It is no exaggeration to say that sipping an exquisite gin is like savoring an entire botanical garden in your glass … with ice! A number of botanicals go into crafting a good gin, and that’s reflected well in the flavor.
Liquor stores in Hong Kong serving some of the best gins have seen a surge in demand for gins, owing to the pandemic induced lockdown, among the net alcohol purchases from online liquor stores like Liquidz.
Here, we take you through some of the best gin brands. Brands that have won world renowned awards, and high praise from purists. Without further ado, let us take you through some of the best gin brands that have carved a niche for themselves among the gin lovers in Hong Kong.
The Old School
1. Gordon’s London Dry Gin:
If you would like to try a 250 year-old historical recipe, something that is rather spicy with minty undertones mixed with liquorice and juniper flavors, then Gordon’s London Dry Gin is your poison.
The juniper flavor jumps out boldly with every sip of Gordon’s and it will leave you impressed with its incredible versatility.
It easily goes hand in hand with an array of mixed drinks. The aroma of orange peel and anise coupled with the scent of juniper leaves one wanting for more.
This delicacy is a Winner of Double Gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
2. Bombay Sapphire:
A combination of 10 hand-selected exotic botanicals from across the globe, Bombay Sapphire dry gin has exceptional smoothness & balanced taste. It is the very soul of imaginative creativity of bartenders around the world, with aromatic flavors married with delicate finish, a characteristic unmatched by most other gins.
This London dry gin can be savored in martinis or contemporary cocktails. The brand won the Sustainable Spirit Award by Tales of the Cocktail in 2017.
3. Beefeater London Dry Gin:
The most amusing fact about this gin is that this is the only international premium distilled gin produced in London.
The original recipe devised by James Borrough has stood the test of time since 1860 when James began to distil gin in London.
It is named after the Tower of London’s ceremonial guards. It comprises a lovely array of botanicals, including angelica roots and seed, juniper, coriander seeds, almonds, liquorice, Seville oranges, lemon peel and orris root.
It is a liquid herbal bouquet and should be enjoyed straight.
Beefeater won silver at International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2017 and 2019 and its strawberry variant is as equally sought after as the classic one.
4. The Botanist Islay Dry Gin:
The official website of The Botanist introduces the gin as a ‘botanical heritage of the isle of Islay, Scotland’.
It packs 22 hand-foraged local botanicals which subtly augment the nine berries, barks, seeds and peels (coriander, juniper, lemon, orange, liquorice, angelica roots & cassia) during a very slow distillation.
The botanicals can be picked only at varying times of the year when it is dry, a challenge in itself when you are on Islay!
It is the first and only dry gin from Islay and is beautifully complex yet perfect for cocktails. The packaging itself is so captivating that it beckons you to behold it. Savor it in a chilled martini!
The Whisky Exchange named The Botanist Islay Dry Gin as the Fine Spirit of The Year in 2013. This gin has also won silver in London Dry Gin category at International Wine & Spirits Competition and San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
5. Tanqueray London Dry Gin:
The invention of Charles Tanqueray back in 1830s, this perfectly balanced gin is one of the most awarded gins in the world.
Its four unique botanicals – juniper, coriander, licorice & angelica – impart to it a herbal quality with dry finish. Throw it with some tonic and ice in a wine glass and wrap it up with a lime wedge!
The gin has been crowned the Bartenders’ Choice of Gin the 8th time at the 2020 Drinks international awards. In a poll by ‘The World’s 50 Best Bars’ (reported in Drinks International’s The World’s 50 Best Bars Annual Report 2016), Tanqueray ranked best-selling and overall favorite spirit.
6. Citadelle Gin:
Citadelle gin is a crisp spirit which imbibes the very essence of the Château de Bonbonnet region of France. It is a combo of revival and innovation that is crafted at Maison Ferrand Distillery in the south-west corner there.
The gin unifies 19 different botanicals including Moroccan coriander, French juniper, Mexican orange peel & Chinese liquorice. The palate is spicier than the nose suggests.
It is no wonder that such diversity in Citadelle gin has won it a silver medal at World Gin Awards 2019 and it also won double gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016.
This gin is summer in a glass.
7. Hendrick’s Gin:
This Scottish masterpiece launched a new gin wave when it was unveiled two decades ago in 1999. The taste of Hendrick’s Gin is derived from roses, cucumbers & 11 other premium botanicals.
It is made into batches of only 500 liters so as to ensure it maintains its high standard & consistency.
Hendricks is the resultant combo of two different spirits from the Bennet still & the Carter-Head still. It exudes subtle flavors from notes of flowers, roots & fruits from across the world.
The gin won double gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition Awards 2010 & 2012, a silver at International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards 2008, 2009 & 2010 and another gold at International Spirits Challenge 2011.
A place for Hendrick’s Gin at any Hong Kong liquor store is assured!
Check out Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice for a more floral touch.
8. Roku Gin:
Roku means ‘six’ in Japanese and the gin is aptly named thus for it comprises 6 Japanese botanicals. There are sencha and gyokuro teas along with cherry (blossom and leaves) & yuzu and Japanese pepper, not to mention another 8 traditional botanicals like bitter orange & lemon peels, totaling the botanicals count at 14.
This gin comes from the House of Suntory in Osaka, which has perhaps more awards to its credit than the number of expressions a brand can create!
It won silver for Gin-2019 at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2019, a silver for Super Premium Gin at International Spirits Challenge 2019 and another silver for Distilled Super Premium Gin 2018 at International Spirits Challenge 2018.
9. Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin:
A fabulous Spanish gin highly praised by critics, it packs the essence, climate & gastronomy of the Mediterranean.
Gin Mare comprises botanicals arbequina olive, rosemary, thyme, basil & mandarin, all of which are then united with juniper, cardamom, citrus and coriander to craft an exquisite blend.
It is herbaceous with oily texture with a long & delectable aftertaste of cardamom.
Gin Mare has to its credit the World Gin Awards 2017 Category Winner. It also won the Best Contemporary Style Gin in 2016 in Spain.
10. Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin:
Made from the limited cool Yarra Valley Shiraz grapes, this gin has the aroma of fresh pine needles, citrus and spice and a clear peppery, dense raspberry character.
The gin’s color turns iridescent pink when it is mixed with soda.
Enjoy it with lemon tonic or bitter lemon soda, club soda or in a spritz variation. You can relish it on the rocks with orange slice. Aussie spirit in a bottle, literally!
The Four Pillars distillery was awarded International Gin Producer of the Year in 2019 at 50th Annual Wine and Spirits Competition in London.
Since you’ve kept up till now, here is a bonus one for you:
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin:
Often difficult to find and obtain, Monkey 47 an unusual German gin from the Black Forest in Germany, also trapping the exoticism of India. The ‘47’ comes from the number of botanicals that go into this unique gin (yes, 47 botanicals! How many did you say you had in your garden?!), and also the fact it’s bottled at a healthy 47%.
It goes excellently on the nose with woody, vegetable smells under pine fresh grassy citrus notes and botanical sweetness. Abundance of botanicals impart to it a robustness full of spice, fruit and herb flavors.
Some say less is more, but surely not for Monkey 47!
So folks, those were the 10 best gins you should definitely try, whether in a Hong Kong bar or from the leisure of your home.
But this doesn’t end here …
The collection of gins at ‘that online Hong Kong liquor store’, as our patrons refer to us, is far more diverse than what you read here till now.
Feel free to browse through the bounty that is awaiting your glasses at Liquidz.