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What are your favorite new gins?

I'm a gin lover who recently had to take a 9 month vacation from drinking. During that time I've been watching with fascination as the gin section in the liquor store expands.

I'm thinking about doing a big gin buy to sample some of the new stuff, but prices are reasonably high, and I want to be somewhat discerning.

Tell me, Chowhounds -- what are the new gins you're loving? I adore Bluecoat (I live in Philly) and I loved Aviation when I got a chance to try it in Portland last year. I tried a tiny sip of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, and we've got a bottle of that at home, waiting for me to be ready for it -- it was pretty nice, I thought, though I haven't had the chance to sample it fully.

I've read good things about Comb 9, Death's Door, and Fifty Pounds, but I haven't tried them yet. I've seen but know nothing about Farmer's Botanical Small Batch Organic, Dry Fly, Seneca Drums, G'Vine, Right Gin, Martin Miller's, Brandon's, and Tub. I know there are tons more out there that I haven't even seen yet.

I'm not to into Genever or Old Tom -- though I could be persuaded to try them again if you offer suggestions on what to try and how to mix them well.

Help me out, Chowhounds! Tell me which of these new, small batch, artisanal, foreign or local gins you love.

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  1. I like Leopold's American Dry Gin. Subtle but delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monopod

      I'd like to recommend Leopold's Navy Strength Gin. I've got to settle into the bottle a bit more, but my first impression of it was extremely positive. I used it in a Bijou (see recipe below). Some gins can get lost a bit in the Green Chartreuse, but the Leopold's Navy Strength really brought a lot in its own right. It's not just higher proof. It's got a different botanical list and ratio.

      Bijou Cocktail
      1 oz. gin
      1 oz. Green Chartreuse
      1 oz. sweet vermouth
      1 dash orange bitters

      Stir and serve up. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a cherry.

    2. I like Ransom Small's Gin - it has a really nice cardamom flavor.

      1. I've enjoyed Ryan & Wood's Knockabout made in Gloucester, MA, and North Shore No. 6 made in Chicago.

        Of the ones you've mentioned, we have and like Death's Door and Martin Miller's. Death's Door is the least standard of the bunch (stripped down to 3 botanicals). MM's is solid and also comes in a high proof Westbourne Strength that is worth seeking out.


        1. Where do you buy your gins? I'm in the western burbs of Philly and it's slim pickins around these parts. I mean, we have Bluecoat (also adore) and Hendricks and the typical old-school British gins, but that's it. Help ME out. ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: isadorasmama

            Can you drive into DE? Kreston's and Total Wine are where I go often

          2. I really like Hendricks and Nolet's

            Nolet's for smoothness makes Hendricks look harsh when I tasted them side by side neat (room temperature)

            Its fairly expensive thogh but has a unique profile - makes a very good rangoon gimlet if you are so inclined - but mixing is perhaps not the best use of the gin but if you have been away from the gin ahwile why not :)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Dapuma

              For a gin with a similar subtle flavor profile to Hendrick's, I really like Citadelle. It is about half the price here in NC ($20 vs $35, $17 vs $31 on sale). In a blind neat comparison I found them virtually indistinguishable.

              1. re: ncyankee101

                wow that is really high priced for hendricks

                hendricks on sale is usually 26 or 27 bucks

                I will check out Citadelle gin next time i have a chance - thanks for the recomendation

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Tried Citadelle last weekend

                  I don't think Hendricks or Citadelle taste remotely similar - I thought CItadelle was more toward Nolets than Hendricks although unique it its own flavor i thought it was rougher than both - It was very citrusy and floral

                  i had brought it over to a friends house and had brought a small container of St Germaine and i thought St Germaine balanced it out nicely with some club soda and it was even better with orange seltzer water - so i think it has its uses and it is around 6-8 less per handle than hendricks

                  It is a bit more harsh and floral / citrusy than Hendricks, the Mrs did not care for it - so we will stay a Hendrick's household - but if you like to add orange notes to your gin drinks i think citadel is a great way to go and for less money

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    I guess because my palate is more experienced with whisk(e)y and rum, I have trouble picking out the subtleties in delicately flavored gins. Pretty much any gin without much juniper presence (other than New Amsterdam blecch) tastes similar to me. On the other hand I was comparing them neat and could probably taste the subtle differences in mixed drinks.

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      i tried the citadelle neat, it is over 80 proof so it was firey on the tongue - i knew it was time for mixed drinks then heh

                      1. re: Dapuma

                        Dapuma - what ratios were you using with the St Germaine and club soda when comparing Hendricks and Citadelle?

                        I have tried it cut 50/50 with club soda, 2:1:1 club:gin:aperol and still couldn't tell the difference. When I tried 4:2:1 soda:gin;Thatchers elderflower I did pick up a little more citrus in the Citadelle, but I still think they taste very similar. I would have to say the hendricks seems more floral to me, at least in the nose.

              2. I enjoy Bluecoat, as well. I suppose my "new" favorite, however, is Anchor's Junipero.

                7 Replies
                1. re: MGZ

                  What's the flavor profile of Junipero like?

                  1. re: PhillyCook

                    It's pretty juniper forward -which is probably what I like about it. There are other botanicals, gentle citrus peel for example. It's over 90 proof, so a bit of a "pop" neat, but it's not "hot," as one might expect. It's "twist" gin and makes a fine 4 to 1 martini with Noilly (and you can leave out the bitters).

                    1. re: MGZ

                      Agreed, Junipero is spectacular. I had thought the bartender was magical in the expensive joint where I first tried it in a Martini, but the gin just really has something. A bit of the oiliness of a dutch gin, I think, is what seals it for me. It IS strong but agreed with MGZ, it is not hot, it does not taste powerful, but I do know that I cannot drink it without caution.

                      1. re: Up With Olives

                        Another Junipero fan here with one caveat, I think it's too strong for a martini. In gin based cocktails I think it is exceptional and assertive enough to stand up in to anything (fantastic in Negronis). But on it's own I personally find it too hot.

                        1. re: Klunco

                          Perhaps I like it in a Martini because I usually drink them anywhere from 4-to-1 to 6-to-1 depending on ingredients. That said, Junipero can sneak up on one...

                          1. re: Up With Olives

                            While I once sipped a shot glass full of it with a joyous smile of discovery curling my lips, Junipero is an affable spirit, most comfortable when spun together with its friend vermouth. It's not Churchill's gin, nor is it created to be soiled by "dirty"-ing with brine.* And, yes, Klunco, it does make a fantastic negroni. Moreover, having been out seeing my buddy's band until almost 2 this morning, I submit that it even shines more brightly in a 50-50 bloody mary.

                            *Given your 'name,' I am more than happy to 'hear' your view of this thought.

                  2. re: MGZ

                    I love junipero with some campari and a little squeeze of grapefruit. A Junipero negroni is pretty special too.

                  3. Cold River, made in Maine and made from potatoes

                    1. Do not know how new, but two favs of mine are Junipero for the botanicals and Ransom Old Tom for sipping.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Is the Ransom Old Tom very, well, Old Tom like? I mean, the old fashioned sweeter style of gin? Or does it have a more contemporary flavor?

                        And I'll ask you as well -- tell me more about the Junipero. I actually haven't tried it yet. But it looks like its going on my list.

                        1. re: PhillyCook

                          Ransom is supposed to be an Old Tom, not a contemporary gin. So yes, it is somewhat sweeter than your average New American gin -- but not at all syrupy. It's quite bold, with upfront juniper and spice notes, very smooth, and in my opinion extremely well balanced. I've tried it in a few cocktails and it has worked very well (Tom Collins, naturally), but I agree with Delucacheesemonger that it's excellent neat, as a sipper. And that's how I tend to use it when I reach for the bottle.

                      2. isadorasmama -- The premium state stores tend to stock a few interesting items, although these also seem to come and go. It's also become a lot easier lately to order online -- or so it seems; I haven't actually tried this yet. But I think it's now possible to order a single bottle, rather than having to order by the case, and they have several of these gins available on the website http://www.finewineandgoodspirits.com....

                        Also, I'll admit that I take the occasional illicit jaunt over state lines to New Jersey or Delaware to the Total Wine. Everything is cheaper there (though more so with wine than with spirits -- but I like wine, too, so that's okay) and the selection is considerably larger. Although it can still be difficult to find West Coast small batch spirits.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: PhillyCook

                          Thanks for responding. Have you found the Fine Wine and Good Spirits site to have high shipping costs? I need to take a look see over there. I'm nervous about having anything confiscated.

                          I was recently in the Bay Area and went to this place after seeing it online:
                          They have a phenomenal selection of artisanal/craft liquor and I was able to walk out of there with an amaro I can't find anywhere around Philly. I talked to them about shipping here and they won't do it. But they said they might consider shipping to Jersey, which can be problematic but not as much as here.

                          I'd love to find a local place to buy interesting spirits. Too bad this area isn't more agreeable to selling a more varied selection of stuff.
                          I just realized why you might have taken a 9 month hiatus from drinking. If I'm right, congrats on the birth of your baby!

                          Holy mother! Just saw that the Fine Wine and Good Spirits place is taking on $14 for shipping for 1-3 bottles. Yikes.

                          1. re: isadorasmama

                            Was at Cask @a month ago, and indeed great store. My two recent west coast gins were purchased at Canal's in NJ. If it is not on the shelf, they can get it for you.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Very interesting. Did you have to order a case, or would Canal's order for you by the bottle?

                              1. re: PhillyCook

                                Got 2 of one and 3 of the other. They would have gotten me as few or as many as l wanted.

                              2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Great to know. Thanks! Which location did you go to? Does it matter?

                              3. re: isadorasmama

                                You got me -- that was indeed the reason for the nine month break. Thank you for the congratulations!

                              1. Did ya see this article about Hangar One's 3 new gins? The one I tried (sorry, I forget which one ;/) ), was really great. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

                                1. I would recommend Breuckelen Distilling's Glorious Gin. It's not a London dry. They Lso age it as well but that one is harder to find. I like to sip on them neat or over ice. They make great martinis, negronis, bloody Mary's, pretty much any drink I made with them.

                                  I also found this cool video

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Twosugah

                                    I think the Breuckelen gin is horrible. Only 4 botanicals and very unbalanced.

                                  2. Hard to find outside of Massachusetts, but the gins produced by Berkshire Mountain Distillers (both the Greylock and Ethereal) are pretty special.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                      Ethereal is a limited-edition gin with a different recipe and label color for each batch. Its a pretty cool concept. I believe Yarm has tried several. The bottle I tried was way too floral for me, but then I'm not big on that flavor category.

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

                                      1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                        I tried the "Greylock" gin and was underwhelmed for the price. I found it too light for my tastes.

                                        Has anyone tried or seen any of the St. George gins in the Boston area? I've heard great things about them and the blends sound interesting.

                                        1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                          I like all the Berkshire Mountain gins. Chris Weld makes good stuff.

                                        2. Flavored spirits aren't my favorite style of liquor, but I recently tried Tanqueray Rangpur Gin and really liked it. I figure gin is a flavored liquor anyway, so introducing the flavor of Rangpur limes shouldn't be too off the mark. It first appealed to me since I like limes instead of lemons in my G&Ts. I went back to my regular gin for the meantime and am saving this for summer. Should be very nice then on a warm evening.

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: RelishPDX

                                            Personally I think the rangpur is pretty horrible. Way too much rangpur flavor, overwhelmingly so.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              how do you like Averell Damson plum gin? more like port than gin, but worth trying

                                              1. re: barleywino

                                                It was interesting, but not for a regular use gin. I did play around with it in cocktails and had a few decent creations, but none worth writing down. I liked it on the rocks.

                                                1. re: JMF

                                                  "The Public Purse" cocktail from the Violet Hour uses Averell Damson Plum Gin. It was a fantastic cocktail (wish I knew the exact ingredients, but from their website: The Public Purse, Averell Damson Plum Gin, Lime, Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette, Egg White, Peychaud's Bitters)

                                                  1. re: signofthefourwinds

                                                    A quick email to Toby Maloney, formerly of the Violet Hour, got the recipe.

                                                    The Public Purse
                                                    1.0 oz Averell Damson Plumb Gin
                                                    1.0 oz Death’s Door
                                                    .75 oz fresh Lime Juice
                                                    .125- oz Rothman & Winter Violette
                                                    .50- oz Simple Syrup
                                                    21 drops of Peychaud’s Bitters
                                                    1 Egg White

                                                    Glass: Coupe
                                                    Ice: None
                                                    Garnish: Orange Pigtail Knot

                                                    Shake all ingredients WITHOUT ice for 30-60 seconds. (This is called a Dry Shake. It emulsifies the ingredients and should be done with all cocktail recipes that call for egg; egg white, yolk, or whole egg.) Add ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange zest twist, twisted into a tight coil, called a pigtail knot.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      Wow, thanks so much for the recipe!

                                                      I haven't moved my bitters into dropper bottles, so I need to figure out how many dashes equals 21 drops of Peychaud’s Bitters! Does anyone have any advice?

                                                      1. re: signofthefourwinds

                                                        Depends on how big the drops are!

                                                        According to a few sources the average drop size is around 1/20th of a mL, so just use 1 mL of Peychaud's, or just shy of 1/4 tsp.

                                                        1. re: signofthefourwinds


                                                          So about 6 drops out of of a Peychaud or Angostura bottle is about a dash. So I'd assume with this recipe that the creater is slowly tipping the bitters bottle and slow counting drops instead of a hard shake dash.

                                                          With medicine droppers the number is typically higher. I measure 10-12 drops per dash for the droppers I use.

                                                          1. re: BillB656

                                                            That is good info to know, thanks. I think at the Violet Hour, where I had that drink, they do use dropper bottles, so it was probably closer to two dashes than four.

                                                            Hey JMF, do you know how to translate a Violet Hour "drop" into a regular (if there is such a thing) dash from a bitters bottle?

                                                            1. re: signofthefourwinds

                                                              As Bill said, common acceptance is 6 drops to a full dash, if using an Angostura bottle. Other bottles have different size apertures. Many high end cocktail bars put bitters in dropper bottles, and also spray bottles.

                                                              There are apx. 20 drops per ml., and 5ml in a teaspoon, (15 ml. per tablespoon) so four teaspoons

                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                Four teaspoons might be a bit on the strong side.

                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                  There are several cocktails that have large amounts of bitters in them.

                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                    Yes, but not that one.

                                                                    "There are apx. 20 drops per ml., and 5ml in a teaspoon"

                                                                    That means that 20 drops is 1/5 of a teaspoon, not 4 teaspoons.

                                                                    Update: I think you meant to write "so four dashes" rather than "so four teaspoons." That would make sense given the math.

                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                      Yeah, I totally spaced out. I do that at times. I meant dashes, not teaspoons

                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                        Just don't do it while the still is running!

                                                        2. re: JMF

                                                          Did Toby happen to mention who in particular created in, and perhaps what year? Publishing minds want to know ;)

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

                                                    2. re: barleywino

                                                      At Yarm's suggestion, I tried a bottle to alternate with Plymouth Sloe Gin. It seems like a reasonable sub for that, although it is not as bitter and challenging as real sloe gin. It was reasonably priced. I tend to use it in sours for people who might not enjoy some of my more challenging cocktails, and it is well-received as such.

                                                      As JMF said, it is not more a sub for regular gin as sloe gin is. For me, it's too sweet to enjoy on the rocks -- hence the sour. I don't think you could make much of a flavored "Martini" with it -- dry vermouth doesn't have enough acidity.

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

                                                2. I like the Bombay Sapphire East. Comb 9 is pretty nice. I was just at their distillery today.

                                                  1. My favorite so far has been the second batch from Pemberton Distillery. At this point, I think they're only selling it from out of the tasting room in the distillery. From what they have told me, they had no intention of going down the route of producing a gin given multiple small distilleries offering such a thing here in BC, but when they found local juniper, they couldn't resist. They're doing it batch style and changing up the recipe a bit each time. The first batch was very juniper forward with just a touch of citrus and hard to place botanicals. The second? They moved the citrus up, so you still have this bombastic blow of the juniper placed against this wonderful floral-y citrus and then the intermingling of still hard to place botanicals, but they're even a touch stronger on the palette... Even if I can't quite place them based on the flavor.

                                                    I ran out of my supply since I was last up in Pemberton and need to run up there again. If I remember right, they had it bottled at 46%. Not only did I make my favorite martini ever with that stuff, but it stood up so well to everything else I put it against.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: thatwhileifound

                                                      Being that you are from BC, what are your thoughts on Victoria Gin? My wife brought me back a bottle when she was there in March and I have yet to take it through the paces.

                                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                        I'm very split in my opinion. It's very smooth and light. When I first sipped it on its own, I was really excited, but I found it didn't hold up to most drinks the way I'd hoped it would. It tastes nice, but it just doesn't have enough kick for me. YMMV depending on what you look for in a gin though.

                                                        1. re: thatwhileifound

                                                          My regular daily gin is Boodles or Bombay Original and I primarily make a Gin Buck ....

                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                            What type of Ginger Ale are you using for your GIn Buck?

                                                            1. re: signofthefourwinds

                                                              My favorite is Sioux City Ginger Beer or Vernor's Ginger Ale. I also do not mind Schweppes or Seagrams. The Dr. Pepper Snapple people are testing a permuted ten calorie ginger ale: Canada Dry Ten, which I recently got for .14 cents a two-liter after coupon recently and it is tolerable. I also use fresh lime juice when I am out of fresh lemon juice.

                                                              1. re: signofthefourwinds

                                                                Q Ginger Ale makes a great gin buck, too.

                                                                1. re: foodeye

                                                                  I will have to look out for it ....

                                                      2. I've been a big fan of Greenhook Ginsmiths American dry gin. Very floral and very smooth for it being 94 proof. Only problem is that you can only find it in New York.


                                                        1. The NY Times published an article on the subject, including a tasting:


                                                          5 Replies
                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              Ha. I was about to post this link too. Best value: Berkshire's "regular" gin, Greylock. No mention of their "out there" gin, Ethereal, in which every batch is a new flavor profile. The one batch of Ethereal that I tried was too floral for me, but I can see that I need to try regular Greylock.

                                                              I wish the article had included some of the top main-stream gins for comparison sake.

                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                It would have made for a good contrast ....

                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                To be fair, I'm not that crazy about the reviews and taste tests in this article.

                                                                1. re: McCleanman

                                                                  Actually, I have to agree with you. And I know 8 out of 10 of those gins distillers/owners. Some of those gins are very good, but some are mediocre.