The 3 Best New Gins to Try Right Now

The 3 Best New Gins to Try Right Now

I’m a devoted Scotch drinker. But lately I’ve gone over to the light side—now that I’m in a serious gin phase. It seems that I’ve finally found a real appreciation for the spirit that happens to be the backbone of many classic cocktails—including the martini, negroni, and of course the stalwart gin and tonic.

There are obviously plenty of quality London dry gins out there, the style that most people know—Tanqueray No. 10, Bombay Sapphire, Boodles—which is why artisan distillers have been experimenting with their methods, proving that there’s so much more to gin than meets the gimlet eye.

Here are three standout gins every enthusiast has to try now.

When I first met Cameron Mackenzie—one of the three cofounders at Australia-based Four Pillars—it was clear to me that I was not about to have a dull conversation about “traditional” gin distilling. Four Pillars, after all, is known for its innovative spirits. Among its offerings: the Spiced Negroni Gin, Australian Christmas Gin, Modern Australian Gin, the Bloody Shiraz Gin, and Cousin Vera’s Gin. It also carries Rare Dry Gin and Navy Strength Gin—but it’s the Four Pillars’ Barrel Aged Gin that stands out because it delivers a depth of flavor that most gins don’t have. Mackenzie credits all of this to using botanicals that are native to Australia, something that he was determined to do from the get-go—to phenomenal results. NB: It’s slated to be available in the U.S. market this winter.

four pillars

Jake Sawabini and Meg (his wonderfully supportive wife) started Empire Spirits Project with one goal in mind: to “harmonize” the flavor of juniper with other botanicals and create extraordinary flavor profiles. And they’ve succeeded: The three bottles in the ESP portfolio are stellar. But it’s the smoked gin that stands out. Why? Because for a spirit that’s essentially made for cocktails, this one is something you would actually want to drink neat. “When we developed the gins we wanted to create spirits that brought modern flavors to the category,” Meg Sawabini says. “We made them for use in cocktails and have been so honored when people tell us they like them neat. We feel like that’s a huge compliment.” And when asked about how this eureka moment came about, we can thank Jake’s culinary background for that. “Working in Michelin-starred kitchen trains your palate. I tasted Sichuan peppercorns for the first time at Le Bernardin and knew I would use them in the future,” Sawabini explains. “When I was playing with the Smoked recipe there was something missing. I was in the dry storage at WD-50 and there it was: the Sichuan peppercorns. The idea just clicked. Smoke and spice!”


First things first: Malfy, which is light in flavor and intensity, does not taste like traditional gin—intentionally so. It’s the first Italian gin to make its way to the U.S. and it intends to taste like summer all year long. (Perfect for those of us who are still in denial about the cold.) The distillers—Dennis Muni and Beppe Ronco—use an Italian vacuum pot still. And a mix of Amalfi Coast and Sicilian lemon peels are steeped in alcohol before going into a traditional basket press. The essence of the extract is then distilled with juniper, coriander, cassia, licorice, grapefruit peel, and orange peel. The finished product is perfectly light and is reminiscent of summer. And if you want to use it in your G&T, use a lemon wedge instead of a lime.

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