If you haven’t started doing it yet, now is the time to begin stocking up on bottles of booze for the holiday season. And while we suggest having various types of liquor on hand at all times for mixing and sipping, you can’t go wrong with a well-made flavored gin. Whether you use it as the base for a holiday punch or mix it into a refreshing gimlet or gin & tonic, the holidays are the perfect time for piney, herbal, botanical, and flavored gins.
And while you might shrug at the thought of flavored alcohol, gin is a spirit that can benefit from an added flavor or two (and basically all gin is infused/ flavored on some level). Moreover, the aroma and flavor of juniper and the various herbs and botanicals can be heightened (in a good way) by the addition of floral, citrus, and other complementary flavors.
Obviously, as with any spirit (and flavored spirits in general), not all flavored gins are worth your time. Some are overpowered by the additional flavor (or flavors), making them an unappealing mess. Luckily, the professionals that bide their time behind bars from Santa Monica to St. Petersburg have agreed to help. We asked a handful of well-known bartenders and mixologists to tell us the best flavored gins to mix with this holiday season — keep scrolling to see all of their seasonal selections.
Citadelle Jardin d’Été Gin
Nick Jackson, head bartender at The Rum House in New York City
Average Price: $28
Citadelle Jardin d’Été is a new flavored gin that captures the fresh, brightness of a French summer garden. This gin is amazing for a martini with a twist or served simply with a tonic. It’s a great choice for the holiday season.
It is infused with twenty-two fruits and aromatics, led by upfront flavors of fresh lemon, yuzu zest, and melon, followed by a hint of baking spices to round out the light citrus and pine aromas.
Malfy Con Arancia Gin
Alex Fitzgerald, beverage director at Paseo in Louisville
Average Price: $30
My favorite flavored gin is the Italian blood orange expression from Malfy spirits, the Arancia Gin. I love to use this gin in a bitter context or as a sweet complement to a blanc martini.
It offers a lovely sweetness and a full body. Unlike other citrus gins, the Malfy Arancia has a richness and depth that creates a lot of complexity in a cocktail.
Tattersall Rosso Gin
Kevin Tester, beverage manager at Momento in St. Paul, Minnesota
Average Price: $27
Tattersall Rosso Gin is a great pick for the holidays. Typical Gin botanicals distilled with rose petals, then rested on strawberries and raspberries make for an exceptional mixing and sipping gin.
Bright juniper and citrus with hints of summer fruit and a touch of honey are delicious on the rocks. In a cocktail, it just adds another layer to any great gin cocktail you might want to enjoy.
Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin
John Cassanos, director of food and beverage at The Outsider in Milwaukee
Average Price: $22
I think Tanqueray Sevilla Orange might have been my first ‘flavored’ gin. For a long time, I considered myself a gin purist and I lumped flavored gins into the whole crazy-flavored vodka nonsense that was popular for a minute (birthday cake vodka anyone?).
But Sevilla Orange was a revelation. On the rocks or with a splash of soda or tonic (which plays up the slight bitter-sweet flavors of the orange). It transports me to a sunny place every time. No matter the weather.
Hendrick’s Lunar Gin
Daniele Flumiani, restaurant manager at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami
Average Price: $45
In my opinion, gins are already packed with so much flavor that I don’t see the necessity to add additional flavor to most of them. If I had to choose one, I would go with Hendrick’s Lunar.
The additional night-scented flowers and exotic fruit are well-balanced with the traditional botanical flavors. It’s a good sipping gin that’s a great choice for the holiday season.
Porter’s Old Tom Tropical Gin
Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago
Average Price: $34
Porter’s Old Tom Tropical Gin is from a small distillery that uses vacuum distilling at low temperatures, which gives the botanicals a fresh zip. Try it in a modified Chi Chi and you’ll be in heaven.
The tropical flavor comes from mangos, passionfruit, and guava. It works great with tropical drinks with lime and pineapple.
Sipsmith Strawberry Smash Gin
Jazz Craft, beverage director at Proxi in Chicago
Average Price: $32
While I’m not a huge fan of flavored gin, my favorite would have to be Sipsmith Strawberry Smash. It’s a beautiful fruit-forward gin that still maintains its Juniper-forward identity. One of the few flavored gins that works both in cocktails and as a sipper.
Juniper, mint, and citrus peels are heightened by the addition of real strawberries. It will add freshness to any holiday cocktail.
Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin
Michael Challenger, head bartender at Nautilus Sonesta in Miami
Average Price: $40
Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin is a favorite flavored gin for some. It features floral and fruity notes, including hints of orange blossom and juniper. The unique flavor profile sets it apart and makes it enjoyable in a variety of gin-based cocktails.
This extremely floral and cucumber-driven gin is well-suited as a base for your favorite holiday drinks. It’s so fresh and floral, it will bring new energy to every cocktail.
Bayab African Rose Gin
Keith Meicher, beverage director at Sepia in Chicago
Average Price: $40
My favorite flavored gin at the moment is Bayab African Rose Gin. Floral leaning gins can often be a distractingly dominant flavor in a cocktail, but Bayab mixes in a subtly complex way that’s very interesting for gin lovers. Works equally well in a gimlet as it does in a negroni.
Made with baobab fruit, African rose petals, and grapefruit, it’s a touch sweeter and more floral than most gins, but not overwhelmingly so.
Malfy Rosa Gin
Mark Gallagher, bartender at Talbott Cucina in Chicago
Average Price: $30
Malfy Rosa. I’m more partial to infusing gin on site, but pink grapefruit and Italian lemons speak to Italian terroir and Malfy is reliably good quality.
Unlike some faddish flavors currently added to gin, citrus has traditionally been paired with juniper, and like the grapefruit in Tanqueray Ten, the grapefruit here lifts the anise and juniper notes and the lemon provides a pleasing astringency.