As the resident hard alcohol expert here at Dudefest.com, I feel it is my moral obligation to tell you to put down that $6 handle of Barton's Gin. Stop it. That piss gives gin a bad name. The only reason you'd ever use that swill is to make a gin bucket (recipe coming soon) to get you and all your friends knee-buckling drunk.
Anyway, I have a plethora of gin drinking experience. My favorite beverage, "Gin and Tonic with Cucumber", is the drink I generally make with all of these delicious gins, but if your livers are as hardened and thirsty as mine, you can also use them to make martinis. Don't be fooled, the gin martini is the real martini. Vodka martinis are like Chicago style pizza, sure they have the same ingredients, but let's be honest, Chicago Pizza isn't pizza, it's a weird knock off of something delicious.
Now for the list. I've personally consumed all of these gins. This list doesn't include your usual Tanqueray (the old stand by) or Beefeater because they're common place and this article wouldn't be much too read if it were about them.
Blue Line Gin
This gin comes to us from Lake Placid Spirits Co. For those of you unfamiliar with the "blue line" it is the designator of the boundaries of the Adirondack Park. The distillers use a special pine filtering process that really makes this stand out as one of my favorite gins. The flavor is almost immediately present as the liquid lands on your tongue. The pine filtering gives the flavor palette a "colder" and more refreshing flavor as it hits the back of your throat. The taste is also sweet and light, so the aftertaste disappears quickly after you swallow. Blue Line is hand-crafted and bottled and is exceptionally hard to track down. Each bottle is also batch labeled. Last summer I had the pleasure of taking down a #2 batch. Delicious.
Cold River Gin
I picked up a bottle of this gin while I was skiing up at Sugarloaf. Cold River is a Maine distillery that uses potatoes grown in Maine to produce its gins and vodka instead of the normal grains that most companies use. This gin isn't too much of a standout. It has a more standard, biting flavor. I wouldn't go too far out of my way to buy this gin, but if you happen to find yourself in Maine, or more likely New Hampshire, pick up a bottle. Supporting the local economy will make you feel warm and cozy as you get drunk.
I know I said I wasn't going to include Tanqueray on this list. And I'm still right because I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill Tanq. Tanqueray 10 is their "top shelf" option. As I mentioned earlier, Tanqueray is my favorite type of "go-to" gin, so Tanqueray 10 is very close to me. In fact, I keep a bottle next to my bed because I don't do well with separation. The flavor is as smooth as silk. There is no "slapped in the face by a pine tree" type of feeling after you take a drink. The subtle fruity aroma teases the taste buds and makes this an exceptionally smooth and easy to drink gin. If you are looking for something delicious but not too adventurous, this is it. Also the bottle is pretty sleek, but handles of this are just absurd too try and make a drink out of. It also wins the "Most Likely to Be Used as a Dildo in a Pinch" award from us here at Dudefest.com.
Plymouth is one of the oldest gins that you can buy. It's English (duh) and is widely considered the standard for top shelf gins. It is somehow smoother than Tanqueray 10 and has a fruitier taste. The "fruit" probably comes from the citrus and coriander botanicals that are vibrant and immediately present in this gin. If you're trying to get someone to like gin, start them off with this one. They will wonder why people say they don't like gin after trying this bad boy.
Ahhhhhh Hendrick's. Hendrick's is delicious, it really is. It's made it Scotland and it has a secret. It is almost my favorite because along with the usual fruits and spices associated with gins it is also flavored with cucumber. This is the ultimate G & T with cuc maker. If you can spare throwing around a shit ton of cash for booze, this needs to be in your liquor store shopping cart.
My current favorite. Thank you [name redacted] for gifting it to me for Xmas. It has the smoothest flavor, with the most interesting balance of fruitiness and coolness out of all of the gins I've ever had. Also the bottle is pretty amazing. It is a work of art, as is the gin, so I'd suggest savoring this one. Don't get drunk and keep drinking it. Save it for your first few drinks of the day so you can appreciate it for as long as possible.
Now go out and spread the word about these delicious gins. And also G and T with cucumber. It is becoming a thing and I couldn't be happier.