Most people have a go-to cocktail to unwind with on a weeknight evening or to get the fun going on Saturday night. Be it a dirty dry martini or a whiskey sour, you probably have a preference when it comes to your alcohol. A drink made with bottom-shelf liquor will not only taste worse, but the hangover will also take you out tomorrow morning. This is why it's essential to find decent liquor brands that allow you to have a night of fun without breaking the bank or suffering a hangover.
In the liquor world, there are those who like dark liquor and those who prefer light. The dark liquor drinkers will go for rum and whiskey, which are beloved for their warm, robust flavors. I usually gravitate toward these liquors when it's chilly outside, since the warm burn is the perfect cure to a cold winter day. Dark liquors go great with rum, orange liqueur, tonic water, ginger beer and citrus.
Those who prefer light liquor will often go for vodka and gin. Gin is known for its clean taste- a good, high-quality gin has a subtle flavor, and you might even question whether your cocktail has any alcohol in it. These liquors are often mixed with soda water and citrus juices like orange juice, grapefruit juice, and pineapple juice. For the martini drinkers, vermouth and olive juice are obvious choices. If you're looking for a smooth gin drink to celebrate 5 o'clock with, here are 11 of the best gins to mix with your tonic!
1. Tanqueray Gin
Tanqueray is the ideal London dry for a classic gin and tonic. Ever since the Brits invented the gin and tonic back in the 19th century, London dry has been the quintessential style of gin. Tanqueray is the perfect example of that, with its juniper-forward flavor and smooth accessibility. Tanqueray is also complemented well with elderflower liquor and a lime garnish if you feel like something different!
Another classic London dry gin, Beefeater could never be left off of a list of the best gins to have with your tonic water. Beefeater is spicy and fruity, a budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice quality for price. Beefeater contains nine botanicals, which are juniper, lemon peel, coriander seed, almond, orange peel, orris root, licorice root, angelica root, and angelica seed. This versatile and flavorful option is perfect for your gin and tonic.
If the explosion of flavors in the Beefeater sounded overwhelming for your palate, Plymouth might be the gin for you. Plymouth is a lighter, drier alternative, and it keeps the juniper flavor to a subtle amount. Drink it with a citrus tonic for a light, balanced mixed drink. Plymouth also makes a Navy Strength bottle for a high strength version.
4. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
The Drumshanbo Gunpowder gin lives up to its name, packing a punch with its array of flavors. This Irish brand has an Asian influence and has botanicals from all over the world, from Macedonia to Morocco. This gunpowder liquor combines Chinese gunpowder tea and lemon, Kaffir lime and grapefruit for a blend of powerful tastes. This is an ideal choice for a flavorful gin and tonic.
For a mixed drink packed with complex flavors, use Hendrick's. This brand takes a different route than the more juniper and citrus focused ones by providing a touch of rose and cucumber. Hendrick's goes well with a classic tonic like Schweppes, and it's also perfect for a Negroni. If you want a fruity version, try Hendrick's Midsummer Solstice, which is full of the flavors of orange, lemon, lavender and juniper berries.
6. Sipsmith V.J.O.P.
Another London dry gin, this Very Junipery Over Proof gin is a bold, unapologetic liquor to mix in with your tonic water and take the edge off. With its 57.7 percent ABV, the Sipsmith V.J.O.P. is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it has the same ABV as the Plymouth Navy Strength.
7. Bombay Sapphire
This floral gin is one of the best choices for a gin and tonic, with its distinctively light flavor. Packaged in a classy blue bottle, this London dry style gin contains 10 botanicals, which account for its floral notes. The Bombay Sapphire is subtle but elegant, great for any cocktail to unwind with.
8. Suntory Roku Gin
This Japanese craft gin from Osaka is full of unique flavors like yuzu peel, sakura flower, and sencha tea. Japanese distilleries are known for crafting excellent shochu and whisky, but they have begun to create highly popular and delicious gins over the past few years. The Suntory Roku is perfect for classic gin cocktails, and its floral and versatile flavor results in a tasty cocktail no matter the other ingredients.
9. Old Tom's Gin
Although Old Tom's was at peak popularity in the 18th century in England, this classic gin is important to add to any list of best gins for a gin and tonic. This gin is essential to the the Tom Collins, a cocktail that has prevailed the test of time and remains well-loved today. Old Tom's is drier than the Dutch Jenever but sweeter than London Dry, ideal for those in search of versatile liquor.
10. The Botanist
The Botanist is a Scottish gin made by Druichladdich Distillery. This talented distillery is on the Isle of Islay, a beautiful island in west Scotland. Along with the 9 basic aromatics, this unique liquor has 22 Islay botanicals to give it a combination of flavors. The Botanist is said to represent the heart and soul of the lovely Isle of Islay.
11. Monkey 47
Last but not least, Monkey 47 is known for its extensive number of botanicals. This popular gin has 47 of them to reflect the adventurous life of its maker, Montgomery Collins. Monkey 47 is made in the Black Forest of Germany, where its creator lives. This unique gin brand contains citrus and juniper flavors, along with more rare ones like bramble leaves, spruce shoots and lingonberries.
Editors Note: This article was originally published on December 25, 2020.