The Gin and Tonic Taste TestEdit Post
Contributed by on Sep 30, 2014
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The classic Gin and Tonic is one of the world’s most elegant drinks. Full of flavor and with a bracing kick, it’s the perfect balance of bitter, spicy, tart, and sweet. Although the G&T is thought of by some as primarily a summertime beverage, it’s far too fine to confine to only one season of the year.
And the good news is, you don’t have to! Although the Gin and Tonic is the ideal accompaniment to a warm summer day, it can also be a very welcome quaff for the fall and beyond.
Professor Cocktail and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water recommend you enjoy your Gin and Tonic all year long. To assist you in your enjoyment, the Professor Cocktail panel tasted 40 different gins to find the best to mix in your drink.
For more details about how the taste test was conducted, please see the supplemental information after the results. But now, let’s unveil the winners!
Fords Gin (The 86 Co., $23)
The only gin in the competition to receive a perfect score, Fords was unanimously chosen as “best in class.”
Gold Medal Recipients
Beefeater London Dry Gin (Pernod Ricard, $19)
Bulldog London Dry Gin (Campari America, $26)
Citadelle Gin (Cognac Ferrand, $25)
Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin (Greenhook Ginsmiths, $34)
Hayman’s London Dry Gin (Hayman Distillers, $25)
Hayman’s Old Tom Gin (Hayman Distillers, $24)
Hayman’s Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin (Hayman Distillers, $26)
Junipero Gin (Anchor Distilling, $35 )
Tanqueray Rangpur Gin (Diageo, $20)
Ungava Canadian Premium Gin (Domaine Pinnacle, $33)
Van Gogh Gin (Van Gogh Vodka, $25)
Silver Medal Recipients
Barr Hill Gin (Caledonia Spirits, $41)
Bluecoat American Dry Gin (Philadelphia Distilling, $28)
Bombay Sapphire East Gin (Bacardi, $26)
Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin (Bacardi, $26)
Boodles British Gin (Proximo, $24)
Broker’s London Dry Gin (Broker’s Distillery, $19)
Hendrick’s Gin (William Grant & Sons, $35)
Jensen’s Old Tom Gin (Bermondsey Distillery, $37)
London 40 London Dry Gin (Old St. Andrews, $25)
McKenzie Distiller’s Reserve Gin (Finger Lakes Distilling, $34)
No. 209 Gin (Distillery No. 209, $37)
No. 3 London Dry Gin (Berry Bros & Rudd, $40)
St. George Botanivore Gin (St. George Spirits, $35)
Sipsmith London Dry Gin (Sipsmith Distillery, $40)
Tanqueray No. 10 Gin (Diageo, $30)
Bronze Medal Recipients
Aviation Gin (House Spirits, $30)
Big Gin (Captive Spirits, $33)
Bummer & Lazarus Gin (Raff Distillerie, $35)
Dorothy Parker American Gin (New York Distilling Company, $34)
Few American Gin (Few Spirits, $41)
Letherbee Gin (Letherbee Distillers, $31)
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin (Black Forest Distillers, $90)
Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin (Nolet Distillery, $45)
Russell Henry London Dry Gin (Craft Distillers, $39)
St. George Terroir Gin (St. George Spirits, $35)
The Choice of Tonic Water
Unlike the dark days of the past, when high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors ruled the land, we are fortunate today to have several great options for tonic waters and syrups available. For the purposes of this test, we chose to use Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, which we consider to be the gold standard of tonics and the perfect accompaniment to gin.
Each drink was made with a ratio of 2:1, tonic water to gin. The samples were prepared with 1 ounce of gin, 2 ounces of chilled tonic, and 1 one-ounce ice cube. Due to possible variations in garnish, the drinks were tasted unaccompanied by lime or lemon.
The gins were tasted over the course of two days, with 20 gins tasted at each session. The samples were randomized so that our panel could taste the drinks blind, without regard to brand or other details.
A Quick Word About Gin
Gin is a spirit of both variety and complexity. The only important technical requirement for making gin is that the spirit must be flavored with juniper berries. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the botanical flavors that may be added. Everything from citrus to coriander, cardamom, berries, anise, flowers — you name it.
Despite the ubiquity of the Gin and Tonic as the most popular way to consume the spirit, not all gins lend themselves equally well to this preparation. Therefore, we urge that caution be used when attempting to extrapolate from our results to how the gin would perform when enjoyed on its own or, say, in a Martini.
The fine folks at Fever-Tree supplied the tonic water used in this tasting. Several distilleries, importers, and PR companies kindly provided samples of some of the gins we tasted. Others were taken from Professor Cocktail’s own spirits library. Whether or not a sample of a spirit was provided or we purchased it ourselves had no bearing on the results. The judgments rendered were solely our own.
All prices listed are for a 750ml bottle, extrapolated if necessary. Please enjoy your gin responsibly.