Gin martinis are an incredibly personal experience. When there's a world of decisions to be made, cross one off your list as you decide on the best gin for a martini. Although it may not appear so to the naked eye or those new to the world of gin martinis, gins can be drastically different in flavor profiles. But with some digging and soul searching, I found the best gins. These will make only the most elegant and exquisite martinis, regardless of whether you prefer yours dry, dirty, shaken, or stirred.
The Best Gins for an Impeccable Martini
If you're running up and down the gin aisle at the store trying to pick one out, this list will have you out the door in no time. If you have some time or you're still sitting in the parking lot, scroll down to learn more about each pick.
- Best Overall: Beefeater London Dry
Best for a Dry Martini: Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Best Refreshing Flavor: Hendrick's Gin
Best of Plymouth Gin: Plymouth Gin
Best Pick for Elevated Martinis: Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Best for a Crisp Taste: Hayman's London Dry Gin
Best for a Dirty Martini: Boodles London Dry
1. Beefeater London Dry
Beefeater London dry gin has fantastically wonderful familiar notes of juniper and orange, creating a martini that's flavorful and more than just spirit and vermouth. The refreshing citrus creates a crisp and clean flavor profile, with those orange notes absolutely shining.
Made up of nine botanicals, with lemon zest another key player, it's a bold but smooth gin. The recipe has gone unchanged for years, creating a reliable gin that has and will continue to be outstanding. You can grab a bottle for around $21.
2. Sipsmith London Dry Gin
It doesn't get more classic than Sipsmith London dry gin. Complex and aromatic, as well as unwaveringly bold, it offers a balanced and full-bodied profile. The price isn't, bold, thankfully, at around $32.
Sipsmith starts with floral notes, akin to a summer day, with a prominent citrus zest quickly following. The flavor is dry but juniper-forward, with a tart lemon and orange flavor mellowing in the background. It continues to end dry, with hints of juniper lingering on the finish. It's an extraordinary gin.
3. Hendrick's Gin
Hendrick's gin sets itself apart from other gins because of its prominent cucumber flavor. This flavor doesn't ever overpower the juniper notes, however. Rather, it works hand in hand with the juniper to elevate a simple gin to something remarkable. These smooth flavors come at a price of $34.
Hand-crafted 500 liters at a time, it's a gin that's a labor of love. It relies on the usual gin botanicals such as orange peel, orris, and chamomile, to achieve that familiar gin flavor. But where it diverges, and beautifully so, is with its flavors of rose and cucumber. It's smooth, and toes the line of not too dry or sweet.
4. Plymouth Gin
Plymouth gin can only be produced at one distillery, making their recipe unable to be reproduced or copied anywhere else in the world. What this means is the distillers are masters of making this gin lighter with more citrus-forward notes than its London dry cousins. You'd think this would result in a staggering price tag, but it's only $32.
Having used the same botanicals since the mid-1900s, the original recipe has had only slight adjustments over the centuries. The resulting gin is smooth yet rich. It has cardamom and coriander on the nose, with juniper flavors mingling through all of it. The body is creamy yet citrus-bold in a way only gin can be, with a crisp and fresh finish.
5. Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Similar to other citrus-forward gins, what sets Tanqueray No. Ten apart is its small-batch creation and dry flavor in combination with its grapefruit notes, unlike sweeter gins with citrus flavors. And this is, in fact, your grandma's dry gin. This dry beauty will cost around $33, a small price for all that it offers.
It's a complex and puzzling flavor, that first sip always unexpected but familiar. The floral nose with the deep profile makes for a remarkable martini.
6. Hayman's London Dry Gin
An outstandingly dry gin, Hayman's London dry gin has used the same recipe and botanicals for over 150 years. Opting to source their ingredients from around the globe, they rely on 10 different botanicals in crafting and flavoring their gin. This global design only costs $27.
With flavors of juniper, lemon, and orange peel, as well as cassia bark, this gin has distinctive earthy notes that are impossibly refreshing with the faintest wisp of sweetness. Its dry finish isn't as harsh as others, as the blend allows the flavors to slowly slip away, leaving crisp, clear notes.
7. Boodles London Dry
A product of British wheat, Boodles London dry is made in a copper still. Both the approach and the recipe allow the botanicals to more slowly infuse themselves into the spirit. Unlike many other gins, Boodles skips the citrus flavor. The unique technique doesn't give it a high price tag, either, at just $23.
Instead, it turns to spices such as sage and rosemary to provide a signature flavor, a mellow herbaceous profile balancing out the juniper pine notes that make up any gin. These savory notes do well with olive brine in dirty martinis, allowing the salted flavors to work together rather than fight with overwhelming competing citrus notes. Skip the sweeter citrus gins and go for a savory sip instead.
Jumping for Gin Martinis
It can feel overwhelming, picking a gin for the best gin martini, but allow this guide to soothe your mind as much as that first sip of martini. Or, if you're an experienced gin drinker, take the chance to try out a new-to you-spirit. You never know what will await you in that new bottle.