How to choose the best gin for you: taste, price, sustainability, brand and design
How to choose the best gin - the perfect gin for you?
You need to work out which tastes you love best, what your budget is, your emotional response to gin brands, how seriously you take sustainability, and your reaction to the design of the bottle and label.
Even average pubs have 50+ types of gin to choose from. And they’re usually mainly from the big distillers. Include small distilleries like York Gin and there are literally thousands of gins to choose from, especially when you consider the different types of gin. London Dry, Old Tom, Navy Strength, Sloe and all the fruit, pink, flavoured and weird gins on the market.
The choice of gins today is huge. No wonder drinkers are confused and find it difficult to choose. This guide is designed to help you make sense of the market - and to simplify your decision-making process. Let's see if we can help you to choose your perfect gin.
Learn everything you can about gin
This depends on what you want to get out of your love of gin.
You could go to a gin tasting class. If you're in York, the York Gin Tasting Experience is a critically-acclaimed class. There's more info about it here. And there are gin tasting classes all over the country - give one a go.
This blog gives you the Four Stages of Gin Tasting which provides you with the basics of tasting gin - it will help you to get the most from any gin you want to taste.
If you take it seriously, concentrate on your tastebuds as you taste different gins and drink mindfully, you’ll really start to understand what you like and what you like less - and why.
There is also the issue of price. While the massive distillers take advantage of economies of scale (you’d be surprised how cheap bottles become if you order a million of them), smaller distilleries can’t compete on price. It's a hard fact of life that some gins are going to be just too expensive - especially as your go-to gin!
Quality and taste
Smaller distilleries can compete on their sustainability policies, their stories – and, importantly, on taste and overall quality. So if you’re visiting a new town, find out about the local gin distillery and find out if you can pop along either to have a look around or to join a formal tour. Check in the area where you live for distilleries. Go to food and drink markets. You can usually sample things before deciding to buy.
Sustainability & Responsbility
Lots of distilleries are taking their environmental impact more seriously than they have ever done before. If this is important to you, check up on individual gin makers' websites - see how far their bottles travel, do they use plastic, what are their recycling, re-use and composting policies? Do they use green energy, drive electric vehicles? Are they carbon neutral? Do they pay the Living Wage?
York Gin is a company that takes its duties to the environment and people very seriously. Full details are here
Experiment with minis and try local when you travel
You can also buy miniatures of many gins now, so you don’t have to risk buying a large bottle. In the York Gin shop, we always let customers try as many of our gins as they like. And they can buy 5cl minis of our bottles too. We are not alone - lots of distillers have seen the benefits of offering miniatures.
So have a try, experiment and always give the local a chance whenever you’re visiting somewhere new. You may well stumble upon new favourites.
Bottle and label design
We know that some people will buy their gin based on the design of the bottle and label. That’s life! There really is no shortage of beautifully-designed gin brands out there. We think we compete pretty well on the design front - as well as the quality of the spirit inside!