One of the questions we're most frequently asked by gin and tonic lovers is about which of the 'mainstream' gins we would recommend. What if we had to pick one?
There is a plethora of diverse and different artisan, small batch and premium gins available at the moment. Meanwhile, demand is also soaring for the popular classic brands of Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Gordon's and Tanqueray. Are they any good? Is there much difference between them? Well, yes and yes.
Below we take you through each of these gins, plus give you a premium alternative for each. We also asked fans of The Gin Guide which they preferred - see the results at the bottom of the blog.
Beefeater Gin is an iconic gin with a history dating back to the 1860s when James Burrough bought a distillery in Chelsea. The distillation process and recipe used has been largely retained, produced a reliable, classic gin.
How Does it Compare: Alongside the other mainstream gins it is smooth and delivers flavours of orange and coriander and a slight sweetness. A popular option for gin and tonics and martinis, lemon zest is a recommended garnish for a G&T. Read The Gin Guide's full review and tasting notes for Beefeater Gin.
Premium Option: Beefeater 24
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Bombay Sapphire has the instantly recognisable blue bottle and is the youngest of the mainstream gins. The name refers to the popularity of gin during the British Raj in India, but the brand itself has no connection to Bombay.
How Does it Compare?: Bombay Sapphhire (now owned by Bacardi) features 10 botanicals and is slightly more aromatic on the nose and delivers more spiced, peppery and earthy notes to taste. Our recommended garnish is lime. Read The Gin Guide's full review and tasting notes for Bombay Sapphire Gin.
Premium Option: Star of Bombay
Dating back to the 1760s and the creation of Scotsman Alexander Gordon, Gordon's Gin is 1st or 2nd highest selling gin in the world (depending on which data you read!). It is the only gin to display the royal coat of arms on its bottle, by appointment of Her Majesty the Queen.
How Does it Compare?: Gordon's Gin is dry and fresh, with a core taste of juniper and citrus being most prominent whilst not straying too far in any direction of flavour. Popular in gin and tonics, we recommend fresh lime as a garnish for Gordon's. Read The Gin Guide's full review and tasting notes for Gordon's Gin.
Alternative Options: Gordon's Sloe Gin, Cucumber Gin & Elderflower Gin
Launched in London by Charles Tanqueray in the 1830s, Tanqueray is a classic London Dry Gin. The distillery, now based in Scotland under the Diageo brand, still uses the same recipe as from almost 2 centuries ago.
How Does it Compare?: The recipe includes just 4 botanicals and delivers a gin that is juniper-heavy, fresh on the nose, and dry on the palate with juniper and citrus. It makes an excellent gin and tonic (garnish with lime) and it topped our poll of gin enthusiasts. Read The Gin Guide's full review and tasting notes for Tanqueray Gin.
Premium Option: Tanqueray Ten (Read our review)
The Gin Guide Poll Results
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