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Best gin 2019

By Jade Harding

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Supermarket own-brand gins take on the big names. Find out which is top for your G&T.

Whether you’re someone who enjoys a G&T yourself, or are looking for a gin to wow guests, we’ve found a bottle to suit your budget.

For our expert tasting in the November 2018 edition of Which? magazine, we split the gins into two categories. The first focused on premium supermarket label gins and mainstream brands costing up to £20. The second looked at widely available branded gins costing around £20 to £26. 

Discover:

Best gins up to £20 

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the table below.

If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the best gin on test. To get instant access, join Which?.

Aldi Topaz Blue London Dry Gin
 Aldi Topaz Blue London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£14 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Aldi claims that its own-brand gin gets its unique taste from fruits that are 'distilled in limited batches for an earthy, spicy, fruit driven, full bodied taste'. We decided to try it for ourselves. 

How did this gin fare in our taste test? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Asda Extra Special Triple Distilled Premium Gin
 ASDA Extra Special Triple Distilled Premium Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£16 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Seven botanicals come together to create Asda's premium gin, which the supermarket suggests you pair with a slice of cucumber and a splash of tonic.

If you're tempted by this gin, don't part with your money before first checking our expert verdict. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Beefeater London Dry Gin
 Beefeater London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£16 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

As one of the world's best-selling gins, this bottle from Beefeater might be on your radar if you're preparing for a party. But check the results of our taste test before you reach for your wallet.

Was this one of the tastiest gins we tried? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

The Co-op Irresistable London Dry Gin
 Co-op Irresistible London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£17.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This bottle of gin from Co-op is blended with telicherry black pepper, lemon verbena, cardamom, cumin and rowanberry. It's described as the perfect tipple for a warm summer's evening, but does our tasting panel agree?

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Gordon's Special Dry London Gin
 Gordon's Special Dry London Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£16 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This gin from Gordon's is centred around juniper berries. It's distilled using a secret recipe, but were our experts impressed when it came to the taste test?

To see if you should pick out this gin on your next trip to the supermarket, log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Greenall's The Original London Dry Gin
 Greenall's The Original London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£14.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

A touch spicy on the tongue, Greenall's gin is comprised of eight botanicals that give the drink a 'classic' flavour. We took a sip to see how it compares to the other drinks in our table.

Discover how we scored this gin. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Lidl Hortus Original London Dry Gin
 Lidl's Hortus Original London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£16 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Lidl's own-brand gin makes up part of the supermarket's everyday range. Is this affordable option up to scratch?

Choose your next bottle of gin wisely with the help of our expert reviews. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

M&S London Gin
 M&S London Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£15 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This bottle of gin from M&S could be yours for around £15, but is it one of the most delicious options we tried?

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Sainsbury's London Dry Gin
 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Blackfriars Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£11.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

The Sainsbury's website suggests pairing this affordable bottle of gin with tonic and a twist of lime.

What flavours did we pick up on when it came to the tasting? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tanqueray Dry Gin
 Tanqueray Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£18 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Tanqueray Dry Gin is distilled four times and balances four botanicals. The brand promises 'aromatic angelica and sweet liquorice' with each sip, but did our tasting panel agree?

See if this gin is one of the best you can buy. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tesco Finest Aromatic Gin
 Tesco Finest Aromatic Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£17 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

You may spot this bottle of gin on your next trip to Tesco, but is it really one of the 'finest' around?

See how this gin scored in our taste test. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Best gins £20-26 

Bloom Premium London Dry Gin
 Bloom Premium London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Inspired by 'the true beauty of nature', this gin from Bloom is battling against its competitors for a spot in your drinks cabinet.

Should you part with £25 for a taste of Bloom Premium London Dry Gin? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Bombay Sapphire Distilled London Dry Gin
 Bombay Sapphire Distilled London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£21 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Crafted from a recipe dating back to 1761, Bombay Sapphire has plenty of history. Can it outperform pricier gins when it comes to taste, or are there better alternatives? 

Catch the thoughts of our taste test panel. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Bulldog London Dry Gin
 Bulldog London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£22 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Twelve botanicals join forces to give Bulldog gin its distinctive flavour, which the brand describes as 'nutty' with 'floral notes and an overriding freshness'.

Find out if this is the best gin in its price bracket. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Martin Miller's Dry Gin
 Martin Miller's Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£26 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This gin is one of the priciest bottles we've tested, so is the price justified?

To see if this is one of our highest-scoring gins on test, log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin
 Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£23 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin stands out from the crowd with spiciness and curried notes, but does that combination make for a pleasant taste?

We've scored this gin on its flavour. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Plymouth Gin
 Plymouth Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Plymouth gin is finished with a subtle spice that gives it a unique tone, but how will it pair with your tonic of choice? 

Our taste test panel has had its say. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sipsmith London Dry Gin
 Sipsmith London Dry Gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Hand crafted in the capital, Sipsmith London Dry Gin is made up of 'a classic ten botanical recipe'.

Does this gin top alternatives from Bombay Sapphire and Bulldog? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Whitley Neill London Dry Gin
 Whiteley Neill London Dry gin LO table Price (for 700ml) Tasting notes Overall score
£26 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

To see if this fruity and spicy gin is worth your hard-earned money, we put it in front of our expert tasting panel.

Does this gin come highly recommended? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

 

How to make the best gin and tonic 

1. Choose the best tonic

G&T gained popularity with the British in colonial India. They started mixing their tonic water – containing quinine to help ward off malaria – with gin to make it more palatable.

Tonic water has come a long way since then, and we asked our experts to blind taste test two popular premium Indian tonics: Fentimans and Fever-Tree. They roundly agreed that Fever-Tree was better – it was smoother, better rounded, more complex and more effervescent.

Fentimans was declared too acidic, overly citrusy and blunt, with the experts even expressing their surprise at discovering it was a ‘premium’ product. That said, they did agree that it could be a fine choice for jazzing up a dull gin.

We used Schweppes for our testing. Our panel agreed it’s a fine choice for everyday use, but an opened bottle will soon lose its fizz, so opt for cans.

2. Ice is a must

When it came to the ‘correct’ way to drink gin, there was only one factor that our panel unanimously agreed was a must: ice.

Bigger pieces of ice and more of them will melt slower and keep your drink cold and undiluted for longer. Your mixer of choice should be straight out of the fridge, too.

Unless you’re tasting gin neat, a room-temperature drink is a cardinal sin – your next G&T should be as cold as possible. Our panel even suggested storing your gin in the freezer for the ultimate chill.

3. Which glass?

Our experts suggest using a highball glass. A great all-rounder it can be used for either cocktails or simple gin and mixers. Its height means you can pack it full of ice to keep your drink cold, while the narrow opening is easy to garnish.

Balloon glasses – all the rage right now in bars, although not a favourite among our experts. You can pack loads of ice in, but its massive, top-heavy design makes it hard to hold without cupping the bowl, meaning your hand gets cold as your drink warms up. On the other hand, it’s easy to spectacularly garnish should you be making a fancy cocktail.

A coupette might look elegant but is just impractical when it comes to a gin and tonic – you can’t fit in all the ingredients. And a tumbler doesn’t allow enough space for ice.

4. Made to measure

Rather than eyeballing your next G&T, measure it out. Our expert panel recommended a ratio of three parts tonic water to one part gin. Use a miniature can for your mixer and it’s made easier for you – simply pour out the entire 150ml can over a standard double measure of gin (50ml).

5. How to garnish

If you’re going for the traditional lemon accompaniment always put a slice under the ice at the bottom of the glass or a peel on the top. Don’t squeeze it in.

Choose lime over lemon if you’re using a slimline mixer - its extra sharpness works well with the sweeter tonic.

And if you’re feeling fancy, try a little grapefruit. It’s an under-utilised citrus alternative that can add a real edge to your G&T. You don’t just have to go for a slice – some peel floating atop or run along the rim of the glass beforehand will give your drink a fragrant finish.

How we tested 

We brought in four of the UK’s most reputable gin experts to carry out the tasting for us. Every gin was tasted blind, first neat and then made into a gin and tonic; then scored on nose and aroma, taste and finish. 

We asked supermarkets to nominate good-quality own-brand or exclusive products. We asked for a standard gin (ie one that wasn’t from a premium or budget range). We also selected branded gins that were sold by most major supermarkets.

Each drink was tasted blind and rated by a panel of experts, who tasted the gins in a different order.

Gins were tested neat and as a gin and tonic - scores were weighted as follows:
Palate 50%
Nose/aroma 25%
Finish 25%

Our experts:

  • Ian Wisniewski, spirits writer and consultant
  • Neil Ridley, drinks writer, presenter and consultant
  • David T. Smith, writer, gin specialist and spirits judge
  • Ian Buxton, drinks consultant, commentator and author
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