Here we go, again, another "best of" list

This one, Gins.

I’ve tried five on the list. Liked them all. Determined there were “a few” I just wouldn’t sample.


I’m an avid gin drinker, but have only had one on this list, which is Beefeater (unless you count trying the original labels of Tanqueray and Bombay/Bombay Sapphire).

I find a lot of the newer “craft” and expensive gins go way overboard on the spices. I like a flavorful gin, but if I wanted a mouth full of black pepper, I’d hold a pepper mill over my mouth. My mom brought me back a bottle of Stonecutter Gin from Vermont a few months ago. The aroma reminded me of something I would clean a floor with. The taste itself was overly potent and it made a disgusting martini. It was too strong even for a G & T. The price for this turkey I later found was $65. I wanted to pass out.

My go-to’s for gin (in a martini) are Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, and Beefeater. For a special occasion, I am going with Hendrick’s. For gin and tonics, I’ll use something cheap like a Gordon’s or Gilbey’s. Currently, my bottom shelf gin is a PA-only brand Jacquin’s London Tower, which for $15 a handle is much more enjoyable than that Stonecutter garbage.

Recently, I have found New Amsterdam to be a unique tasting gin. They go heavy on the citrus and light on juniper and spice, making it easy on the palate. Very refreshing for summer. A martini with this would be better off with a lemon peel instead of olives, though. I recently reviewed it here.


Yup. Agree with you on this, Greg.


Mrs H is a G & T drinker and has used Gordon’s for decades. Of late, she’s been buying Bombay Sapphire or Hendricks. And she’s also gone upmarket with the tonic, now preferring Fever Tree to the ubiquitous Schweppes.


I am also am an avid gin drinker. I have tried six on the list.
Beefeater (obviously, my favorite gin)
Bols Genever (didn’t care for it)
The Botanist (very good, also my sister’s favorite of the tasting below)
Martin Miller (my favorite of a gin tasting we did at Square One in Edinburgh)
Sipsmith (very good)
St. George Terroir (the worst gin I have ever tasted, like munching on a fir tree)
I like Bombay Sapphire but have not tried the East, drank a lot of Tanqueray during my three martini lunch days but have not had either of the ones listed and also my favorite gin when visiting Edinburgh is Edinburgh Gin. We toured the distillery, I don’t think they had Cannonball then so have not tried it. And yes Fever Tree for G & Ts…


If it’s a while since you visited the UK, you would probably notice a difference now. Seems like everyone is making gin and I know a number of restaurants that have commissioned their own. . Even in our smallish borough (population 300k), we have a gin producer - just a husband & wife team who make it at home in the garage.


We were there in 2016 & 17. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many different gins and yes One Square (not Square One, my mistake) did have their own label. One of our favorite accidental discoveries in London was the Punch Tavern on Fleet Street with 70 gins.


Fever Tree is very good, though I cannot justify regularly spending $5-6 on their small four-pack. It is a treat for me.

I’ve been using Polar of late, which bills itself as “premium” but costs around the same as most of the others (~$1). I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, but like soda, it is extremely hard to find a tonic without it.

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FWIW, my normal supermarket sells Fever Tree tonic at £1.45 for 500ml.

That’s not bad at all. Must just be pricier here in the states.

I suppose there must be import costs unless they also make in America.

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Q Mixers are USA based. The company started and is still headed in Brooklyn, NY. The original Q Tonic was originally made in Massachusetts. Now the line of products are made in several locations around the USA. Back in 2006-2007 I was one of the tasters for the original tonic, sampling many prototypes and giving my thoughts. It has become a HUGE company and has major players running it, and investments from many big sources including Pepsi Bottling NY.

Personally I don’t like the agave sweetener in Q Tonic. I don’t like agave syrup in general. It is a highly chemically processed industrial product, and is not made in an ecologically friendly, or self sustaining way. It also doesn’t have the health benefits falsely touted by many because they are processed away. It is basically a high fructose syrup similar to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), except with an even higher level than HFCS, so you call it Super High Fructose Agave Syrup.

I prefer the Fever Tree line in most cases. I just wish it was less expensive.


I’ve tried, and have bottles of, most of the gins on the list. All are quite good, but vary so much that it is basically individual taste that determines which are better.

The ones I think I haven’t tried are numbers 4, 11, 13, 22, and 27. I may have tried them some or all of them, but during cocktail evenings, and informal spirits tastings, things get vague.

Personally, I think New Amsterdam “gin” is terrible. It tastes like fruity, artificial bubble gum with a weird sweet orange flavor as well. It is really artificial tasting. So much so, that I wonder if it is really a distilled gin, or an inferior compounded gin. I like some citrus forward gins very much, but not chemically, artificial tasting ones.

I also dislike the name and bottle shape, trying to play off of New York/New Amsterdam, when it has nothing to do with either and is made at E&J Gallo’s commercial factory in Modesto, California.


I thought agave syrup is low GI?

Hendrick’s is quite nice, especially if you like more “vegetal” undertones (ie, cucumber notes). For folks in the Bay Area, I recommend the Oakland Spirit Company’s Automatic Gin; Gin No. 5 is a particular favorite. We got our current bottle at Costco.

However, unless you have a particular sort of palate, you might want to steer clear of Sea-Gin, which has seaweed among its ingredients.

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Just because it is low GI, doesn’t mean it is healthy. The low GI is BECAUSE it is high fructose.

I don’t use agave syrup often but I keep it around because i like the way it tastes.
If you’ve ever seen the great gobs of pitch-black smoke pouring out of a sugar processing facililty, you’d have a question bout how natural sugar really is too, I’m thinking.

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I have been to sugar processing facilities. Cane/Beet Sugar is not the topic I was discussing

Natural and healthy are not the same.

Agave syrup has been proven to not have the health benefits initially claimed, but much worse in fact.

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On the gin topic, we tried some of the Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice special gin this summer. It’s a little floral, but makes a damn fine Gin and Tonic.

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