Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Mar 18, 2012 06:57 PM

Your favorite gin for classic cocktails?

In drinks like the aviation, pegu club, white lady etc, where the mixers are relatively light and citrusy, would you use a less juniper -forward gin than in drinks with stronger/bolder ingredients, like perhaps the Martinez with 2 oz of sweet vermouth? Best gin for a martini has been discussed to death but I'm interested specifically in a gin that will go well in these types of drinks. Obviously it's a matter of personal taste but I'd like to know how the drinks are intended to taste before I play around to see how I like them. I'm near the end of my first bottle of Beefeater and trying to determine whether I should buy another bottle of the same, or if another gin would do better. Both budget and space are an issue, so I'm trying to narrow it down to one or two brands that will cover a wide range of drinks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Unless a classic recipe calls for another historic style of gin, such as Plymouth, Old Tom, or genever, it can be made with a classic London Dry such as Beefeater. I suggest you buy a different London Dry just before your Beefeater is gone, then make two identical half-sized drinks, one with each gin, and see which you like better. Measure and shake consistently. Also, taste them at room temp, perhaps with a controlled amount of water. I like juniper, so I find that I can happily mix and drink a Martini with the same gin.

    If, OTOH, you don't like a strong juniper profile, you could try one of the new-style gins, or perhaps Plymouth. For a London Dry, you could try Gordon (well-respected and very economical) or maybe Bombay (regular).

    -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

    1 Reply
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      I've been extremely happy with a few drinks I've made with the Beefeater- Martinez, Opera (I believe) recently, both with sweet vermouth. However, the drinks with lightweight mixers have been unimpressive. I made an Aviation without creme de violette (which is sacrilege of course but I can't justify a 750ml bottle for one drink) and was completely underwhelmed- it tasted just like slightly lemony sweetened gin. I don't dislike the taste of juniper but I'm thinking that maybe I would prefer a softer gin in these types of mixed drinks.

      It looks like I might have to stock two different gins, as I was thinking originally. I've seen a lot of recommendations for Plymouth, so I may spring for it and see how I like it in comparison. I figure if I switch from Beefeater to Gordon's for now, I can afford the difference. :)

    2. I second the Bombay White Label as a versatile mixer. I also like Tanqueray as it just screams classic to me with the juniper punch and high proof.

      For me the budget option would be Seagram's. It is a bit lighter and more citrusy, so I find it mixes well, especially in drinks with citrus juice.

      Those are the three best all-around bang for the buck options that I've tried. At most of the liquor stores around here (Boston), you save a lot by buying a 1.75L, so the bottles usually last a while. I found Beefeater to have more of a mineral character than I like, but it is another classic that a lot of people enjoy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: nickls

        +1 on Bombay. I think it's a nearly perfect London Dry gin, and quite affordable.

        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          How does Bombay compare to Beefeater or Gordons?

          1. re: tinnywatty

            I haven't had Gordon's for a long time and can't really remember it. I'd say that Bombay and Beefeater are relatively similar. Bombay is clean, juniper-forward, and somewhat sharp. Tasting it you definitely know you're drinking gin (unlike with, e.g., the Sapphire). I think it would be tough for me to tell the difference between it and Beefeater in most mixed drinks, although I do find the Beefeater to be a bit more "earthy." (Maybe that's sweetness? Or, "mineral character" that nickls mentioned. It doesn't bother me, but I can see how someone might prefer Bombay.)

            1. re: tinnywatty

              Bombay is a nice balance of citrus, juniper, and spices. I found Beefeater to have a more aggressive flavor with juniper and mineral/slate. Gordon's is also strong on the juniper with what I consider a "classic gin taste" but with less complexity than some of the others.

            2. re: davis_sq_pro

              I really like the regular Bombay. For another gin in this price range, I would recommend Boodles. I also have no issue with the affordable Seagram's or Gordon's.

          2. I can't tell you it is the best gin for "those type of drinks". And it is not a "budget" gin. But I would sure do yourself a favor and try Hendricks. Where I shop you can buy a mini and try it. $3.99.

            I love the stuff.


            13 Replies
            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil


              Have you tried Citadelle? I find it very similar in profile to Hendrick's and much cheaper here, $20 vs $35, on sale $17 vs $31. (Hendricks is high in NC, I got it on sale in PA for $26.)

              Broker's is my favorite Juniper-forward gin, though I have yet to open my bottle of Boodles. Budget-wise it would be Seagram's Distiller's Reserve, at just over $20 for a 1.75 ltr.

              1. re: ncyankee101

                No I have not. I believe I may have had it recommended at my store. Doesn't it have like 20 some odd different botanicals or something like that?

                I will try it! Thanks!


                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                  It has 19 and they are all shown in little pictures around the bottle.

                  i quite like it, though I haven't had all that many gins that are subtle in character such as Plymouth or Bombay Sapphire - really just Hendricks and Citadelle.

                  1. re: ncyankee101

                    Thanks alot for the tip. I will try it next. That is exactly the bottle I am thinking of...


              2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                I'm interested in trying Hendricks as well as Citadelle. Do you use Hendricks in all drinks, or specific ones?

                1. re: tinnywatty

                  For the ones I drink. I use it for all. I don't really drink Martinis so I am not sure about that. I usually drink Negronis, A Gin Fizz sort of thing, Gin with St. Germain and mixers and the Last Word. I like it with all of those. Makes a great Negroni IMO....


                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                    Good to know. I'll give it a try once I find a mini under $6.

                    1. re: tinnywatty

                      I dont care for hendrick's in a negroni, it needs a strong gin to stand up to the sweet vermouth and the campari IMO

                      I lik original tanq for negronis - but i really dont drink tanq with anything else

                      I just think Negroni calls for a different type of gin than one i would use with tonic or club soda - needs a juniper forward one

                      I have tried with beefeater 24 / nolets / hendricks / beefeater / tanq
                      tanq is the winner for far but i wouldnt mind trying a junipero one

                      1. re: Dapuma

                        Maybe it is because I use sort of a 1.5 oz G, 1 oz campari, 3/4 oz or so Vermouth (depending on brand)....

                        1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                          ahh, that is not the traditional negroni ratios should be 1:1:1 to be a negroni

                            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                              sometimes i like a splash of club soda in mine, but don't tell anyone - i dont want to get burned at the stake ;p

                2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                  FOTD: If you like Hendricks, you may also enjoy Victoria Gin, which is made in British Columbia. It is akin to Hendricks without the strong perfume-like taste [despite both using rose petals as a botanical].

                3. I like Beefeater for my London Dry. It's affordable and versatile, and I use it in everything from a Gin and Tonic to a martini. The 1.75L bottle is a great value typically, especially on sale. I like to rotate other brands, like Plymouth, Hendricks or Boodles for variety, but always come back to Beefeater as an old standby.

                  1. Thanks for all the replies, some really great information and perspectives. I decided to get a bottle of Plymouth to try in the drinks where I thought the Beefeater was too strong. I'll decide later if I want to continue stocking Beefeater or replace it with Gordon's or maybe Bombay.