If you’re anything like me, you don’t need an excuse to celebrate gin. The G&T has long been my go-to drink and I love a French 75, gimlet, negroni or other gin based cocktail.
So although we may not do that need a designated day to sip this juniper-infused spirit, today – World Gin Day – is a good reminder that there are always new and exciting gins to try. Made in a variety of styles, using a wide variety of botanicals and other distinctive ingredients, each one is unique. Here are some of the standout gins to try on World Gin Day and beyond, along with cocktail recipes so you can mix, shake and stir them into creative cocktails at home.
Scapegrace Black Gin, $47
There’s a bit of black magic in this unique black gin from New Zealand-based Scapegrace Distillery.
Pour the blue-black spirit into ice-filled cocktail glasses for you and your friends. Then watch their faces as you play mixologist and magician, filling the glasses with tonic water and changing the color to bright red or dreamy pink-lavender.
The world’s first color-changing gin isn’t made with artificial tricks or ingredients. In addition to the usual juniper, it’s simply a collection of natural extracts (including chokeberry, butterfly pea flower, pineapple and saffron) that cause the color change when paired with tonic water, creating a magical cocktail moment in an instant.
Try it in: a Scapegrace Serve
Gin Mare Capri Gin, $48
New from Gin Mare (aka my favorite Spanish gin), this citrusy spirit is inspired by the idyllic Mediterranean island of Capri.
The sunshine-in-a-bottle spirit is infused with lemons from Capri and Calabrian bergamot, along with the distiller’s four essential botanicals: Italian sweet basil, rosemary from Greece, Turkish thyme and Arbequina olives from Spain. The result is a smooth drinking gin, flavored and perfumed with woody spices and energizing citrus fruits.
Clonakilty Distillery Minke Irish Gin, $45
Buying doesn’t get more local than at Clonakilty Distillery, which produces its Minke Irish Gin along the coast of County Cork, Ireland. The spirit owes its velvety texture to a base derived from whey produced on the founder’s farm near Galley Head Lighthouse, which has been in the family for nine generations.
Samphire (also known as sea fennel or sea asparagus), the gin’s signature botanical gin, is harvested by hand along the rocky cliffs of Clonakilty. The wild succulent is abundant on Ireland’s rocky coastline, but is a rare ingredient in the US: Not only does it not grow in the United States, but Clonakilty’s Minke Gin is the very first product containing samphire to be imported into the country.
The herbaceous and salty taste of the succulent pairs beautifully with spicy notes of orange, grapefruit and fennel, a nose of lavender, lemon, sea salt and anise, and a spicy red peppercorn. Together they capture the unique terroir of County Cork’s coastal area.
Crater Lake Ban Gin, $25
Named for one of Oregon’s best-known natural wonders, Crater Lake Spirits nods to America’s pre-prohibition era with its traditional gin infused with wild, hand-picked juniper berries.
Crafted in Bend, Oregon, this classic, super versatile, juniper-forward gin has garnered a long list of accolades, including silver medals from the World Beverage Competition and Seattle International Spirits Awards, and gold from Fifty Best Gins and Tasting Panel Magazine.
Try it in: a Clover Club
Malfy Gin con Limone, $33
Do you dream of summer on the Amalfi Coast? Savor the citrusy flavors of this beautiful, sun-kissed coastline anytime with Malfy’s Gin con Limone.
Spicy, clear and completely refreshing, this aromatic spirit is made with hand-picked juniper, Italian lemons and the zest of lemons from the Amalfi.
Try it in: a Ciao Malfy Spritz
Las Californias Citrico Gin, $33
Juniperus californicaa species that grows only in a very small area between Hollywood and the Ojos Negro Valley is the main ingredient of Las Californias Cítrico.
Named for the region that stretches along the coastline of what is now California and Mexico, the just-launched “dual-origin gin” combines the sweet, smooth, and pleasantly pine-like flavor of this particular juniper with an array of botanicals. Some are native to the area, while others have migrated from around the world (think figs and almonds from the Middle East, apricots from Armenia, lemongrass and citrus from Asia.)
With fresh notes of pomelo, lemon and grapefruit, lush green forest and a touch of ocean salinity, it’s a refreshing and energizing spirit that’s purely in place.
Try it in: a california love
135 East Gin Hyogo Dry Gin, $40
Japanese botanicals meet a classic London dry gin to create a new style of spirit: Hyogo dry gin. Named after the 135° East meridian that traverses Akashi City in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, 135 is an east-meets-west spirit that is totally unique.
Traditional Japanese botanicals, including yuzu, sansho pepper, sensha, shiso and ume, are infused into each bottle to create a complex spirit that is all at once floral, citrusy, pleasantly bitter and spicy. But the unexpected secret ingredient is a splash of Junmai sake, which is added while blending.
Try it in: a Longitude Line