When it comes to spirits everyone knows that gin is a superior drink. Firstly it is crisp and clean, perfect for drinking on its own over ice, secondly it makes a cracking gin and tonic if you’re looking to take things up a notch, and thirdly all the best cocktails are made with gin (we think that’s a fact, yes?). This guy is a real hard worker when it comes to your drinks cabinet staples.
If this popular spirit could talk, what tales it could tell. It’s said that gin was invented as a medicinal liquor made by monks and alchemists across Europe back in the throes of history, but its heyday is undeniably the 1700s, a period when historians estimate that nearly a quarter of households in London were producing the stuff themselves to keep up with their thirst for it. With gin palaces a plenty popping up in the following years, us Britons got through huge quantities of this crisp spirit. There were even many (mostly vain) attempts by the government to stop the consumption of it thanks to an unruly portion of the population propping up bars up and down the lands and getting into all kinds of scrapes as a result of ‘one too many’. While the original remedial use may have fallen out of fashion, we do think some of these credentials can still be seen today by way of self-medication from loyal gin fans (us included), and it’s undeniable that this fragrant spirit is back in fashion.
Thanks to the resurgence in popularity of gin over recent years there are countless brands, both old and new, on the market to choose from. When looking for the best gin brands it can be hard to narrow things down thanks to a far-reaching market and many a maker, so we’ve tried to hone in on some real heroes in our tried and tested guide to the best gins to buy in the UK. From incredible British bottles to delicious exotic brands, great supermarket gins and more, these are the very best gins to give and to gift (or just to keep all for yourself!)
Best British gin
We think of gin as quintessentially English, but it likely originated in 16th century Holland! These days, though, distilleries up and down the country are knocking up outstanding gins, using a range of local botanicals. Read on for our top ranked gins.
What: Aside from the obvious – the pretty bottle – this gin makes an ideal gift thanks to the wide appeal of its flavour profile. Made on the Isle of Wight, the ingredients used as aromatics include foraged samphire which gives the drink saline notes on the palate as well as a silky-smooth finish for something that's not sweet or sickly. We love this paired with a herbaceous tonic to complement the natural ingredients used in the distillation process – like a Mediterranean-scented one. Finish with a slice of orange and a sprig of rosemary for the perfect G&T. We’ll take a double.
How much: £37
Buy now: Mermaid Gin
Isle of Harris Gin
What: This crisp, clean gin is produced on the Outer Hebrides, as its name suggests, and its flavour profile is made up of nine carefully chosen botanicals which include local, hand-harvested sugar kelp seaweed and bitter orange peel. The results are a drink with a long clean finish and gentle maritime notes from the seaweed. Bottled by hand and distilled in a small copper still, this award-winning spirit is truly something special, making it perfect for gifting. We love that the bottle is as beautiful as its contents too, meaning you can recycle it afterwards into a water vessel for your table or a vase for some flowers.
How much: £37
Buy now: Isle of Harris Gin
Searcys Limited Edition London Gin
What: Crafted in partnership with Hawkridge Distillers, this limited-edition London Dry Gin pays homage to Searcys Victorian roots. The method follows traditional distillation techniques, vapour infusion, and the incorporation of a tea inspired by Victorian botanicals, before being tempered with honey collected from Searcys own beehives. Botanicals include rosemary, lavender, blackcurrant leaves, and lemon verbena expertly blended with juniper and citrus to create a well-rounded flavour profile, with a subtle but lingering floral finish. It's an ideal gift for gin aficionados.
How much: £95
Buy now: Searcy's London Gin
No.3 London Dry Gin
What: From a recipe based on six botanicals (three fruit and three spice), No.3 – owned by London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd – offers a big hit of juniper on the nose, wrapped in floral and orange notes and nice sweetness. The palate has layers of juniper, balanced with fresh citrus and peppery spice notes, with a herbal hint (maybe the cardamom) and an earthy quality (angelica root). We like its bone-dry finish and characteristic juniper bitterness. Serve with grapefruit and maybe a sprig of fresh rosemary.
How much: £29.50
Buy now: No.3 London Dry Gin
What: Founded by four friends, this independent English gin distillery’s aim was simple: to create a gin so smooth and sensual, you’d want to drink it neat over ice. It’s worth trying at least once, even if you’re not normally a fan of neat gin, as you should be able to detect the natural oils and aromas that come from the Bulgarian coriander, Valencian orange and Tuscan juniper berries. Packaged in a dark bottle, possibly to reflect the top notes of ginger and orange (or just because it’s temptingly moody), it’s a gin all enthusiasts should sample as soon as possible.
How much: £31
Buy now: Brockmans
What: Martin Miller was both a traditionalist and something of a maverick, so it’s no surprise that his eponymous gin is a perfect mix of the two. Made using the methods and techniques of the old school distillers, but with botanicals from a variety of different provinces, Martin Miller’s gin is fresh, citrusy and very drinkable. Since its launch in 1999, Martin Miller’s Gin has won loads of awards for excellence, but as we’re big fans of that saying about the proof of the pudding, we recommend you try it for yourself.
How much: £29
Buy now: Martin Miller’s
What: Crafted in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast between the sea and the salt marshes, Fishers Gin infuses a medley of local herbs and coastal botanicals before packaging it up in a pretty bottle you’ll definitely want to keep hold of. Crafted by a real life botanist who takes his inspiration from the recipes of medieval herbalists, this gin manages to capture the wild and forgotten flavours of the British Isles in a drink that is dangerously sip-able. If Cathy and Heathcliff drank gin, we reckon it would be this one.
How much: £40
Buy now: Fishers Gin
Salcombe Gin Four Seas
What: We love Salcombe's citrus-forward Start Point gin, and the more recent Four Seas distillation is just as good, albeit quite different. The botanicals are much more sea-focussed, with sea herbs like sugar kelp and sea buckthorn joining lemon peel and Welsh elderberries. Floral, citrussy with an extra hint of seaspray, this is another beauty from Salcombe Gin, plus, 10% of net sales goes straight to the good people at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
How much: £39.50
Buy now: Salcombe Gin
Silent Pool Gin
What: Where lots of distillers keep things dead simple, Surrey-made Silent Pool comes in with a whopping 24 botanicals, including plenty of floral character from lavender, chamomile, rose and linden. The result is beautifully balanced gin that works best when you let the spirit speak for itself, either neat or mixed with a good tonic and a slice of orange.
How much: £42.50
Buy now: Silent Pool Gin
Best international gin
Contrary to popular opinion, Britain isn't the centre of the gin universe anymore - unique distilleries all over the world have taken to making their own complex gins, using local botanicals and ingredients to create amazing new flavour profiles.
Bayab African Grown Classic Dry Gin
What: Everyone’s heard of an English gin, but what about one made in Africa? Bayab Gin offers a refreshingly different drink to all your tried-and-tested usuals, wth a bold and undeniably complex finish. The ingredients are sourced from across the entire continent of Africa to allow for a real breadth of notes, but the signature touch is the use of the Baobab fruit. It’s this that perfumes the whole drink with a unique citrus-like flavour, making it the ideal spirit for a strong but fruity martini or a long, cold G&T.
How much: £31
Buy it: Bayab Gin
135 East Hyogo Japanese dry gin
What: A lorry load of Japanese botanicals goes into the making of this intriguing gin, made at The Kaikyo Distillery in Akashi City. Cedar wood, shiso leaf, chrysanthemum, sansho pepper and yuzu all intertwine, creating something that is recognisable but different, with leafy, grassy notes and citrus. A lovely bottle too, which counts for something.
How much: £39
Buy now: 135 East Hyogo Japanese dry gin
Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin
What: Created to give drinkers a taste of the Mediterranean, this wonderfully fragrant gin is spiked with the flavours of thyme, olive and basil. Begun by a family who originally worked with wine, the carefully balanced notes are reminiscent of a good vintage – each nuance working in perfect harmony with each other. This gin has a real mark of difference when compared to others on the market, with a distinct savoury slant perfect for pairing with classic tonic and a sprig of rosemary as an aperitif.
How much: £40
Buy now: Gin Mare
Koval Dry Gin
What: Distilled in Chicago, Koval – meaning ‘black sheep’ in Yiddish – prides itself on its grain-to-bottle approach. From milling the locally-grown grain to distilling, barrelling, and bottling, this organic, kosher gin is carefully crafted, resulting in a crisp, dry gin that holds its own. Close your eyes and picture emerald grasses, golden citrus and wildflowers as you sip and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
How much: £32
Buy now: Koval Dry Gin
Canaïma Small Batch Gin
What: Combine your love of good drinks with doing good in this double duty gin. Each batch is made in small quantities using 19 different botanicals which are all sourced in the Amazon by local communities. Expect unusual nuances from ingredients such as açaí berries, merey fruit, uve de palma from palm trees and copuazu. This fruity gin will transport you to tropical shores, while the 10% of sales donated from each bottle go towards supporting two foundations who work on conservation projects in the Amazon.
How much: £45
Buy now: Canaïma Gin
Best small batch gin
What is a small batch gin? Well, there's no strict definition to small batch gin-making, but in general it refers to gins distilled in small quantities, often 1000 litres or less. The idea is that when gin is made in smaller batches, it allows the distiller to have more control over the final product, hopefully yielding higher quality results.
Aval Dor Dry Gin
What: Colwith Farm Distillery’s highly regarded small batch gin uses traditional gin botanicals - juniper, coriander and citrus peel - for a classic gin that is excellent neat or in a gin and tonic. An award-winner all over the world, this makes an excellent present for any gin connoisseurs in your life.
How much: £38
Buy now: Aval Dor Dry Gin
Ramsbury Single Estate Gin
What: A classic London dry gin, this single estate bottle is made at the Ramsbury Estate on the North Wessex Downs, using local botanicals and juniper picked on Salisbury Plain. The addition of quince in the distillation process gives it a bit of quince flavour in the front, which fades into more traditional floral and juniper notes.
How much: £32
Buy now: Ramsbury Single Estate Gin
Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin
What: One of the better known names in small batch gin, Wicked Wolf uses a handful of exotic botanicals - angelica, cardamom, cubeb pepper, grains of paradise, Makrut lime leaves and lemongrass, for example - and brings them together in a surprisingly clean, citrusy gin. Wicked Wolf is one of the best gins for a gin and tonic that we’ve ever tried.
How much: £37
Buy now: Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin
Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin
What: Holding the title of Dorset’s first gin distillery, Conker’s bright and refreshing bottle is made right here on home soil. Traditional seaside ingredients like samphire, elderberries and gorse flowers from the surrounding environments are combined with slightly more exotic ingredients such as Macedonian juniper for the perfect kind of gin that works as equally well neat as it does in a long, ice-cold gin and tonic.
How much: £36.25
Buy now: Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin
Tappers Falling Leaves Gin
What: Independently produced on the Wirral Peninsula, this handcrafted small-batch gin is made using only natural botanicals sourced as locally as possible. Distinctive, full-bodied and full of flavour, Tappers gins are wonderfully versatile when it comes to serving, whether you add to it or not. If supporting small family-run distilleries is important to you, you’ll love the fact that each bottle is individually filled, labelled, wax sealed and numbered by hand.
How much: £30
Buy now: Tappers Falling Leaves Gin
Best pink gin
Pink gins have become mightily popular over the last few years - the top pink gins combine classic gin botanicals with flavours like raspberry, rhubarb, and even rose petals. Check out more of the best pink gins in our dedicated guide.
Three Wrens Rhubarb Gin
What: This beautiful blushing Three Wrens number makes an especially lovely gift thanks to the attractive bottle, but the gin inside is excellent too, with piney juniper and rhubarb forming the base, and a nice vanilla note coming in later on. Great on its own or with a splash of ginger ale.
How much: £33
Buy now: Three Wrens Rhubarb Gin
Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin
What: This attractive Chase number does what it says on the bottle - pink grapefruit and pomelo provide plenty of zippy acidity at the core of this gin, but there’s lots of tropical fruit notes too, making this perfect for summery spritzes.
How much: £30
Buy now: Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin
Dr. Squid Gin
What: Dr. Squid wins the award for the biggest crowd pleaser in the list - this Penzance-distilled gin is made with, among other things, squid ink. That gives the gin a real coastal tinge, but you’ll also find that it turns bright pink when you mix it with tonic!
How much: £46
Buy now: Dr. Squid Gin
What: Pink, organic, vegan and beautifully-packaged, this Cornish gin needs no help from us, but we love it so we’re going to gush about it anyway. The act of pouring this delicate amber liquid from its brown, narrow-mouthed glass vessel is almost as satisfying as tasting it, thanks to Tinkture’s cleverly-designed glug-free bottles. Then there’s the taste. Delicate notes of juniper and coriander come together to create a warmth that’s light enough to stand on its own, but deep enough to slice through tonic (which turns it a pale shade of pink). And, once you’ve bought one bottle, you can top it up with the refill packs, which reduces waste, replenishes your gin levels and saves money – bonus!
How much: £45
Buy now: Tinkture
Best flavoured gin
Not all flavoured gins are pink! The market has boomed in recent years with flavoured gins that makes fantastic cocktail mixes.
What: We're all familiar with Bombay Sapphire, but did you know that the distillery actually makes all sorts of different gins? We especially love the fresh and fruity, blackberry and raspberry-infused Bombay Bramble - it makes a cracking gin and tonic and its invaluable for amateur mixologists too. You can actually visit the Bombay Sapphire distillery in Hampshire - it's even available to hire for parties and events too!
How much: £25
Buy now: Bombay Bramble
Caorunn Blood Orange Gin
What: We love this wonderful fruity gin from Scottish distillers Caorunn. Blood orange meets a hint of chilli for a tangy tipple that really awakens the senses. This makes a great present for gin and tonic drinkers - it’s lovely with a splash of good tonic.
How much: £29
Buy now: Caorunn Blood Orange Gin
Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin
What: An invigorating flavoured tipple from one of the most respected gin distilleries in the country, Flor de Sevilla actually stems from a recipe devised by Charles Tanqueray way back in the 1860s, revived over 150 years later. Warm juniper and zesty orange, with a hint of allspice, this is welcome at any party.
How much: £29
Buy now: Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin
Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin
What: Something a bit different from Australian distillery Four Pillars, who apparently spent years honing this herbaceous gin to get it just right. Four Pillars is big on olive leaf and olive oil, helped along by friendly botanicals like rosemary, bay leaf, coriander and lemon. Arguably the best gin for martinis in this list, this is easily one of the best herbaceous gins we’ve tried.
How much: £36
Buy now: Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin
Edinburgh Gin Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin
What: Purists look away now, we’re here to suggest that sometimes a good flavoured gin can be really something quite delicious. Edinburgh Gin is well-known on the market already and is a company that is constantly pushing its brand to create new and interesting twists on a classic gin. One of the results of this innovation is this gooseberry and elderflower gin which is sweet and floral, perfect for an entry level bottle if you find the straight stuff a bit strong still.
How much: £26
Where: Edinburgh Gin Gooseberry & Elderflower
Best supermarket gin
Supermarkets have put some serious money and effort into making their own brand spirits competitive with the rest of the market, and the result is some bottles that have won independent awards in recent years. The below are some of the best value gins you’ll find anywhere and honestly, you might not even notice the difference.
Aldi Haysmith's London Dry Gin
What: Aldi’s Haysmith’s gin has often ranked highly in independent tastings, and this classic gin won gold at the 2023 IWSC Awards. With a nice balanced profile and a smooth finish, this might be the best value gin on the market.
How much: £15.49
Buy now: Aldi Haysmith's London Dry Gin
Lidl Hortus Artisan London Dry Gin
What: Another perennial award-winner, Lidl’s Hortus Gin is distilled in small batches, which helps to retain a certain level of quality. The final product is excellent - it’s packed full of lively citrus notes and some herbaceousness too, and makes a great partner for good tonic water.
How much: £15.95
Buy now: Lidl Hortus Artisan London Dry Gin
Sainsbury's Blackfriars Gin
What: Distilled four times using ten classic gin botanicals, Sainsbury’s Blackfriars Gin isn’t doing anything special but for the price it really delivers with a nice, lively, traditional gin that works well as an all rounder.
How much: £19.50
Buy now: Sainsbury's Blackfriars Gin
Best budget gin
Naturally the gin boom has seen prices soaring, and some top gins can fetch up to £50 these days. We reckon these are the best cheap gins you can go for if you're chasing good bang for your buck.
What: Bloom’s unique, heady blend of chamomile, honeysuckle and pomelo make this one of the best floral gins we’ve tried. It’s fresh and fragrant - perfect for cocktails and light, summery gin and tonics. With lots of awards under its belt, Bloom is blooming good value at this price too.
How much: £26
Buy now: Bloom Gin
Aber Falls Welsh Dry Gin
What: Produced and bottled in North Wales, this gin uses Welsh-inspired botanicals to give it a unique flavour. Aber Falls’ Small Batch Welsh Dry Gin is inspired by ancient flavours dating back to druidic times, made using Welsh mountain water, traditional juniper and citrus. Aber Falls also distils two flavoured gins – Orange Marmalade, and Rhubarb & Ginger – which have proved immensely popular with sweet-toothed gin enthusiasts. Enjoy neat or mixed with tonic.
How much: £26
Buy now: Aber Falls Welsh Dry Gin
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