In these strange times, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Most of us are working from home (if we’re fortunate enough to still have jobs) and haven’t seen much of the outside world in weeks. It’s starting to get downright monotonous. We’re daydreaming about warmer spring days to come and the end of the national quarantine.
With boredom and anxiety levels both on high, we find ourselves extra excited for random booze-related holidays. Whatever they are, at this point we’re in. Well, reserve a Zoom room for April 9th, because its National Gin & Tonic Day and we’re going to get our drink on.
Besides being delicious and refreshing, there are few classic cocktails easier to make than the iconic G & T. This simple combination tonic water, gin, and lime is perfectly suited for early spring weather. But with gin booming in recent years, the selection has widened. To help you pick which bottle to have delivered, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to name the best gins to mix into a gin & tonic.
Mary Cooksey, bar manager at Oak Bar in Nashville
Although this may be a somewhat unpopular opinion, gin is actually an incredible spirit to drink neat. Plymouth gin is the gin you need to be drinking straight (or mixed into a g & t). It’s incredibly fresh and aromatic, while only slightly bitter. Its botanicals have a floral quality, as well as big notes of lemon peel, coriander, and, of course, juniper berries. I love how this gin is bright and crisp, with layers of complexity. It’s difficult to not appreciate it straight honestly.
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils Gin
Cody Dillon, general manager at Florblanca in Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
My favorite gin is The Ozark Mountain Daredevils Gin. It is a small-batch “London Dry” style gin, and it is distilled in Springfield, Missouri. Elderberry is a native berry to this region of the state, and the gin is infused with this which is an added bonus for immunity! I enjoy this with tonic water — “Daredevil and tonic” is how I call it.
Watershed 4 Peel
Courtney Everett, bartender at O-Ku Sushi in Atlanta
I like Watershed Distillery’s 4 Peel Gin for a gin and tonic. It’s citrusy, approachable and not too piney, and they’re a great company with thoughtful practices so I like supporting them.
Cutwater Barrel Rested Old Grove Gin
Cody Goldstein, founder of Muddling Memories in New York City
Cutwater Barrel Rested Old Grove Gin is a favorite of mine currently because of its unique finish in charred oil barrels which lends this really distinct cinnamon note. The gin is very smooth from being rested in the barrels and a hint of smoke as well. It makes a truly unique gin and tonic that is unlike any other g and t I have tried. I like to garnish it with a smoked cinnamon stick and lime to bring out the botanicals. Cutwater also makes great canned ready-to-drink cocktails including a gin and tonic for those who like convenience.
Kevin Moran, general manager at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood in South Walton, Florida
Hendrick’s Gin is my personal favorite because it has the nice botanicals that you expect from gin while also being balanced enough to give tonic water just enough of a partnership to be delicious.
Berkshire Mountain Greylock Gin
Josh Saphier, bartender at Eighteen36 in Houston
My favorite gin is another little guy out there on the market. Greylock Gin from Berkshire Mountain Distillers. It’s defined as a London Dry style which typically means juniper-forward. When I sip on this, I get much more floral notes on the front which is American style. Since it’s being mixed in a drink the tonic is just as important. For this, I prefer Fever Tree from London.
Josh Streetman, bartender at Motor Supply Co. in Columbia, South Carolina
I like Gin and Tonics for the diversity and individuality a bartender can bring to highlight their own style. Also, Ingredients play well and differently to express seasonality, regional terroir, and the botanicals in each gin. I’ve got to be honest, dealers choice. But I keep Beefeater 24 in my freezer.
Natalie Migliarini, mixologist behind Beautiful Booze on Instagram
Gin Mare, which is a Mediterranean Gin. The herbaceous tasting notes makes it perfect for a Spanish style gin and tonic.
Prescribed Barrel Aged Gin
Bryan Long, assistant director of food and beverage at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Palm Beach, Florida
Prescribed Barrel Aged Gin from Fort Lauderale is a small batch gin that has the botanical notes of a gin with the added notes of bourbon from the barrel it was aged in.
Nate Simmons, bartender at Garden & Grain in Pensacola, Florida
I always go with Fords Gin for a g and t. It’s floral and citrus round out a nice juniper base, and it plays very well with a quality tonic.
Mazzarie Parker, bar manager of Maypop Restaurant in New Orleans
My go-to gin would have to be The Botanist Islay Dry Gin. I love a spicy, floral, herbal gin. The distiller hand-forages the botanicals used in production, which translates beautifully in the complex flavors of this spirit. Pair this gin with homemade tonic and sprig
Tanqueray No. 10
Zsolt Ducsai, food and beverage director at Serafina Beach Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico
My choice will be on Tanqueray No.10. Excellent make of many different botanicals. Not overwhelmed with typical flours in it. Perfect choice to have with a grapefruit in it.
Piero Procida, bartender at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles
Silent Pool Gin. The quality behind this English gin is just amazing. Moderately priced but certainly worth every penny. It’s not overly herbaceous as many gins are so does not overpower you but is full-bodied enough to ease the bite of tonic. It uses over 24 botanicals but is strong on the Juniper, yet all work well together to create a complex flavor that tonic will compliment.
Joseph Palminteri, director of food and beverage at Via Sophia in Washington, DC
Green Hat. Local right here in the heart of DC, hand-made from grain to glass, each numbered batch of Green Hat Gin is crafted step-by-step over a one month period, featuring a clear juniper nose, hints of citrus lightness and coriander spice, a vague recollection of root botanical earthiness, a subtle note of grains of paradise peppery-ness, an herbal whisper of celery, and a rewarding complexity. The result is a super-premium gin that excels both in the finest cocktails and with a small cube in the gin lover’s neat glass.