Gin has a very recognizable flavor profile, with top notes of juniper and other botanicals. While gin martinis are always popular, this complex spirit is the perfect choice for a host of classic cocktails. Today’s mixologists also use gin in inventive cocktails highlighting craft distillers. We’ve pulled together the best luxury gin brands, each with its own unique blend of botanicals. You’ll want to experiment with them all to find your favorite.
Nolet’s Reserve is an excellent sipping gin by Carolus Nolet Sr., whose family has distilled spirits in Holland since 1961. The family’s recipe has been perfected over the past four decades, and it continues to be produced in small batches using traditional, time-tested techniques. Only a few hundred bottles release each year, with each bottle signed by Carolus Nolet Sr. himself. The rich aroma is deep and warm, with a heady botanical element. It has sweet, floral tasting notes such as lavender and rose, as well as savory spices, including saffron. It’s best to savor this incredible gin neat or in a martini.
This ultra-premium gin comes from the Isle of Islay, an island off the coast of Scotland known for its peaty whiskies. The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is a complex and wholesome spirit. It distills slowly with 22 handpicked botanicals native to Islay, including berries, peels, seeds, and barks. The spirit is smooth and sweet and warms the palate with traces of refreshing citrus and earthy undertones.
High Goal Luxury Gin
This craft gin is a sophisticated spirit, featuring local botanicals from Charleston, South Carolina. In High Goal Luxury Gin, you will find hints of citrus, mint, cardamom, and coriander in addition to gin’s classic juniper notes. The combination of these plant extracts results in a light and refreshing spirit. The spirit is produced in small, 3,000-bottle batches due to its complex production methods, including an amacerated seeping process that infuses the botanicals. Serve it on the rocks with a slice of lemon and fresh mint leaves to accentuate the flavors, or mix in your favorite Collins cocktail.
There is an element of surprise when pouring Scapegrace Black gin — it’s not clear like most gins. In fact, it’s the world’s first naturally black gin — without any additives, artificial colors, or flavors. Scapegrace Black hails from New Zealand. Scape Grace Distillery uses butterfly pea flower, sourced from Southeast Asia, to give the gin a dark color, as well as sweet potato, pineapple, saffron, and aronia berry, resulting in a unique flavor profile. It smells of pineapple, lemon, and spicy juniper. The taste is peppery, with hints of mint and fruit. Additionally, for an added sense of wonder, if you mix Scapegrace Black gin with tonic or citrus, it changes from black to a pale lavender hue.
Japan is notable for its excellent craftsmanship, including its whiskies, but don’t overlook its gin. Naturally, it’s crafted with the same care and precision as the country’s award-winning whiskies. One of our favorites is Roku Gin, made from the house of Suntory. In Japanese, roku means “six,” and the spirit is named for the six special Japanese botanicals in every bottle. It is soft and has a delicate, floral sweetness. You’ll find notes of cherry blossom and green tea on the nose. The palate is complex and layered. The flavor of yuzu comes to the forefront, while the spiciness of the Japanese sansho pepper gives the finish a nice bite.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
From the Black Forest of Germany, Monkey 47‘s name comes from the number of botanicals in this distinctive spirit. It’s also 47% ABV, which is stronger than most gins, which are typically 40% ABV. Notably, the Black Forest’s spring water has low levels of salt and certain minerals, making it an ideal pairing for all kinds of distillates. The cooling treatment — a typical step in the production of most gins — is left out to prevent losing aromatic elements. There are prominent notes of juniper and citrus and the aroma has a refreshing acidity, lasting bitter notes, as well as a slight sweetness. The secret weapon is lingonberries from the Black Forest, though the copious amount of botanicals creates a delightful flavor profile. You’ll want to savor Monkey 47 gin neat to enjoy all of its flavors.
Ki No Bi Kyoto
One of our favorite luxury gin brands is Ki No Bi — the first Japanese gin that is distilled, blended, and bottled in Kyoto. The distillery makes it with a rice spirit base, as well as pure groundwater from Fushimi. The gin uses Japanese botanicals such as yellow yuzu, bamboo, hinoki wood chips (Japanese cypress), gyokuro tea, and green sanshō (Japanese peppercorn) berries. The result is a unique spirit with refreshing notes of citrus, juniper, pine, wormwood, and menthol.
Rochelt Annia’s Gin
Boutique Austrian brandy producer Rochelt brings us this gorgeous, handcrafted spirit — Rochelt Annia’s Gin — made from only two ingredients: local juniper and mature Gravenstein apple eau-de-vie. The name comes from the owner’s wife, Annia. At first, they created it for only themselves to enjoy. Though, after sharing it with their close friends and family (and receiving rave reviews), they began to bottle it in its signature elegant flask and sell it in limited batches.
Benizakura 9148 Gin
The Benizakura gin distillery became the first artisanal gin maker on the island of Hokkaido in Japan with its first release, Benizakura 9148 Gin. Made with local botanicals from the island, the gin has a full-bodied aroma of lemon peel, juniper, and hints of black pepper. The 14 plant extracts, such as dried shiitake mushrooms and kelp, give Benizakura 9148 Gin its distinctive and warm umami flavors. Additionally, it comes in a chic glass bottle, making it a stunning top-shelf addition to your at-home bar.
Amass Dry Gin
Crafted in downtown Los Angeles, Amass Dry Gin features 29 organic botanicals — 11 of which come from California. Some of the plants extracts even grow in cofounder and Master Distiller Morgan McLachlan’s own backyard. It’s a spirited and crisp dry gin, with prominent notes of citrus and undertones of earthy umami flavors from bark, as well as the Reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms. In combination with sweeter ingredients such as cacao, ginger, cardamom, and hibiscus, Amass Dry Gin weaves together a nuanced flavor profile that represents the diversity of plant life in Los Angeles.