Best British Gins

Best gins to try

Explore some of our tried-and-tested favourite gins, from iconic classics to indie newcomers, navy strength to unique flavours

Looking for the best gins to try? The craft gin scene has never been so vibrant, with a mind-boggling variety of gins to discover and more emerging every year, from classic juniper-led numbers to savoury, citrus and navy-strength gins.

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Read on for some of our favourite gins, and if you’re keen to discover more then check out our round ups of UK gins that showcase unique local and regional botanicals, flavoured gins and gins from around the world


Best gins to try

Audemus Spirits Umami Oak Finished Gin, £34.95/50cl, The Whisky Exchange

Named after the fifth taste – savouriness – this gin may be a Marmite affair for those with a sweeter tooth, but we loved it. With some out-there botanicals including Italian capers and Parmigiano Reggiano, it could easily have been over the top, but instead this is a moreishly savoury gin with a subtle briny twang and woody notes from ageing in ex-cognac barrels.

Flavour profile: savoury

Botanicals: Sicilian capers, juniper, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bergamot

Perfect pairing: this is smashing in a gibson martini with a pickled onion garnish.

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A bottle of Audemus Umami Gin

Monkey 47, £38.95/50cl, 31 Dover

Using an impressive 47 botanicals (hence the name), this critically acclaimed gin is made in Germany’s Black Forest. Rich and seriously complex, this is a full-on number with robust herb and spice notes.

Flavour profile: spiced/herbaceous

Botanicals: cranberries, lingonberries, spruce shoots, bramble leaves, sage, verbena and chamomile, amongst others

Perfect pairing: tonic water and cranberries.

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Monkey 47 Gin Bottle

HYKE Gin Very Special, £32.95/70cl, Master of Malt

HYKE’s first (delicious) gin was made from surplus table grapes and they’ve continued the theme for their next release, using English wine grape pomace (crushed grape seeds, stems and skins leftover from winemaking) to make their base spirit. There’s also a secret ingredient – a tiny drop of specially aged brandy in each bottle. This is a full-bodied and aromatic gin, heady with juniper and black pepper, and subtle floral notes.

Flavour profile: juniper-led

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, orris, liquorice root, black pepper, cubeb, ginger, dried lemon peel, sambrani, earl grey, lapsang souchong, red sandalwood, angelica seed, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, lavender, chamomile, timur pepper

Perfect pairing: A strip of lemon zest.

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A bottle of HYKE gin

Porter’s Tropical Old Tom Gin, £40.87/70cl, Amazon

With botanicals of passion fruit and guava this subtly sweet old tom gin is well proportioned, with juicy tropical notes balanced by an earthy, classic juniper base.

Flavour profile: fruity

Botanicals: juniper, passion fruit, guava, white tea, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, orris, cassia, cinnamon, liquorice, almond

Perfect pairing: tonic water and fresh passion fruit.

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Porters Tropical Gin

Slingsby Gooseberry Gin, £36.95/70cl, Master of Malt

Slingsby’s rhubarb gin was a hit at olive HQ and now the Yorkshire distillery has released another tart and zesty winner. Here, tangily fruity gooseberries (also sourced in Yorkshire) marry perfectly with the citrussy notes of the base gin.

Flavour profile: citrus

Botanicals: severn sea rosemary, silver posie thyme, green and jasmine tea, citrus thyme, garden thyme, rhubarb, sage, lovage, chervil, nettle, sweet cicely, rose hip, angelica, cassia, orris root, coriander, liquorice, grapefruit and juniper

Perfect pairing: the gin’s creamy mouthfeel means it would be lovely sipped neat with ice, or try topping up with some sparkling white wine for a spring-like spritz.

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Slingsby Gin

Gin Mare, £39.50/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

With rosemary, thyme, olive and basil included in the botanical line up, this savoury, herbaceous Spanish number evokes Mediterranean summer like no other gin. Drink in a copa de balon glass with plenty of ice for ultimate holiday vibes.

Flavour profile: herbaceous

Botanicals: rosemary, thyme, olive, basil, orange, lemon, coriander, juniper and cardamom

Perfect pairing: Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water, a sprig of rosemary and a slice of fresh orange.

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Gin Mare Bottle

Cambridge Distillery Japanese Gin, £65/70cl, Cambridge Distillery

One of the first gins to focus exclusively on Japanese botanicals (with each distilled individually and then blended together, as per the brand’s distinctive distillation process), this is an elegant, complex yet balanced gin, with cool, vegetal cucumber notes, citrus from yuzu, earthy spice and subtle pepperiness. Combine with a beautiful bottle and this would be a great gift for a gin connoisseur looking for something more unusual to try.

Flavour profile: citrus

Botanicals: juniper, sesame seeds, shiso leaf, cucumber, sansho and yuzu

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of green apple

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Cambridge Distillery Gin Japanese Gin

Darnley’s Spiced Gin, £25.77/70cl, Amazon

One for those who can find some spiced gins a little overpowering, this Scottish number has a subtle, restrained spice that’s balanced by juniper, with a lingering, peppery finish.

Flavour profile: spiced

Botanicals: juniper, cloves, grains of paradise and ginger

Perfect pairing: drink with ginger ale.

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Darnley’s Spiced Gin

Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin, £42.90/70cl, Master of Malt

Meaning ‘the beauty of the seasons’, this Japanese creation is made using a rice spirit base distilled with regional botanicals including yuzu, hinoki wood chips (Japanese cyprus), sansho pepper and gyokuro green tea. A decidedly elegant gin, whose classic juniper notes match well with the unusual local ingredients.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: yuzu, hinoki wood chips, orris, lemon, ginger, red shiso leaves, bamboo leaves, sansho pepper and gyokuro green tea

Perfect pairing: tonic water and yuzu peel, or as a ‘sonic’ with a mixture of soda and tonic.

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Dark Grey Bottle of Ki No Bi Gin

Hendrick’s Gin, £31/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

Clean, floral and refreshing, since launching in  2001 Hendrick’s Gin has been the success story that has set the template for modern gin brands to follow,   spearheading a resurgence in the spirit. It can now be found in all bars across the globe, with glasses of Hendrick’s and tonic served with cucumber instead of lemon or lime. We’d recommend that if you don’t like gin or don’t know where to start, this is the place to do so as Hendrick’s is not a juniper-forward gin.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, rose, cubeb berries, elderflower, chamomile, yarrow, coriander, angelica root, lemon & orange peel, orris root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of cucumber, or a twist of lemon peel.

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Hendricks Gin

Tanqueray No.10, £32.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

Launched in 2000, Tanqueray No. 10 is an exceptionally smooth and fresh tasting gin, with a full-bodied grapefruit and citrus hit. There’s still plenty of juniper in the mix, as well as a lovely floral note on the nose, and a smooth citrus finish. One of the very best on the market.

Flavour profile: citrus

Botanicals: juniper, grapefruit, lime, orange, chamomile flower, coriander, angelica, liquorice root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a wedge of grapefruit or a bay leaf.

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tank

Star of Bombay, £36.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

Featuring two additional botanicals – Bergamot orange peel from Calabria in southern Italy and Ambrette seed from Ecuador – on top of the 10 botanicals that feature in its flagship gin Bombay Sapphire, Star of Bombay is slightly musty on the nose, with dried flowers and an underlying spice.

The classic notes of juniper, angelica and coriander have been intensified, but ambrette is immediately apparent. It’s jammy to taste, with piquant spice, bergamot and ambrette seeds offering an exotic twist. At 47.5% ABV, the finish is both long and richly aromatic.

Flavour profile: spiced

Botanicals: juniper, grains of paradise, coriander seeds, cassia bark, orris root, liquorice, lemon peel, cubeb berries, angelica root, almonds, bergamot peel, ambrette seeds

Perfect pairing: tonic and a wedge of orange.

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Star of Bombay Gin

Portobello Road Gin, £26/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

With its booming juniper, classic coriander seed core and peppery nutmeg finish, this gin is the perfect choice for those who like a classic G&T with a wedge of lime. Great price and great design – it’s a modern classic.

Flavour profile: citrus/spiced

Botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice root, cassia bark, nutmeg

Perfect pairing: tonic and grapefruit peel and cracked black pepper.

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Caorunn Gin, £26.99/70cl, Amazon

Distilled and bottled in Scotland, Caorunn firmly takes on the mantle of a national product. The distillery is situated in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park, at the foot of the Haughs of Cromdale. It’s inspired by the landscape that surrounded them – Simon Buley (one of the distillers) wanted to use the ancient skills and recipes of spirit-making, using age-old Celtic botanicals that grow on the surrounding hills of Balmenach Distillery.

Drunk on its own, the gin is crisp, dry and well-balanced yet still full-bodied. The botanicals jump out in the palate with spices, citrus and floral notes all working well to compliment a dry juniper note that leaves you with a crisp, clean finish.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark, rowan berry, heather, dandelion, coul blush apple

Perfect pairing: tonic and thin wedge of red apple.

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Caorunn Gin, Scotland

Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin, £31.65/70cl, Master of Malt

Navy Strength Gins are at 57.5% ABV and as a result, Hayman’s Royal Dock has an aromatic nose with citrus and floral notes, namely orange blossom wafting out as soon as you begin to pour. The mouthfeel is smooth, but also carries an unrivalled botanical intensity of flavour thanks to the higher strength. It’s a classic of the genre and a must-have gin for lovers of this over proof style.

Flavour profile: juniper forward

Botanicals: juniper, citrus, coriander

Perfect pairing: tonic and a wedge of lime.

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Rock Rose, £34/70cl, Amazon

Proving the British craft distilling movement has gone all the way to the northern tip of Scotland, Rock Rose harnesses its regionality in its gin – it’s a bright spirit packed with fruity berries and a delicate astringency. Combined with a beautiful ceramic bottle, this gin is perfect for summer.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, rose root, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, bilberries, cardamom, coriander seed, verbena

Perfect pairing: tonic and a sprig of rosemary.

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Rock Rose Gin Scottish Gin

Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin, £23/70cl, Amazon

A well-balanced gin, perfect for colder nights, with exotic, spicy botanicals that make it warming and easy to drink.

Flavour profile: spiced

Botanicals: juniper, cubeb peppers, cumin seeds, coriander, black pepper, orange peel

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of fresh ginger.

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Glass bottle of Ophir gin

Silent Pool Gin, £37.75/70cl, 31 Dover

A clean juniper-driven spirit that uses an impressive 24 botanicals and fresh spring water from the Albury Estate, where the gin is made. The end result has gentle citrus and perfumed floral notes that make it the perfect summer tipple.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, chamomile, lavender, citrus, honey

Perfect pairing: tonic and a twist of orange peel.

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Bottle of Silent Pool gin

Victory Gin, £31.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

A peppery gin made with 10 botanicals, this cold-distilled gin is light and fresh with bright notes of orange and anise, warmth from cardamom and black pepper plus a subtle sweetness from liquorice and chestnut.

Flavour profile: spiced

Botanicals: juniper, coriander, liquorice root, angelica, orange, cassia bark, orris root, black pepper, cardamom, chestnut

Perfect pairing: tonic and a twist of orange peel.

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Victory gin bottle

Sipsmith London Dry Gin, £28.50/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

 In 2009 the first new licence to distill in London since 1820 was granted to Sipsmith Independent Spirits and since then, a raft of new micro-distilleries have followed. This original recipe is bold, complex and aromatic with a floral nose followed by dry juniper and citrus on the palate.

Flavour profile: juniper forward

Botanicals: juniper, angelica root, coriander seed, cassia bark, orris root, ground almond, cinnamon bark, liquorice root, lemon peel, seville orange peel

Perfect pairing: tonic and a wedge of lime, or a few coriander seeds

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Boatyard Double Gin, £33.95/70cl, Master of Malt

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but this smooth, juniper- led gin lives up to its classy label. It also has a hint of floral sweetness thanks to the wild sweet gale that’s foraged from Boatyard’s farm in Fermanagh.

Flavour profile: juniper led

Botanicals: juniper, sweet gale, grains of paradise, angelica, lemon, orris, liquorice root, coriander

Perfect pairing: tonic and a twist of orange peel and juniper berries.

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LoneWolf London Dry Gin, £25/70cl, Waitrose

The first gin from beer legends BrewDog, made from their own malted barley spirit and using a BrewDog yeast to create the desired flavour combination. It’s a precise and thorough labour of love. To taste, there’s an initial whack of citrus, especially lemon peel, with underlying lavender tones. Next, a hint of lingering pine needles, a little coriander seed and lemongrass. But the overall impression is definitely a citrussy one.

Flavour profile: citrus

Botanicals: juniper, Scots pine, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamom, angelica root, orris root, Thai lemongrass, pink peppercorn, kaffir lime leaf, mace, almond, lavender flower

Perfect pairing: tonic water and a sprig of lavender or, if you really want to ramp the citrus up, a slice of grapefruit.

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