Must-Try Modern Gins

Modern gin, also called “contemporary” or “New Western,” tends to put juniper on the back burner and incorporates unusual flavors to the party. Here are dozen picks we love and suggest you put on your radar.
Nov 04, 2018
  • 12
    4.15 out of 5 stars
    Glendalough, known for their whiskeys and poitín, entered the gin game in 2014 with seasonal gins, one for each season. Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin, launched in early 2017, brings all four seasons together. Their plan is for you to smell the spring, taste both the summer floral and autumnal fruits, and finish up the experience with spices reminding you of winter. A host of wild botanicals are foraged by Geraldine Kavanagh and they are used fresh, not dried in the distillation process. Note: Updated packaging beginning May 2023. (SRP $32.99)
  • 11
    4.03 out of 5 stars
    Spicy & Floral
    Tom's Town Botanical Gin is made in Kansas City using both vapor infusion and maceration to balance the 14 botanicals used in its creation. These botanicals include Kaffir lime, lemongrass, cubeb pepper, long pepper, allspice and clove. Tom's Town Distillery is named after Tom Pendergast, a political boss who controlled Kansas City during Prohibition. The art deco bottles harken this time. Note: Formerly known as McElroy's Corruption Gin. Updated name and packaging in 2018.
  • 10
    4.3 out of 5 stars
    Fruity & Herbal
    Nikka Coffey Gin uses a base of corn and malt distillate which were distilled in a Coffey Still as the name suggests. Japanese citrus such as yuzu, kabosu, amanatsu, and shikuwasa, along with sanshō pepper, and apples pair with traditional botanicals of juniper, angelica, coriander, and lemon peel in the production of this gin. Available in Japan beginning in late June 2017 with a wider release expected later that year.
  • 9
    3.6 out of 5 stars
    American Aviation Gin was released in 2006 as a collaborative product between Seattle bartender Ryan Magarian and House Spirits Distillery based in Portland, Oregon. Using a neutral grain spirit, seven different botanicals - juniper, elettaria cardamom, lavender, sarsaparilla, coriander, anise seed and dried sweet orange peel - are steeped and boiled with the spirit in a steel vat before being distilled again and bottled at 42% ABV. Note: As of February 2018, actor Ryan Reynolds is the proud owner of the gin brand.
  • 8
    4.23 out of 5 stars
    Spicy & Herbal
    St. George produces three distinct gins. Their Terroir Gin aims to highlight the forest and earthy flavors of the state of California. They do this by using a dozen botanicals including local California bay laurel, Douglas Fir and coastal sage, the latter two they distill individually. As for the others, the juniper and bay laurel get placed in a basket to be vapor-infused while the remaining botanicals are placed in the pot-still. This is sold at 45% ABV and is available in 750ml or 200ml sized bottles.
  • 7
    4.13 out of 5 stars
    The first gin released by Suntory, the name "Roku" is Japanese for "Six" which refers to the six Japanese botanicals used. Sakura flower (cherry blossoms), sakura leaf (cherry leaf), sencha tea (green tea), Gyokuro tea (refined green tea), sanshō pepper, and yuzu are utilized along with eight other traditional gin botanicals. The gin is distilled using a selection of different pot stills. The label is printed with Japanese washi paper. Roku Gin was released in Japan in July 2017, and is available in the UK, Germany, and Australia. As of October 2018, Roku is available in the US.
  • 6
    3.89 out of 5 stars
    Dry Fly Distilling sources the soft white winter wheat used for their vodka and gin from the family-owned Wisota Farm in Eastern Washington. Made in Spokane, their flagship gin includes botanicals grown locally: Washington Fuji apples, coriander, lavender, mint, hops, and juniper berries from Oregon. It is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 5
    4.42 out of 5 stars
    Herbal & Spicy
    Spring44 is quick to point out that 96 percent of the premium clear spirits consumed in the United States are imported. With Colorado’s premium water supply and bounty of botanicals they believe that they can compete favorably with the overseas brands. Even their beautiful Vendome copper pot/column still is manufactured in Kentucky. Most of the botanicals are certified organic and the Mountain Gin features some classics such as juniper, coriander, and orris root and some more contemporary gin favorites like kaffir lime leaf, peppermint, and basil.
  • 4
    4.12 out of 5 stars
    Fruity & Oily
    Bobby's Schiedam Dry Gin is an interpretation of creator Sebastiaan's grandfather, Bobby's homemade gin. Born in Indonesia, Bobby immigrated to the Netherlands in the 1950's, but longed for a spirit with the taste of home. So, he began infusing Dutch jenever with Indonesian herbs, thus creating his own gin. In 2012, Sebastiaan traveled to Holland to meet master distiller of Herman Jansen. Together, they created today's version of Bobby's recipe using Indonesian botanicals such as lemongrass, cloves, coriander, cubeb pepper and cinnamon.
  • 3
    4.42 out of 5 stars
    An abandoned cheese factory in Isokyrö, Finland has been home to the rye-obsessed Kyrö Distillery Company since 2014. While they waited for their rye whiskey to mature, they keep the stills busy producing new make spirit and rye-based gin like this one. Kyrö Gin (formerly known as Napue Gin) is made from rye grain and distilled with freshly-picked and locally sourced seabuckthorn, wild cranberries, birch leaves, and meadowsweet. The remaining 12 botanicals are undisclosed. It is bottled at 46.3% ABV.
  • 2
    4.32 out of 5 stars
    Floral & Herbal
    If you're not a Scotch whisky drinker, you very likely have never heard of a man named Jim McEwan. Jim spent 38 years with Bowmore and held every job there from apprentice cooper to Distillery Manager. In 2001, he left Bowmore to reopen Bruichladdich as their Master Distiller. Along with the dozens of single malt bottlings he created, he wanted to distill a gin that reflects his home of Islay, the island he loves. The Botanist is a gin comprised of 9 standard botanicals and an additional 22 that were hand-foraged from Islay itself--botanicals like apple mint, heather, red clover, and meadowsweet among many others. The gin is distilled over 17 hours in a Lomond Still (a hybrid column + pot still). It is bottled at 46% ABV.
  • 1
    4.59 out of 5 stars
    Fruity & Floral
    Hailing from Germany’s Black Forest, Monkey 47 is an exotic gin made with a molasses base. The 47 refers to the number of botanicals used which includes such unlikely fruit ingredients like lingonberries, blackberries, and honey pomelo. These are combined with a host of recognizable gin botanicals such as chamomile, sage, angelica, coriander, and a whole array of others. Another anomaly at Monkey 47 is that the distillate is aged in earthenware containers for three months before being brought to 47% ABV with the forest’s celebrated water.