We are right in the middle of a gin boom, with drinks lovers all around the UK treated to a wide range of amazing gins.
From the simple gin and tonic to classic gin cocktails like the Bee’s Knees recipe, there are so many amazing gins to sample.
When it comes to the best gin for cocktails, since launching our cocktail subscription box we’ve featured dozens amazing British brands like Chase GB and Slingsby.
We’re all about discovering and showcasing amazing new spirits for you to try at home.
With gin booming, and knowing why cheap spirits give you a hangover, let’s dive into some of our favourite premium gins to make cocktails with.
How many gin brands are there?
The pandemic has only served to strengthen the British gin obsession, with UK distilleries growing from 710 to 820 between 2021 and 2022!
What this means for cocktail makers is a huge array of styles, flavour profiles and price points.
We’ve broken down our favourite gins to use in cocktails and our favourite gins to sip below.
Which gin brand is best?
Because we’re currently in the throes of a British gin renaissance, trying to define the absolute best gin brand is (we think) an impossible task!
It really depends on what you’re looking for in your gin.
However if we were pushed we’d go with a London Dry like Warner’s or Chase GB.
Because the simple and clean flavours lend themselves to a traditional drinking experience and work well in fruitier cocktails like the Bramble or traditional mixes like the Gin Martini.
That’s not to say that flavoured gins can’t work well in cocktails.
Quite the opposite, and many modern brands popping up rely on a mix of feisty flavours, which can add an interesting depth to your drinks.
With this in mind, here are our picks for the best gins for each cocktail.
Best gin for a Negroni
As we mentioned above, for a clean and crisp gin that adapts well to various cocktail flavours look no further than Chase GB Gin.
This is an extra dry and smooth gin, balanced with juniper, citrus and spice.
Made by copper pot distilling Chase Vodka with botanicals including coriander, bitter almond and cinnamon, it’s a distinct and full-bodied gin.
As well as featuring in our Negroni cocktail making kit, Chase GB have featured in our cocktail subscription box in cocktails like the Bee’s Knees and the Blood Orange Collins.
The smooth flavour of Chase GB gin pairs perfectly with Campari and sweet vermouth in the classic Negroni cocktail.
Try it at home with our Negroni cocktail making kit, which includes 5cl miniatures of Chase GB gin, along with Starlino vermouth and Campari.
Perfect as a gift, or to begin your home cocktail bar.
Best gin for a gin sour
Whichever gin you choose to sample, remember that it’s the perfect spirit to get playful with!
It’s versatile, punchy and varies in flavour between every brand.
Have a sip neat before you start constructing cocktails to try and identify the flavour profile of your gin, and then build a cocktail around that.
If you get a mouthful of fresh citrus, your gin will work well in something like this Gin Sour.
A zesty product like Malfy Gin fits the bill perfectly!
Best gin for a martini
Hepple Gin is a good place to start when you’re looking for an understated cocktail gin.
It starts with a green apple freshness that develops into a classic juniper spice.
Perfect for something lots of gin cocktail staples like a Gin Martini or a classic Tom Collins.
Best fruity gins
If your gin has a more rounded, herby flavour, it might be perfect for the Bramble cocktail recipe.
We’re big fans of Slingsby’s Blackberry Gin, which has featured in our cocktail subscription box.
Perfect for a Bramble, but we also used it to make this tasty Blackberry Negroni.
For a decadent breakfast cocktail on a weekend away, you really need look no further Slingsby’s sensational Marmalade Gin.
We picked up delicious notes of clementine along with a tart citrus.
Of course, there’s one cocktail we had to use this for: the famous Breakfast Martini recipe which featured in our October 2021 box.
Best Pink Gin for Cocktails
Most popular gin brands to use in cocktails
If you’re just looking for something basic to begin your gin journey, you can’t go far wrong with Gordon’s London Dry.
If you want a proper cocktail gin, though, you’ll get the best results if you learn how to balance the botanicals.
Good mixologists will hunt for a complementary flavour profile for each cocktail and will generally recommend sticking to a gin that doesn’t overshadow your other ingredients.
Enter Aviation Gin.
Ryan Reynold’s very own gin brand is made with a Dutch-style rye spirit base which is combined with botanicals including lavender, star anise, and orange peel.
The chic label harks back to the era of The Great Gatsby and screams elegant cocktails.
As well as making the Aviation cocktail which it’s named after, we used it to make our Cranberry and Vanilla Martini in our January 2022 cocktail box.
Best London Dry Gins for Cocktails
Distilled with 11 carefully selected botanicals, Burleigh’s London Dry Gin has a unique juniper freshness on the palate, followed by a zesty finish with hints of botanical, rooty flavours.
Well balanced, it pairs well with sweet flavours.
We used it in our summery Hibiscus and Grapefruit Collins recipe.
Which traditional gin brand is best?
Plymouth Gin, the oldest gin brand in the UK, is a great example of traditional gin done well.
They’ve been making gin in their Black Friars Distillery since 1793, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.
It’s silky smooth on the palate, with a delicate cardamom and coriander nose. A great place to start if you’re looking to sample some delicious no-frills gin.
Which modern gin brand is best?
The beauty of the distillation regulations for gin being fairly vague (the only requirements for gin are the alcohol content and the use of juniper as the predominant botanical) is the massive scope for creativity.
It does make it tricky to choose a favourite contemporary expression, though, as there’s always something new to explore!
Right now, one of our favourite modern gin brands is Birch Gin, specifically their Sumatra Gin.
They’ve infused their already award-winning Birch Gin with Sumatran coffee beans and cardamom, resulting in an intriguing balance of heat and spices.
We found it worked best paired with zingy ginger – perfect for something like this Bundaberg English Mule.
Best punchy gin brand to use in cocktails
Your other option is to choose a bold gin that’ll take centre stage in every sip of your cocktail.
Monkey 47 is the tipple to tick that box. It’s a complex, punchy gin with an awful lot going on. 47 carefully chosen botanicals are squashed into every drop to create a truly unique flavour.
The citrus-heavy start and spicy body of Monkey 47 makes it perfect for something like a classic Negroni cocktail recipe.
However, you should try to remember that it comes in at a whopping 46% ABV, which is a fair bit stronger than your average gin.
Best gin brands for sipping
Gin is mostly associated with mixed cocktail variations, but there are plenty of sipping brands out there too.
They range from the comfortingly classic, like the Handcrafted Cornish Dry Gin from Tarquin’s, to the strange and surprising.
Here at the Cocktail Society, we always keep our eyes peeled for the chance to find beauty in the unexpected.
And it doesn’t get much more beautiful and unexpected than this Japanese Gin masterpiece from the Cambridge Distillery.
Expect a toasted sesame sweetness, an exquisite yuzu sharpness, and an overarching freshness that will keep you sipping.
The gin geniuses at the Cambridge Distillery advise drinking it neat with a shiso leaf to garnish, but we liked it best with a green olive.
Best peated gin brand
If you’re searching for something totally left field, we can’t sing the praises of Sling Shot Irish Gin loudly enough.
It boasts a bold combo of classic botanicals and locally sourced Irish peat – starting off with a citrus spice and warming into a deliciously peaty finish.
Perfect served over ice, with a sprig of rosemary to really bring out the herbiness if you’re feeling fancy.
Discover the best gin for cocktails with us
If you’re still feeling a bit out of your depth, why not start off with one of our gin cocktail kits for an easy way to sample something new?
Convenient, quick and tasty. What more could you want?
If you fancy something a bit different, check out the Monkey Gland cocktail containing gin or the gin jam cocktail.