled above the limit so it would have to be labeled a rum. Unfortunately it is becoming hard to find, they closed it out in PA at $5.99 a bottle a few weeks before I went up there for Christmas. I have never seen it here in NC.

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      Seagram's is just a brand name owned by Pernod-Ricard nowadays, not a distillery.

                      It wasn't "bottled above the limit " it is distilled at a higher abv. than cachaça, and so isn't one, but both technically a rum, and without most of the flavor profile of a cachaça. Cachaça must be distilled to between 38 and 48% abv., the Seagrams is distilled at over 55% abv. this is a big difference both technically and to the structure and flavor profile. think of it more like partway between a cachaça, rum, and vodka.

                      1. re: JMF

                        The person who told me this said the limit for a cachaca was 54%, I guess he was mistaken. The wikipedia article on cachaca says 54%, perhaps that is where he got the figure.

                        1. re: JMF

                          This is incorrect, see below a couple posts under my name. Cachaca must be distilled to no more than 54%, Seagrams is distilled at 54% - no practical difference. At 54-55% you get lots of flavor typical of cachaca. Rum is distilled much higher, often closer to 90%, and tasteless vodka at 95%.

                          It is incorrect to position Seagram's as partway between them.

                        2. re: ncyankee101

                          Here's the deal: by Brazilian law cachaca must be distilled to between 38 - 54%, and then bottled at 38 - 48%. Capish? Seagram's distilled theirs to 55%, just one percent above the limit (then bottled it at 40%, 80 proof).

                          Thus, technically it is a rum, but practically it is most definitely a cachaca. If any of you can taste the 1% difference in distillation, you must be F. Paul Pacult in disguise.

                    2. re: wagoneer79

                      I must try Seagram's.......and, it's in an attractive bottle

                    3. I buy "weekday" gin and "weekend" gin as I have a cocktail after work most nights and I can't afford weekend gin all the time :-) I buy Beefeater or Sapphire as my weekend gin almost always. Others I like- Tanquerey 10, Boodles, Plymouth, Hendricks... Will buy regular Tanquerey only if it's cheaper than Beefeater which is rare.

                      So on to your actual question: are there any cheap gins worth drinking? When I buy my "weekday" gins I mix them in a Gin and Tonic pretty happily but they are a bit too raw for a martini. I'll mix my weekday gin and my weekend gin 1/2 and 1/2 to make a palatable martini during the week. A waste of good gin is a logical response... but to each his own. Cheap gins that I've been able to live with:
                      * Gordon's is actually a respectable spirt IMO... not smooth, mind you, but pleasant flavors.
                      * Pinnacle Gin- I found this for $10 for a 1.75 once!! I should have purchased a case. Again.. a decent G&T spirit.. a bit raw for a martini.
                      * Seagram's- smoother than Gordon's but some unlikeable flavors... not horrible and I will buy if it's significantly cheaper.

                      There appears to me to be a big gap in the gin market.. Speaking in discount terms for 1.75L bottles.. (and this is Denver, CO pricing) you go from $12/14 for the weekday style gin and $27-30 for the weekend. Someone needs to market a nice gin in the $20 range!

                      In the Vodka market Svedka, Monopolowa and Sobieski fill these gaps pretty cleanly and nicely at $17-20. not sure why someone can't do the same with gin?

                      Things I've tried and rejected: New Amsterdam (god awful artifical-orange flavor), Gilbey's (same price point as Gordon's... but much more astingent), Fleishman's (hey- you have to try things to reject them... ), Monopolowa (this is a good cheap gin- but they don't sell it cheaply anymore! )

                      I haven't tried Booth's yet- may have to do so...


                      14 Replies
                      1. re: e_bone

                        The Trader Joe's near me has liter bottles of Monopolowa (gin and vodka) for <$10. Both products can hold their own against "premium" brands at 2-3 times the cost.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          Yes, I have had the Monopolowa vodka (made from potatoes?) from TJ and it was quite good and a terrific bargain.

                        2. re: e_bone

                          I have no qualms with inexpensive liquors, but will not touch anything made in a plastic bottle. Although I have consumed Gordon's in a 1.75L plastic bottle, it is better in the smaller containers (in glass).

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                            perhaps, my Iowa soul cousin, you can elaborate on why plastic is objectionable to you. Landfill issues? (If so I agree that it bugs me to contribute) Leeching effect of toxic chemicals? (If so I am open minded and want to read the stuides that motivate you as I am similarily curious) Don't want to show a plastic bottle to your friends? (tell them to suck it and go drink at their own houses) or is it a taste thing? (which I have never explored and am presuming is not necessary as the highly stuctured containers *should* be neutral reactive.. but again- I'm open minded).

                            1. re: e_bone

                              e_bone: It is a litmus test of sorts (vanity-related). I tell the owner of my local liquor store that if I start buying the booze made in plastic bottles, I am on the brink of dying penniless (and thus cut me off). It is more about being in college over 20 years ago and having found any manufacturer using plastic bottles to make alcohol of questionable quality. I like gin (and Gordon's) enough to drink from a 1.75L plastic bottle, but that's about the only one! It may be in my head, but I think Gordon's tastes a little better in glass.

                              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                Hah, too funny, cause I agree it makes me just a little sad that Gordon's cheaps out that rather respectable product by putting it in plastic...

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  just revisited this thread.
                                  On that topic, what i really don't get is why the liter comes in glass, but the 1.75 comes in plastic.

                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                    I don't know, cheaper to mold I guess. I don't really notice a taste difference, it's (glass) more aesthetic, I guess, and probably safer. I did just buy a 1.75 of what arguably is the "best cheap Scotch", Teacher's, and it was glass!

                                    1. re: tommymeboy

                                      Gentleman (and ladies), may I point out that when intoxicated, a big bottle of gin is rather difficult to hang onto. And would you rather have something that bounces (plastic) or something that shatters on hard surfaces (glass)? I'm not saying Tommy is wrong about the cost, but there are benefits to us as well. I will also say that the only handle of gin I've ever found that is really awesome that comes in plastic is pinnacle. Great gin for the price. And Gin should IMO be served freezing cold if it is to be drank straight. Plastic holds up to the freezer better than plastic.

                                      1. re: ginjunk

                                        "Plastic holds up to the freezer better than plastic." Ahh, ginjunk, when intoxicated, a keyboard is rather difficult to hang onto! ;)

                                        1. re: tommymeboy

                                          Sad thing is I wasn't drunk when I wrote that....and it was meant to be Plastic holds up to the freezer better than glass....for the record.

                                        2. re: ginjunk

                                          Fersonalllary I fink flastic is far suferior to flastic...

                                2. re: e_bone

                                  e_bone: My current daily drinker is Boodles ...

                              1. I say Gordon's, which is simple clean, and uncomplicated. Or Seagram's which has to be one of the best bang for your buck in gin.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: JMF

                                  I like New Amsterdam, but it's VERY citrusy (although I don't find the flavor artificial). It's good in lighter/citrusy cocktails, not a good Martini gin. At $19.99 for 1.75L at one store in NYC I'm pretty happy about it.

                                  1. re: craig_g

                                    I'm jumping on the artificial citrus and too sweet bandwagon for the New Amsterdam gin. I have had several bottles given to me in the last two months and the more I taste it the less I like it.

                                      1. re: JMF

                                        I've cooled on it a bit, too. It's tolerable with tonic, but I don't think it makes very good martinis.

                                  2. Gordon's is completely decent, and a workhorse for me.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jerryc123

                                      Agree JerryC. Nothing great but nothing horrible about it.

                                    2. Yeah, I was going to vote for Beefeater, also. Generally on the cheaper end, but excellent.

                                      Not a fan of Gordon's at all, personally.

                                      New Amsterdam is definitely worth trying in a G&T, though probably not much else.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Alcachofa

                                        Someplace else around here I've reported upon some of my thoughts from sampling various gins neat. The New Amsterdam was quite sweet and, as I don't know how else to describe it, had a taste of bubble gum. Hidden behind tonic and lime, I agree, is about the only way to drink it.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          I agree, it has some sort of an artificial pink grapefruit sort of taste to it, and definitely is sweetened.

                                      2. If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, their house brand "Rear Admiral Joseph" gin is the best dollar for dollar I've tried.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Uncle George

                                          I'm always quite amused by the graphics and the name trying to mimic Old Raj gin.

                                          1. re: Uncle George

                                            I think this gin is pretty one-dimensional, bland on the juniper, and it has a bit of a bitter aftertaste especially in a gin and tonic- I thought it did pretty well in a citrusy drink. It is very cheap though- about $7.80 here if I remember correctly, so I wasn't too disappointed.

                                            1. re: tinnywatty

                                              I salute your palate sir (or madame) if you can truly detect traces of a gin’s "bitter aftertaste" in a gin and tonic -- a mixed drink that contains quinine.

                                            2. re: Uncle George

                                              I got a bottle on a whim last week and feel it compares favorably to Gordon's, which is my cheap gin of choice for G&Ts or anything else where I want the bite of a rougher gin.

                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                Was that at a TJ's in the Boston area? I didn't know any around here had the hard stuff.

                                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                                  Coolidge Corner. Maybe also Mem Drive, not sure.

                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                    Mem Drive just has beer and wine, that's why I thought it was a Mass thing.

                                            3. Charlie Allnut (Bogart) drank Gordon's gin in The African Queen, and shame on Rose for polluting the Zambezi River when she dumped his stash!
                                              In the early 70's I met the graphic artist who designed the scotsman logo on the Beefeater bottle. I suggested that hopefully he was still earning royalties. He said that if only he had known 20 years earlier when he did the work that it would have become iconic, he may have done better than selling it for $200.

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                These are not Scotsmen on the bottle. They are the Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters who guard the tower of London and today give tours of the tower.

                                                FWIW, I'm in the Gordon's camp for G and T's. I think the quality of tonic is a bigger determinant of a good Gin and Tonic than the Gin, assuming you're using London Dry style gin.

                                                1. re: TroyTempest

                                                  Thanks for the clarification. The tall Beefeater bottle with the neat logo is more attractive than the squat Gordon's bottle with the simple label, but that's all that is in my cabinet at the moment. I understand that the british version of Gordon's differs from the American, including the proof. Any details?

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    no problem. About 4 years back i went on a tour of the tower of london. They give quite an entertaining tour if you get the chance.
                                                    About British Gordons vs. American, I've heard that too. I'm no expert.
                                                    On a somewhat related note, Gordons is made by the Tanqueray Co., but i'd bet its not the same recipe. There are those who say that our Tanqueray is closer to British Gordons. Gordons is less proof than Tanq,
                                                    Someone commented on this topic a couple of years back on this board, but i can't recall who.

                                                    1. re: TroyTempest

                                                      The implements of torture were especially impressive :)

                                                      We were in Rio last week and I ordered a martini. When I asked what brandS of gin they had, she said "Tanqueray; it's the best." And ya know what? It was a damn fine (and huge) martini. Nothing namby pamby about it.

                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                      You are correct; the British Gordon's is about 94 proof, while the American bottling is only 80 proof. I've heard from several trusted sources that the closest we can get to the British bottling of Gordon's is good ol' Tanqueray.

                                                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                                        A single data point- but I finally made my first trip to London this last Fall.. I LOVED it. I got to try British Gordon's and for my tastes it was vastly superior to the Yankee bottling. I supidly forgot to check on the "proofage" but I trust the other posters that said it's like Sapphire (94 proof). It was very similar, as JK and others have posted, to Tanquerey.

                                                        Should have brought some home!

                                                      2. re: Veggo

                                                        The Gordon's gin in the classic James Bond martini was 100 proof. It's now 80 proof. Still makes an excellent martini, though.

                                                      3. re: TroyTempest

                                                        I have been searching for any discussion on tonic and your post is one of the few to mention it. If you're still following this thread, any thoughts on the quality of different brands? I have seen a few boutique brands going for $8 for a 4-pack but have so far been unwilling to spring on them without some assurance of superior quality. Among the mass market brands, what is your favorite? (Anyone else, feel free to jump in if you have any thoughts on the subject)

                                                        1. re: hink

                                                          I think Fever Tree tonic is the best, followed by Fentimans, and Q Tonic. For regular tonic, Schweppes. There are a few other high end tonics being released soon. Also pre-made tonic syrups that you add to seltzer are starting to be seen.

                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                            Thanks. I saw Fever Tree at the liquor store last week so I think I'll give that one a try first. I usually drink Schweppes and don't really have any complaints. I can't really remember ever drinking a G&T, any G&T, on a hot summer day and not thinking it was wonderful.

                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                              I'll second the Fever tree their bitter Lime and ginger beer are good too.

                                                              1. re: hink

                                                                I bought a case of Fever Tree Ginger Beer on Amazon for $1.50 a bottle with free shipping. Wonderful stuff. I will try the tonic next.

                                                          2. What ever happened to Old Mr. Boston Gin? Ja vel ja. Oso Negro Gin if you visit Juarez and one will forget all danger.

                                                            1. I love Gin and would heartily endorse Miller's or Hendrick's. Both are incredible gins with a lot of complexity and go in nearly anything. But these are middle to upper shelf gins.

                                                              But for a cheaper gin, I think New Amsterdam does a solid job. 1.75 Liters, usually at the 20 or less price point. Its surprisingly drinkable, and has a great classic gin profile.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: aaronk

                                                                I don't hate New Amsterdam if it's mixed with tonic, but I'd strongly disagree that it "has a great classic gin profile". It's soooo citrusy and sweet.

                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                  Agreed, not the "juniper as the primary note - balance tilted slightly to savory over sweet" that defines the "classic gin profile" to me. In fact, the word "saccharine" comes to mind.

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    Ditto on New Amsterdam being a new style gin, not a classic London dry style. Way too sweet and with a pink grapefruit base, and not much juniper. I have come to actively dislike it.

                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                      You wouldn't like Hayman's Old Tom gin it is a sweet variety light on the juniper. I like it but only because it is light on juniper. Since you do a lot of infusions do you have a recipe for homemade sloe Gin? And a good cocktail recipe for the end product?

                                                                      1. re: TheDewster

                                                                        Hayman's Old Tom is a nice Old Tom. It's supposed to be sweet, it's an Old Tom.

                                                                        New Amsterdam has an artificial sort of sweetness to it.

                                                                        Never got my hands on Sloe berries

                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                          Sadly I bought the last bottles LCBO is discontinuing them due to poor sales, most expats like Plymouth and the dry gins sait la vie. My mom says to add one third of a jam jar with ripe sloe berries and fill jam jar with Gin up to the brim. Seal tightly and put jar in the basement as far from the furnace as possible shake monthly. Ready to go in 6 months. I have had this it is really tart but mom likes Tanqueray. Might be better with Old Tom. I think you can buy frozen sloe berries. Seagram makes a sloe gin but it is pretty weak.

                                                                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                    Best description to date for New Amsterdam was, "Orange Pez & juniper"

                                                                2. Plymouth gin is under $30 but its different than London Dry Gins like Tanqueray, Beefeater etc...

                                                                  It used to be cheap... about two years ago I was able to find it for ~$17 now its ~$27. Plymouth has some really nice citrus flavors and is great in G&Ts, Negronis and Martini's.

                                                                  IMO it's worth giving Plymouth a shot.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Faune

                                                                    Plymouth is my go-to gin in most applications, but over the years, I have come to the conclusion that for a straight G&T, Gordon's is my gin of choice. I find that note of harshness pleasing in the context of a really well-made G&T.

                                                                  2. I was in Trader Joes today and saw Monopolowa Vienna Gin. The bottle had a sticker touting a double gold at the SF Spirits competition. At $10 (or maybe $11, I forget) for a liter it's beyond cheap. I picked up a bottle but haven't opened it yet. It's distilled from potatoes, not grain, just as their vodka (another great TJ deal) is. I like the vodka well enough for infusions. The potato spirits have a bit of mouth feel that grain vodkas lack (or, for all I know, they put a bit of glycerin in there). Anyway, it looks like a great bargain and what I found in a quick search here and elsewhere seems to bear that out.

                                                                    1. A few years ago a drinking buddy and I were giving all of the major gins an evaluation, ranging from the cheapest on up. We both agreed that Beefeater was a bit too assertive for drinking straight (or nearly straight, as in a martini), but that it was otherwise well made. We also agreed that Booth's was very worthwhile for its very modest price, but definitely too mild, bordering on being a vodka. So... we blended the two 50/50 and created the Bootheater Martini and were delighted with the results. The only gin that we couldn't choke down was Gordon's.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. I saw the following and thought of tis thread.


                                                                        1. Any good London Dry. I usually buy Gordon's because James Bond preferred it. Ever had a Gin Buck? Fill a highball glass with cracked ice, add a shot of gin and half a shot of Rose's lime juice. Top the glass off with ginger ale. Great for those sultry summer nights.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: seiun

                                                                            I believe the standard recipe for a Gin Buck uses fresh lime (or lemon) juice, not Rose's Lime Cordial. Rose's would make a sweeter variation, with a different citrus flavor (which you of course may prefer).


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

                                                                            1. re: seiun

                                                                              Replace the Rose's Lime Juice with a half of a fresh lime and you'll be happier!

                                                                            2. Wow a lot of Amsterdam bashing on here. I actually enjoy drinking Amsterdam straight. I also enjoy hendricks and tanqueray 10 for that purpose. For g&t Sapphire or Beefeaters is my preferred although gordons or seagrams will do in a pinch.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ginjunk

                                                                                Actually, there is no such thing as a bad gin.

                                                                                It's just that some gins are better than others.

                                                                                I like 10 and Sapphire, for what it is worth.

                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                  Oh I have to disagree with that, I remember one bottle I got that tasted like someone had pureed their Christmas tree when they were done with it and mixed it with vodka. Horrible. It had a blue label on it and I think it was called ambassador or something like that but I could be wrong on the name. I wouldn't use that stuff for trashcan punch.

                                                                                  1. re: ginjunk

                                                                                    Haha, had to be Aristocrat gin. Tastes like someone is stabbing you in the throat with pine needles.

                                                                                    1. re: billyjack

                                                                                      Might fit the bill, people talk about artificial tastes in gin. When the your juniper is artificial you have a serious problem. Most of what I remember about it was the Blue label and the big word GIN across it with some long A word above it. Anyway so do make the thread drift a bit anyone else have lousy gin to mention?

                                                                                      1. re: billyjack

                                                                                        I had never heard of Aristocrat till the other night when my friend (who had managed a restaurant/bar) pointed it out to me - the super cheap well brand (various spirits) used by most bars and restaurants, all you usually see are the pour spouts sticking up from under the bar.

                                                                                        1. re: billyjack

                                                                                          Aristocrat Gin is the embodiment of the Aristocrat joke.

                                                                                          "What''s the gin called?"

                                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                            It's a family gin - it's tastefully blended!

                                                                                  2. Don't know if its cheap in the US but Hayman's
                                                                                    Old Tom is my favourite gin.

                                                                                    1. I keep Hendrick's and Beefeater around pretty much all the time.
                                                                                      Hendrick's is my choice for martinis and i can get it for around $25 at TJ's.
                                                                                      I recently priced Beefeater at Cost co and it seemed an incredible bargain at around $24 for a HUGE bottle.
                                                                                      When purse strings are tight, I turn to the Beefeater. It's what my parents drank, and still do. In g&t's or straight on the rocks, I don't find it rough or bottom shelf. I do find it adffordable and an excellent alternative.

                                                                                      1. Boodles, if you can find it, is an affordable gin with a clean, straightforward taste.

                                                                                        1. Cheapest gin? Oso Negro, $2/ liter, from Juarez Mexico, if you hold life cheaply.

                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            Mexican gin, $2 / Liter.

                                                                                            Part of the long Mexican tradition of gin manufacture.


                                                                                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                I work with some analytical chemists. I gotta get a hold of some of that Oso Negro and have them run it through the LC-MS. Would die to see what's in that stuff...

                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                  After being Agent Oranged and working 3 years as a uranium miner 1800 ft. under ground: what me worry?

                                                                                                  Alfred E. Dumkeg

                                                                                                2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                  I remember when Oso Negro was in a dark green, liter bottle with a plastic black bear on a chain around the handle. I had my first whiff of the juniper and the botanicals by breathing deeply from the scent of the bouquet wafting out the top. My god mother, Dorothy Jean, had purchased it on a trip to Mexico and my curiosity was so great she allowed me a teaspoon full to satisfy the raccoon in me. And that was the start of a lifelong love affair with gin starting on the bottom, bottom shelf with the world's cheapest gin. But man it was great! I was 13 at the time.

                                                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                Hmm, cut -rate Mexican gin.

                                                                                                My self-destructive side really wants to try it, but then common sense says to let my friends try drinking it first....

                                                                                                I wonder if they use real juniper to flavor the gin with, or if they just say screw it, pour a bottle of pine oil directly into alcohol.

                                                                                                I'll stick with my cheap Gordons gin.

                                                                                                1. re: deet13

                                                                                                  On the other hand, I used to be the Headmaster of diplomatic schools in Scandinavia and the ol' CCCP for 11 years. With my diplomatic privilege, I could get any hard liquor for about 2 bucks a bottle. Unless it was a case of time and place, the Mexican gin wasn't half bad, and I still have my vision!

                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                    Back in 88, we took the non-diplomatic, $100 in the pocket, "Smirk at the Reds, as they lose control of their Empire tour" through Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Romania.

                                                                                                    While there, we experienced the horror of the State owned Communist distilleries. I never griped about mass-produced, bland liquor after that.

                                                                                                    Yeah, the Mexican gin is probably better than the gasoline flavored swill I had on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

                                                                                                    1. re: deet13

                                                                                                      I bought plenty of cheap водка Московская when I visited the СССР in the early '80s. Yes, it was produced in a "State owned Communist distillery," but it was one of the finest vodkas in the world then, and could hold its own now. The Georgian шампанское didn't match western tastes, but it wasn't bad for a demi-sec.

                                                                                                      No doubt "the other side of the Iron Curtain" produced some nasty swill, but it also produced fine spirits and decent - albeit unfashionable - wines.

                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                        Credit where it's due, the Georgian wines were pretty damned good. IMO, they were nearly as good as the Rieslings I was able to get over in Fulda and Wurzburg during the fests.

                                                                                                        The best liquor I had over there was in Poland. Once we found a local who was able to speak English, and only after we were able to convince him that we really were Americans (they initially thought we were Brits), we were dragged out for a day on the town in Krakow.

                                                                                                        The Poles kept pouring us shots of a buffalo grass infused vodka. Marti, the guy we were partying with said it was one of the local specialties. At some point I blacked out, and woke up at the train station in Warsaw the next morning.

                                                                                                        It was really good stuff; but to this day, I still can't bear the thought of drinking it due to my multi-day hangover.

                                                                                                        1. re: deet13

                                                                                                          The high speed catamaran from Helsinki (high liquor prices) to Gdansk was called the Vodka Express. What a disgusting trip back!

                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                            Ugh.... High seas and clear liquor, it's a recipe for disaster.

                                                                                                            I wish I could have gotten over to Finland, while I was putzing around in Europe. I loved Poland (Czechoslovakia also), but nobody broke out any bathtub gin on us.

                                                                                                            However we were bartering for goods with packs of American Marlboro cigarettes, so people were breaking out the good stuff for us...

                                                                                                      2. re: deet13

                                                                                                        One up man ship and no lie. I studied art in the CCCP in '69-70. At a party at a Russian artist's apt., I caught him syphoning bath tub vodka into Stoli bottles. I wound up locked outside the apt. block clad only in my tighty whities and shall stop there......
                                                                                                        There was also the Vodka drinking contest between 4 North Vietnamese students and me, to see who really won the war. I refrain again. Siemper Fi.
                                                                                                        ps I smuggled back to the US a lot of Russian religious art, thanks to the bootlegging artist.Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                          i was a student in the CCCP in the summer of 1968 . . .

                                                                                                          First I worked for Bobby Kennedy in the the California Primary in June -- was there that night -- then studied in the Soviet Union -- and worked for Eugene McCarthy at the DEmocratic Convention in Chicago. No wonder the FBI *loves* me!!!

                                                                                                          But I digress . . .

                                                                                                          EVERYwhere we went, there were seemingly endless bottles of Советское Шампанское . . . god, talk about hangovers! Georgian wine was better! But for водка, it was much better at the Берёзка . . .

                                                                                                          Do you remember the Embassy of the Republic o (South) Vietnam around the corner from Гум -- the one that flew the flag of the Viet Cong? Now THAT was an interesting visit,

                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                            NICE. I wanna hear how you got your clothes back.

                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                              I think you need to write a book. With lots of sordid details. Bourdain's been going soft recently and demand's building for true tales of travel gone really weird.

                                                                                                              I'll take three copies, thanks.

                                                                                                    2. Don't know if it's the best--whatever that means--but certainly in the running for the best value: TJ's Rear Admiral Joseph. A more-or-less classic London Dry. Hard to beat at--if memory serves--$8/750ml. I'd be love to know who's making it and putting the TJ label on it, but this is what a decent Brit gin should taste like at about the right price point if you're more interested in what's in the bottle than the shape/color/decor of the bottle itself.

                                                                                                      1. Depends on what you define cheap as and what your budget is?
                                                                                                        10, 20 or 30 dollars?
                                                                                                        Also do you like the London Dry Gin or the American Dry Gins?

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ginjunk

                                                                                                          $10 = Seagram's Reserve GIn 51%
                                                                                                          $20 = Beefeater 47%
                                                                                                          $30 = Plymouth Gin 41.2%

                                                                                                          You have enough diversity for Mixing, as well as Smoothness for sipping.

                                                                                                          What you will notice is as the price goes up, the Alcohol content goes down.

                                                                                                          Fun Facts
                                                                                                          - Seagrams is Aged in Oak
                                                                                                          - Beefeater is Ozzie Ozzborne's Favorite Drink
                                                                                                          - Only Plymouth Gin can make Plymouth Gin

                                                                                                          1. re: ginreviews

                                                                                                            Love Plymouth Gin, also Hayman's Old Tom Gin a nice sweet gin that makes great Gin and Tonics and is very affordable.

                                                                                                        2. I grew up on Gordon's. My Dad drank it, said there was "no reason to spend a lot on gin". He made me my first Martini on the rocks, a little extra olive juice. So I have fond memories of cooking out on the grill with a cold Martini in a Tervis Tumbler! I've tried Hendrick's, which I liked, and Beefeater, also good, but nothing seems right unless it's Gordon's.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: tommymeboy

                                                                                                            Update: It must be Spring, people have a taste for Gin again! With our unseasonably warm Spring here in the Midwest, I bought a bottle of Bombay Dry, which I like, and also Broker's, which is substantial for the price. Neither bottle is noticeably superior to Gordon's, however, which, at $9.00 /bottle, is definitely my best cheap gin. It's got more Juniper-forward taste, which I like. I may try Seagram's, based on comments posted in this forum.

                                                                                                          2. I haven't tried all the gins out there but my general go-to is Bombay Sapphire. I decided to do a taste test of cheaper gins to see if there are any better choices. I blind tested the following, straight up:

                                                                                                            Gordon's: Surprisingly good, but a few off balance notes and slight harshness put it behind the other two.
                                                                                                            Seagram's: Solid. Surprisingly smooth, well rounded and balanced. For the price it's an excellent all purpose gin. Nothing exceptional, but nothing's out of place in this gin.
                                                                                                            New Amsterdam: Has a distinct citrus note and sweetness that made it immediately stand out from the other. It's smooth and well balanced but almost seemed like it wasn't gin due to the heavy citrus presence. YMMV but for me, the citrus character gives it a slight edge over Seagrams.

                                                                                                            Both Seagram's and New Amsterdam are solid choices - in terms of flavor they're about equal but the Seagrams is a much stronger value when price is factored in.

                                                                                                            I will be bringing back the two winners and adding another cheap gin in the next taste test, along with my favorite, Bombay Sapphire.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                              I am surprised only one person on this thread has mentioned Brokers, that is my favorite so far - flavorful enough to hold up to tonic but not so harsh as to be undrinkable neat.

                                                                                                              My experience with Gin is somewhat limited, have yet to try any of the more pricey ones such as Plymouth or Hendricks - but I have had Beefeaters, Tanqueray, Seagrams, New Amsterdam, Gordons, and Pinnacle, and have a bottle of Boodles I have yet to open.

                                                                                                              1. re: ncyankee101


                                                                                                                Brokers is awesome but costs as much in Denver (right now more) than Beefeater, Bombay or Tanqueray. I love it and buy it when it's on sale.. but this thread was for us to share info on lower-tier priced gins. The Seagrams, the Gordons or the Pinnacle.

                                                                                                                I love Boodles as well- especially with a splash of tonic and a wedge of sweet lime- but again.. price is same as the "Big 3" listed above.

                                                                                                                1. re: e_bone

                                                                                                                  I just made a cocktail with 2 oz. Broker's gin, 1/2 oz. dry (Martini & Rossi) vermouth, 1/4 oz. Dolin blanc sweet vermouth, 2 dashes homemade orange bitters, a splash (maybe 1/4 oz.?) homemade sour cherry liqueur, and a few homemade spiced brandied cherries with a bit of their juice. Despite a lot going on, the Broker's held up well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: e_bone

                                                                                                                    The OP mentioned Beefeaters as an "inexpensive" gin, here in NC it is $17/750 - so I assumed inexpensive to mean somewhat south of $20, vs $30-35 for the "premium" ones such as Plymouth or Hendricks.

                                                                                                                    Broker's is $15 here, Tanqueray $20, Bombay $17, Pinnacle and New Amsterdam are $13 - so I think Broker's definitely should be mentioned in comparison with ones in this thread. ( I got Boodles online for $14.)

                                                                                                                  2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                    Cheap. Strong. Perfect for a drink in which the gin needs to stand up to other strong ingredients. I'm with you on this one!

                                                                                                                2. I was curious as to what the cheap Gin aficionados thought of Seagrams extra-dry vs the Distiller's reserve.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                    Seagrams extra dry is harsher than the Distiller's reserve. I like the flavor of the extra dry better though, and really that alcohol burn is nice sometimes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ginjunk

                                                                                                                      Well since a 375 ml doen't cost much at all I decided to pick up one of each and do a side-by-side taste test. I am not sure what you mean by harsh, I didn't think either one was noticeably harsh.

                                                                                                                      The main difference I noticed was that the distiller's reserve has a much more pronounced juniper flavor, and the nose was considerably sharper - in fact, I thought it made the extra dry taste rather bland and vodka-like. I was able to pick it out blind nearly every time, and the only miss was when my palate started to get fatigued.

                                                                                                                  2. For about $15 for a fifth, I am partial to Boodles ....

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                      Heh, wow, if you want to order it from PA (not stocked in stores) you get to pay $29 a fifth. And you get to order a minimum 6 bottles. That's really odd, sometimes things are more expensive, sometimes not, but it's usually not THAT far out of whack for liquor....

                                                                                                                      1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                        Well . . . it IS the PLCB, after all.

                                                                                                                        1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                          Not just PA: I haven't seen it for $15, either.

                                                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                            I got it online from Merwins in Minnesota for $14 - and they have a 1.75 here in Myrtle beach for $30 and change.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                              That's so cheap. I'll be in MB in a few weeks. I'll have to hit the liquor store.

                                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                I saw it at Green's on King Highway by north 29th av, a few blocks from Broadway at the Beach. They also have El Charro tequila for $14 and Mount gay XO rum for $35. They also have New Amsterdam for $13/1.75 l after $5 MIR, not my favorite gin but for the price I couldn't resist.

                                                                                                                                Owens up the road at ~8000 Kings Highway is where I got the Casa Noble gift set with minis of repo and anejo, they had two left but they might only have one before I head back home tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                Prices here in SC are very weird, they are privatized and have great prices on some things, but on others they are way higher than NC where we have state-run liquor st

                                                                                                                          2. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                            Just bought a bottle today [Ames, Iowa -- Cyclone Liquors] .... $16.79 plus tax. I often am surprised when others put up prices that are much lower than I can buy something for as well. Iowa got rid of state run liquor stores in 1988, but every retailer must still buy booze from the State of Iowa's Alcohol Beverages Division.

                                                                                                                            1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                              Here's the State of Iowa's Liquor Wholesale Price Sheet for September 2011 ... May be a good estimate of how much a distributor is selling liquor to your local retailer.


                                                                                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                                Oh. My. I hope you can mail-order into Iowa because that is one hideously-limited selection. At least they offer 8 SKUs of Apple Schnapps. ;)

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

                                                                                                                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                  Limited selection is right - geez I thought we had no choices in rum here in NC - but the prices are generally good, heck some of their prices are the best I have seen anywhere - Ardbeg 10 for $37, HP 12 $35, Bulleit Rye, Eagle rare and Evan Willams SB $22.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                    It is what you get in a liquor control state ...

                                                                                                                            2. Gordons....absolutely. Here in Baltimore, you can sometimes get it for $10.99 for 1.75...

                                                                                                                              1. Plymouth Gin was always the best "cheap" gin until about 6 or so years ago. $14.99 a bottle and distributed here in the states.
                                                                                                                                Here come Pernod/Chivas Brothers and a third bottle design coming to the states and we are at $35 a bottle. I'd be very happy to have the original bottle, old price and the ability to buy Navy Strength here in the states

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: sakeandgin

                                                                                                                                  I absolutely agree. Never been a huge fanboy for Plymouth, but thought it was solid when it was available for under $20. Now that it's pushing $30+, not so much.

                                                                                                                                  1. While we're normally Tanqueray folks (especially their new Indian lime-scented version), we've also been very happy with Seagram's Lime-Flavored Gin. Very reasonably priced & very herbal (which is the way we like it), with just a hint of natural lime flavor. Makes a terrific G&T.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                      I'm glad you posted this Barcardi1. I would have never tried it. I find Tang Rangpur *too* limey even for a gin and tonic.. but if it's subtle and herbal I think I might enjoy it. I'll let you know when I try.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: e_bone

                                                                                                                                        Definitely give the Seagram's Lime a try. Even if you don't absolutely "love" it, it's very reasonably priced & there's absolutely nothing about it that screams cheap or unpleasant. A very nice G&T gin to keep on hand.

                                                                                                                                    2. I'll bring up Gordon's again, as I do believe it make a fine G&T, but also to ask if others have seen the new label?
                                                                                                                                      Similar to the old "Yellow Label style, it proclaims "the original" and "World's No. 1 International Gin" and most notably, where the old label stated "produced and bottled by the Distillers Company, Norwalk, Conn." it now says "Product of Canada". Still $8.49 at my local grocer's, despite the fact that it's now imported.

                                                                                                                                      1. If your mixing a gin and tonic, Gordons works fine. You are wasting money puting great gin into your gin and tonic unless you've found some ultra special very delicate tonic.

                                                                                                                                        Think about the percent by volume in your glass. maybe 20% gin? Find a good tonic and a decent lime. They affect the flavor more.

                                                                                                                                        Now for martinis, Gordons is useless. Citadel and Bombay Saphire are fine. Martin Millers is excellent. But here, your gin by volume is at 95% so of course you need to pay attention.

                                                                                                                                        1. Oh: Trader Joe's Admiral Joseph's Gin is the best cheap gin I've had, bar none. It's a fantastic buy. It's not the best gin you will ever have in your life - Blue Coat gin is - but it's the best deal you'll ever have on gin. It's a true London Dry Gin, with an appropriately stuffy looking English admiral on the front label. For $7.99 for a normal sized bottle (I mean wine bottle size) it's got everything you could ask for. I think it is superior to Gordon's, Beefeater's and the like. It's smooth, but has enough complexity and heat to make it good. (I personally think proper gin has a bit of heat to it.)

                                                                                                                                          1. I prefer Beefeater over Tanqueray, and at least around here (Bethesda, MD), they cost about the same.

                                                                                                                                            1. In VA Citadelle gin is often $32.00 for a handle. Works well in GT and Aviations/Last Words. Who knew the French could produce such a nice gin?

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: racersave

                                                                                                                                                Citadelle is one of my favorite gins. If you like Hendrick's, I think you are going to like it at least as well. For a more traditional London dry gin in the same price range, Broker's can't be beat.

                                                                                                                                              2. A recent entry here in Austin is Waterloo. Juniper, grapefruit, and a little pepper. Not cheap but not Hendricks level, about $20 a quart.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                                                                  Does the Waterloo have a traditional enough profile that it could work in a variety (or at least a certain variety) of cocktails?

                                                                                                                                                2. In reading the many replies, it seems that the many comparisons are premature without realizing there are three, if not more "styles" of gin:

                                                                                                                                                  1. London Dry
                                                                                                                                                  2. Plymouth
                                                                                                                                                  3. Holland
                                                                                                                                                  4. Old Tom

                                                                                                                                                  Each of these represents a distinctly different style and taste profile. To really compare two gins they must be of the same style, or else what is being represented is no more than a personal preference for a given style.

                                                                                                                                                  For example if Beefeater's (the definitive classic London Dry style) is found superior to say Plymouth Gin or Amsterdam, all that really tells you is that the taster likes London Dry gins better than Holland or Plymouth styles. To be meaningful, Beefeaters would better be compared to another London Dry, like Tanqueray.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Capn Jimbo

                                                                                                                                                    Worth noting that another style, recognized by Jim Meehan in The PDT Cocktail Book, is "New Western Dry Gin", into which he puts Aviation and Hendrick's, and which I suppose you could also put New Amsterdam. Basically, he cites it as a juniper dominant style that nonetheless allows the other botanicals to assume greater dominance than in a traditional London Dry. So, as Capn Jimbo points out, comparing Hendrick's to something like Tanqueray is a bit of a mismatch in that Hendrick's was never intended to taste anything like a traditional London Dry.

                                                                                                                                                  2. My father used to swear by Burnett's and it is all he ever bought. I never really cared much for it, but I guess it was better than nothing.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I prefer Seagram's Extra Dry and enjoy it most evenings. I developed a taste for it as a young lad many years ago since I made gin and tonics for my grandfather during the family card parties. Of course I had to taste the drink to insure proper taste.

                                                                                                                                                      Recently, after a rigorous day of yard work, I came in and was quite thirsty, and was looking in the fridge for something to drink. Seeing the OJ, the 7-Up, and the Lime Juice, I had an epiphany...

                                                                                                                                                      Add that to my Seagram's - this has to be delicious.

                                                                                                                                                      I found it to be very delicious, and now make these on a regular basis. It's even been given a name, Dragon's Mom (bit of an inside joke, but quite appropriate).

                                                                                                                                                      Oh, the beauty of this cocktail? You can use any cheap gin. I've been tempted to make these by the pitcher for gatherings.

                                                                                                                                                      Dragon's Mom

                                                                                                                                                      2 Shots Gin
                                                                                                                                                      2 ounces of 7-Up (Sprite or any other clear lemon-lime soda)
                                                                                                                                                      1 ounce of OJ
                                                                                                                                                      Dash of Lime Juice or slice of Lime.

                                                                                                                                                      (adjust for personal taste)