Top 5 gins for making the ultimate martinis and cocktails

In case you hadn't heard, gin is in.

This clear, aromatic spirit has been around for ages (since the Middle Ages, in fact) but it's enjoying a renaissance as drinkers discover its intriguingly sharp juniper taste. Read on to discover the best brands with GAYOT's list of the top gins from around the world.

This aged gin is meant to be enjoyed like whisky.

This aged gin is meant to be enjoyed like whisky. (Beefeater's)

Anchor Old Tom Gin
Origin: USA
Price: $35

Today's gin renaissance has ushered in the revival of traditional gin styles, among them Old Tom. Tom gins are sweeter than London Dry offerings; historically, they served a public that adored sugar, and bartenders would often sweeten each batch based on customer preference. The gin is pot distilled, which gives it a mellow, almost gentle character with sweet notes coming courtesy of star anise, licorice root and stevia. This spirit shows its spicy colors beautifully in a classic Martinez.

Beefeater Burrough's Reserve Oak Rested Gin
Origin: UK
Price: $75

After years of preserving the traditional Beefeater formula, master distiller Desmond Payne has crafted his own gin from scratch. Starting with Beefeater founder James Burrough's classic recipe and the original copper Still Number 12, Payne ages the spirit in Jean de Lillet French oak barrels for several months. The barrels lend the straw-colored gin a velvety mouthfeel while juniper and citrus are prominent on the palate. The initial flavor burst is followed by a warm finish of vanilla and spice reminiscent of a smooth whiskey. This is a sipping gin if ever there was one — but what an indulgent martini it makes!

Fords Gin
Origin: UK/USA
Price: $25/liter

As former bartenders, the principals in the 86 Co. knew what they wanted in spirits. Still, they went a step further by polling the bartending community at large. The result is a collection of spirits — gin, white rum, vodka and tequila — made for mixing in cocktails. Fords Gin is a collaboration between Simon Ford, former brand ambassador for Plymouth Gin, and master distiller Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers in London. Their wheat-based offering is cut with Mendocino County well water, and boasts a balanced foundation of juniper and citrus. The floral and herbal qualities predominate without overpowering, thanks to a distinctive balance of coriander, cassia, angelica, orris and jasmine, as well as a mix of lemon, orange and grapefruit peel. The 86 Co. calls this an "aromatic" gin and that description is spot on. It's stunning any way you use it — from martinis to gimlets to Collins drinks. At this price point, it is an absolute steal.

Martin Miller's London Dry Style Gin
Origin: England and Iceland
Price: $30

Martin Miller's Gin is a marriage of English and Icelandic resources. In 1998, the company began distilling gin in England using a single-pot still named Angela. Collecting only the best product, the single-pot method is also ideal for gently macerating the botanicals. Earthy botanicals like juniper and coriander are distilled separately from the dried citrus peels, creating a crisp, balanced spirit. After distilling in England, the gin is married with pure Icelandic spring water for a light, fresh taste. The gin boasts a citrus nose that continues in the mouth, along with hints of juniper that lead to a clean finish.

If you love juniper, this is the gin for you.

If you love juniper, this is the gin for you. (Sipsmith)

Sipsmith VJOP
Origin: UK
Price: $40

When Sipsmith opened for business in 2009, it was the first distillery in London to use a copper still in nearly 200 years. This old-fashioned technique results in timeless gins with modern character. There is nothing new in terms of botanicals — juniper, Seville orange peel, Spanish lemon peel, orris, licorice, angelica, cinnamon bark, Spanish ground almonds and coriander are all familiar players in the gin game. Rather, it's the combination of ingredients and distillation process that has brought Sipsmith consistent notice. In 2014, the company released a high-proof version of its London Dry style with the tongue-in-cheek name of V.J.O.P., as in "Very Juniper Over Proof." The juniper is not just at the fore — it's a booming symphony in "J" major, as Sipsmith says, thanks in part to the bold character of the spirit. The scent, the taste and the finish scream juniper.

Ready to make a classic martini? Discover more of the world’s best gins.

More from Gayot

Best Fruit Inspired Beers

Strangest Beers in the World

Best Irish Beers in the World

Most Haunted Hotels in the World