8 Incredible Gins For Complete Beginners


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Often considered to be nothing more than flavoured vodka by gin-newbies, gin is a stand-alone spirit in its own right. The best gins for beginners use a broad range of intricate flavours ideal for making many classic cocktails such as the martini, negroni, and classic gin & tonic.

Gin has a long and exciting history leading to its modern incarnation as a glamorous and versatile spirit experiencing a significant surge in popularity. As a gin-lover with over 30 years of gin-tasting experience, coming up are 8 gins that I recommend for beginners.

Best Gins For Beginners

I’ve selected 8 of the best gins for beginners to get you thoroughly acquainted with this versatile spirit as you dive head-first down the gin rabbit hole.

1. Bombay Sapphire Gin

Bombay Sapphire Gin
Credit: Bombay Sapphire

Overview

  • Distiller: Bombay Sapphire
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: England
  • Colour: Clear

Review

With its distinctive blue bottle, Bombay Sapphire Gin can trace its ancestry to Warrington Gin from 1761. Updated in the 1980s as Bombay Sapphire, botanicals are added to the base spirit through vapour infusion to preserve the subtleties of their flavour.

Bombay Sapphire is an excellent gin for beginners and veterans alike. It is classic in its flavour delivery, readily available, and works well in the classic g&t and other gin cocktails.

As a London dry gin, Bombay Sapphire is infused with ten botanicals: Moroccan coriander, West African grains of paradise, Italian juniper and orris root, Spanish almond, lemon rind, Javan cubeb berries, cassia, angelica, and liquorice.

On The Nose

Crisp juniper berries, citrus, black pepper

On The Palate

Delicate juniper and lemon rind notes lead into an intensely peppery mid-palate before fading into a lingering floral and juniper finish.

Best Served

Bombay Sapphire Gin is incredibly versatile, best served in a classic gin and tonic, negroni, or martini.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Tanqueray Export Strength London Dry Gin

Tanqueray Export Strength London Dry Gin
Credit: Tanqueray

Overview

  • Distiller: Tanqueray
  • ABV: 43.1% (86.2 Proof)
  • Country: England
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Created in the 1830s by Charles Tanqueray through meticulous tweaking of botanicals, this gin was one of the first true London dry gins. I adore the striking green Tanqueray bottle, introduced in 1948, apparently inspired by 1920s cocktail shakers.

Tanqueray is a London dry gin. Although the precise recipe is a closely-guarded secret, it is rumoured to contain only four botanicals, namely juniper, coriander, liquorice, and angelica.

On the Nose

Crisp juniper, liquorice, lemon zest, black pepper

On The Palate

Fresh and juniper-forward, with coriander and lemon zest notes with a lively black pepper overtone strengthened by the high proof. Leads into a balanced and lingering pine and pepper finish.

Best Served

Tanqueray Export Strength London Dry Gin is supremely suited as the gin foundation of a classic gin and tonic or punchy negroni.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Beefeater London Dry Gin

Beefeater London Dry Gin
Credit: Beefeater

Overview

  • Distiller: Beefeater
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: England
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Named after the yeoman warders of the Tower of London who protect the British Queen, Beefeater is the most awarded gin. For over 200 years, its distinct character comes from its high proof and inclusion of citrus zest.

A London dry gin, Beefeater, is flavoured with nine botanicals: Italian juniper, coriander seeds, orris root, liquorice, angelica root, angelica seeds, Spanish almond, Seville orange peel, and lemon peel.

On The Nose

Juniper, pine, orange zest, lemon peel.

On The Palate

Subtle citrus peel and clean pine notes lead to a more robust orange flavour with overtones of coriander and rosemary. The aftertaste is dominated by orange and coriander, with a peppery note contributed by the high proof.

Best Served

Use Beefeater in cocktails such as the classic gin and tonic, negroni, and White Lady.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick's Gin
Credit: Hendrick’s

Overview

  • Distiller: Hendrick’s
  • ABV: 41.4% (82.8 Proof)
  • Country: Scotland
  • Colour: Clear

Review

A proudly Scottish gin, Hendricks is a combination of two gins distilled with the same botanicals, one in a copper pot still and the other in a Carter-Head still. These are blended together and infused with cucumber and rose petal essences.

A variation on London dry gin, Hendrick’s uses eleven botanicals: juniper, angelica root, coriander, caraway, cubeb, orris root, chamomile flowers, meadowsweet, lemon peel, orange peel, and elderflowers, in addition to the cucumber and rose petal essences.

On The Nose

Cucumber, citrus, juniper, subtle spice

On the Palate

A supremely smooth gin with fresh juniper, citrus, and rose notes leading into liquorice, cucumber and black pepper mid-palate. The finish is refined and fresh with cucumber.

Best Served

Hendrick’s gin is best served as a refreshing summertime gin and tonic garnished with cucumber. Also works well with elderflower cordial and soda water.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Brockmans Gin

Brockmans Gin
Credit: Brockmans

Overview

  • Distiller: Brockmans
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: England
  • Colour: Clear

Review

A relative newcomer, Brockmans was launched in 2008 and is distilled at G&J Distillers in Warrington, England. Their unique recipe uses fragrant botanicals steeped in pure grain spirit to release natural flavours.

A modern gin, Brockmans uses the following botanicals; juniper, almonds, liquorice, orange & lemon peel, coriander, angelica, orris root, cassia bark, blueberries, blackberries.

Ignore the gin snobs; I’ve been gin-tasting for over 30 years, and this is an excellent take on gin. The berry sweetness is flavoursome and one of the benefits is it’s an ideal ‘gateway’ gin for gin beginners.. bravo, Brockmans.

On The Nose

Red berries, citrus, juniper

On The Palate

This relatively sweet gin opens with citrus leading into a mid-palate with solid blackberry and liquorice. The finish of juniper provides a dry finish.

Best Served

Brockmans is best served neat, for those who appreciate the distinctive berry notes, or in a 1:1 gin and tonic garnished with pink grapefruit peel.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Sipsmith London Dry Gin

Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Credit: Sipsmith

Overview

  • Distiller: Sipsmith
  • ABV: 41.6% (83.2 Proof)
  • Country: England
  • Colour: Clear

Review

In a renaissance for craft gin production in London, in 2009, Sipsmith’s Hammersmith distillery became the first traditional distillery to be started in London in nearly 200 years.

A single-distilled London dry gin, Sipsmith uses Lydwell Spring water and a mixture of ten botanicals: Macedonian juniper, coriander, Chinese cassia, cinnamon, Seville orange peel, Spanish lemon peel, liquorice, angelica, orris root, and almond.

I personally come back to this gin time and again and find it especially good for summertime.

On The Nose

Juniper, citrus, floral notes

On The Palate

A fresh, juniper-forward gin with notes of coriander, lemon tart, marzipan, and citrus zest. The finish is dry with lightly spiced juniper and citrus.

Best Served

Sipsmith London Dry Gin is best enjoyed in a classic martini, negroni, gin gimlet, or a crisp and refreshing G&T.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
Credit: Monkey 47

Overview

  • Distiller: Monkey 47
  • ABV: 47% (94 Proof)
  • Country: Germany
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Monkey 47 makes it to the list as all gin newbies need to experience this beauty. I call it the Jägermeister of the gin world as it’s packed (and I MEAN packed!) with botanicals, and an unusual story…

After World War 2, RAF Wing Commander Montgomery’ Monty’ Collins was involved with rebuilding the Berlin Zoo, where he sponsored a monkey named Max. He later moved to the Black Forest, opened a guesthouse called The Wild Monkey, and started producing gin.

A modern gin made with a molasses base, Monkey 47 uses 47 botanicals, including; juniper, bitter orange, angelica, coriander, and exotic ingredients such as lingonberry, acacia flowers, nutmeg, cloves, and spruce.

On The Nose

Clean juniper, pine, herbs, spices, citrus

On The Palate

A complex, balanced profile opens with zesty lemon, bitter orange, resinous pine and moss. Cardamom and pepper mid-palate. The finish is long with pine, citrus and herbs.

Best Served

It can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, with a slice of lime or in a gin and premium tonic water to let the botanicals do the talking.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

8. The Botanist

The Botanist
Credit: The Botanist

Overview

  • Distiller: The Botanist
  • ABV: 46% (92 Proof)
  • Country: Scotland
  • Colour: Clear

Review

In the mid-1990s, when Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier acquired the Bruichladdich Scotch distillery on Islay, they introduced the idea of distilling a gin. In addition to traditional gin botanicals, 22 plants native to Islay are sustainably wild foraged for distinctive flavours. 

An unusual London dry gin, the Botanist, is distilled using the following botanicals: wild juniper, angelica, cassia, cinnamon, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice, orris root, and various native Islay leaves and flowers. (source: The Botanist)

The gin is distilled in a modified, extremely rare, Lomond still that is amusingly named Ugly Betty. If you find you enjoy this unusual gin check out my review of 7 Stunning Japanese Gins.

On The Nose

Fresh herbs, juniper, sweet citrus

On The Palate

Crisp juniper-forward to begin, with overtones of mint, hawthorn and citrus before floral and woody notes emerge. A lingering finish brings sage, thyme and liquorice.

Best Served

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is versatile enough to be enjoyed neat on the rocks, as the base of a gin and tonic, or as a classic martini.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Andrew’s Top Pick

best gins for beginners

Sipsmith London Dry Gin

I have selected Sipsmith London Dry Gin as the best gin for beginners. This is a classically fresh, juniper-forward gin with notes of coriander, lemon tart, citrus zest, and a hint of marzipan.

Best served in a classic martini, negroni, and not forgetting a crisp and refreshing G&T.

Conclusion

Andrew with all gin bottles
G&T Anyone?

I have carefully selected the best gins for beginners that all have a few things in common; quality ingredients, complex flavour profiles, and meticulous distillation methods.

Once you have sampled these quality gins during your initial exploration of the world of gin, many more incredible gins are waiting for you to discover, even some tasty lemon gins and even Japanese gins. Who knows, maybe gin will be your new favourite spirit!

Gin For Beginners Q&A

What Is Gin?

The general definition of gin is any neutral base spirit (such as vodka) that uses juniper as the primary botanical flavouring. It must be a minimum of 37.5% alcohol by volume (40% in the US) after distillation by law.

How Is Gin Made?

Gin is made from the fermented mash of grain or potato and flavoured with juniper (and other botanicals) by steeping or during the distillation process. The resulting liquid is diluted to the desired ABV using water.

Best Tonic Water For A Gin & Tonic?

For the perfect gin & tonic, I recommend that the best tonic water is from Fever-Tree The brand uses quality ingredients and embraces the motto; “If 3/4 of your cocktail is the mixer, make sure you use the best”.

What Is The Best Gin Cocktail?

There are an incredible amount of gin cocktails, but in my humble opinion, the Tom Collins is the best. In my article 10 Best Gin Cocktails I go through 10 of my all-time favourite gin cocktails.

#CocktailIngredients
1.Tom Collins6
2.French 754
3.Aviation4
4.Gin Gimlet4
5.Gin Martini4
6.Clover Club5
7.Classic Gin Fizz5
8.Negroni4
9.Southside5
10.Perfect G&T4

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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