Martinis remain one of the most iconic (and glamorous) cocktails of all time, typically consisting of gin, vermouth, and an olive or lemon peel as a garnish. Since the recipe is mixed with little else, a well-made martini is only as good as the gin it’s made with. Whether you’re ordering a martini or mixing it up at home, it doesn’t hurt to impress your bartender (or your guests) by knowing the top options for your drink of choice. Read on for five of the all-time best gins for martinis.
This Chicago-based distillery has never let us down, and for the world’s perfect martini, you’d be hard-pressed to find better gin than Few’s. In addition to the classic juniper, Few’s gin also carries hints of lemon peel and warm vanilla, making it one of the best gins for martinis year-round. While an olive won’t taste out of place, we recommend trying this one with a lemon twist.
At the end of the day, Hendrick’s is a gin that’s good for just about everything—from complex cocktails to simple gin and tonics. Martinis are no exception, and this Scottish gin is a favorite among seasoned cocktail lovers. Because it’s distilled in small batches, the gin yields an ultra-precise flavor that’s as balanced as it is distinctive. Hendrick’s is ideal for those who enjoy a more botanical profile—think notes of elderflower, fresh cucumber, and rose water.
The Botanist, another gin of Scottish origin, cultivates a wild, down-to-earth appeal that hinges on foraged botanicals from the island of Islay. Major tasting notes include cassia bark, coriander, orris root, and 18 other botanical ingredients.
St. George Terroir
Much like fine wine, the best gins have a knack for capturing the spirit (and flavor) of the place where they’re made. If you’re looking for a gin that tastes like the exact opposite of England or Scotland, St. George Terroir is for you. In fact, it tastes like pure California. Crafted in small batches near San Francisco, St. George conveys notes of coastal sage, bay laurel, and woodsy Douglas fir, making for a martini that’s both earthy and refreshing.
Four Pillars Navy Strength
On the off-chance that a classic martini isn’t strong enough for you, allow us to suggest Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin. This under-the-radar Australian distillery has become a darling of the craft cocktail set, with a strong following at spots like the Drop Bear Inn in Melbourne and Accomplice in L.A. Be advised: This gin clocks in at an ABV of 58.8% alcohol, making it not only one of the top gins for martinis but also one of the most heavy-hitting. But if you’re the type to go big or go home (you’ll definitely need to get a ride home), you’ll get to enjoy the gin’s fruity, spicy, and delectably fragrant flavor profile.
Ready to mix up another classic drink? Read on for the five best gins for a gin and tonic.