There is no doubt that you want the best gin for your Martinis, but sometimes one of the pricier brands doesn't fit into the budget. Instead, you find yourself looking down to the bottom of the liquor shelf for a bottle that's a little more reasonable.
It can be tricky to find a good tasting gin that is also cheap. There are quite a few duds out there that will let you down, but there are some affordable gems, too.
Are they Martini worthy? Not really. Keep these gins in your well for mixed... drinks and cocktails that are heavy on mixers like bold fruit juices. They are good, but not the best so it's best to let another ingredient take center stage.
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Gordon's London Dry Gin
Gordon's is a go-to value gin. It is available in every liquor store and supermarket and it makes some excellent mixed drinks.
It has a strong juniper base and the essence of a variety of other botanicals that mix well with almost anything. The average gin highball like the Gin Sling or Gin Rickey are great for this rather clean and inexpensive gin.
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Seagram's Extra Dry Gin
Seagram's produces a good gin for the price. It doesn't have the full flavor of Gordon's but still contains a juniper profile that is pleasant.
For a little more, you can also pick up Seagram's Distillers Reserve, which has greater complexity. They also bottle flavored gins, including apple, grape, lime, melon, orange, peach, pineapple and red berry (raspberry and strawberry). These are fun to play with, but not the best (especially grape - ack!).
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Burnett's London Dry Gin
Burnett's London Dry is a sweeter gin with lighter, airier herbal notes. It has a nice taste that balances out the pine and citrus and it has an intriguing floral aspect.
This is a great budget-friendly gin for a Gin & Tonic. Burnett's is also great for fruit and citrus-forward cocktails. Among those that I've enjoyed it in are La Habana, English Rose, and Orange Blossom. Burnett's is 40% ABV (80 proof).
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Some of the gins in this list have been around for centuries. Released in 2007, New Amsterdam Straight Gin is, by comparison, the new kid on the cheap gin block and it is impressive.
This one has sweeter citrus and floral notes and can be seen as a gin that vodka lovers will enjoy. It's a fantastic introduction to the lower end of gin, especially if you don't like that pine flavor of juniper berries.
New Amsterdam's profile makes it a good candidate for some of the fruity mixed drinks like the Salty Dog. It's also pleasant in a Clover Club Cocktail and you have to try some of the brand's modern cocktails. A personal favorite is the strawberry-basil Union Square. New Amsterdam is 40% ABV (80 proof).Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Booth's London Dry Gin
Booth's London Dry can be found in most markets and is a surprisingly nice gin. It has the gin characteristics we often see in this price range, with full juniper in the front followed by coriander, lemon peel and a number of other spices.
It may not be the best known, but it beats many of the other low-priced gins, hands down! Give this one a try in any of the gin and soda drinks already mentioned. It really is best in a tall, refreshing highball.
You can have fun with Booth's. It makes an excellent base for drinks like the Orange Oasis, Charmides and Long Island Iced Tea or in those rare frozen gin cocktails like the Wedding Cake. Booth's is 45% ABV (90 proof).