You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.
Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s a list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary state to state.
1. BROOKLYN ($42)
“Brooklyn is the gin for people who say they don’t like gin. Subdued juniper, with a ton of citrus on the palate and lavender on the nose.”—Michael J. Neff, bar director at Holiday Cocktail Lounge
2. FORDS ($28)
“Beyond versatile. This is arguably the most impactful modern gin to hit the market.”—Neal Bodenheimer, mixologist at and co-owner of Cure and owner of Cane & Table and Café Henri.
3. COPPERWORKS ($45)
“Copperworks is a very unique gin—incredibly balanced for a new world gin and distilled from beer on copper pot stills. These former brewers are making a really complex product. We use it in our Galaxy Gin & Tonic at No Anchor, because it starts its life as beer and we hop our tonic. Perfect bedmates, no?”—Chris Elford, bartender at Rob Roy and co-owner of No Anchor and soon-to-open Navy Strength
4.AUTOMATIC SEA ($34)
“Really interesting, unique and actually tasty gin from a tiny distillery in Oakland. Makes the most interesting Martini you’re likely to have.”—Morgan Schick, operations and creative manager at The Bon Vivants
5. MONKEY 47 ($45)
“I love the balance between the botanicals and the florals found in this gin. It can be expensive, but it makes a delightful drink.”—Gary Patrick Crunkleton, bartender at and owner of The Crunkleton
6. PLYMOUTH ($30)
“A solid, standard gin for great mixing in cocktails.”—Simon Ford, co-founder of The 86 Co.
7. SPIRIT WORKS NAVY STRENGTH ($36)
“Newly released just in time for the holidays and currently available only at the distillery, this beautiful gin gets a surprise pop of baking spice notes with the help of the higher proof. A must-have for any bar.”—Keli Rivers, bartender at The Devil’s Acre and Whitechapel
8. CARDINAL BARREL RESTED ($35)
“This aged gin is one of the best spirits I have ever had. The complexities of the gin with the flavors and textures that come from the aging process is stunning. I can’t think of a better gift.”—Bob Peters, head mixologist at The Punch Room in The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
9. CALYX 2015 EDITION ($47)
“Perfect harmony of 14 botanicals. A gin made by a winemaker. Clean, crisp and aromatic. This is a vintage gin that will change year to year. This is a must-have, a thing of beauty.”—Ramon Garcia, lead bartender at Alchemist Bar & Lounge
10. SIPSMITH LONDON DRY ($35)
“A great gin that can stand up to be in a Martini or balanced enough for a G&T. A great London dry gin that is rich in juniper yet balanced with citrus and a little floral.”—James Bolt, beverage director and host bartender at The Gin Joint
11. ST. GEORGE DRY RYE ($33)
“I love every single spirit St. George has ever bottled, but the dry rye gin is epicly delicious. Killer in Martinis, great on the rocks or with a splash of tonic, it has backbone that stands out in any preparation.”—Karin Stanley, co-owner of Dutch Kills and bartender at Little Branch and Suffolk Arms