With the recent resurgence in popularity of the spirit, there are endless types of gin to explore, but we couldn’t create our list of best gin in the world without focusing on the special spirits that are made right here on our shores. With that in mind, our handpicked selection of gin brands are all Irish gins. This USP means not only are they a great way to support local businesses, but they also happily make lovely gifts for out-of-towners.
Below we’ve given you tasting notes and serving suggestions for each of our gin reviews so that as soon as you have one of these bottles in your paws you can get cracking on making the perfect drink. The best gins are a diverse bunch, with something for everyone on the market. Classic dry gins now sit alongside fruity alternatives on shop shelves, while if you’re after something completely different there are all kinds of weird and wonderful flavours to try. We’ve tried to include a good breadth of styles, something for every occasion you could argue.
The obvious way to enjoy each of these different types of gin is to serve them in a good old-fashioned G&T. With this classic serve make sure to buy the best possible quality tonic, it makes up two thirds of the drink after all. Our favourite combination is a fresh Irish gin like Wild Atlantic – which is made with sea kelp and other ocean-grown botanicals – served over plenty of ice with crisp tonic and a sprig of rosemary for a herbaceous finish: heaven.
If you’re being so kind as to gift a bottle of the best gin Ireland’s makers have to offer then why not go the whole hog and package it up in a hamper alongside mini bottles of various tonics (our favourite is Fever Tree), some nice glasses and a few different garnishes like grapefruit, cucumber and basil.
Ha’penny Irish Gin
Why: Named after the iconic Ha’penny bridge in Dublin, this gin has a team of enthusiasts behind it who have taken care and attention to make a clean, crisp and very drinkable spirit. The original is our tipple of choice, but for the more adventurous drinkers there’s also a rhubarb edition in a pretty pink colour. Botanicals here include citrus peel, coriander and liquorice bark for a bright, heady drink that pairs perfectly with lemon and mint for a refreshing summer G&T.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €35.81
Old Carrick Mill Gin
Why: Old Carrick Mill is an artisan distillery based in Carrickmacross in County Monaghan. This position on the Ancient east coast of Ireland means the freshest water supply from a nearby spring is used in the distilling process, which gives a crystal-clear finish and flavour. Ten botanicals are used to create the unique fresh and smooth flavour, with pear, cucumber and black tea the main taste profiles. Try mixing this fruity Irish gin with elderflower tonic, fresh raspberries and mint leaves in a balloon gin glass.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €36.11
Boatyard Double Gin
Why: Lovers of storytelling will appreciate the Boatyard Distillery’s narrative of farm-to-bottle production which puts organic sourcing at the heart of everything the team does, for a decidedly wholesome touch. Founder, Joe McGirr, has previous experience in the spirts and whisky markets and has used his knowledge to build the first (legal!) distillery in Fermanagh in 130 years. The resulting double-distilled gin is smooth with floral sweetness and a heavy juniper twist for a flavour profile that will appeal to traditionalists. If you like your spirits neat, this is the perfect sipping gin, but also makes a delightful gin and tonic or the perfect base for a bittersweet Negroni.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €36.67
Mór Irish Gin
Why: This Irish gin is bursting with fresh fruity flavours from hints of blackberry, cranberry and raspberry which sit companionly alongside the traditional notes of juniper. Made in Co. Offlay, this gin brands itself as ‘bold and innovative’ and is the work of Eoin Bara who comes from good spirit stock; his grandfather was a master distiller of Irish whiskey before him. Serve in a tall glass over ice with classic tonic and a few pink peppercorns for a classy twist on a classic.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €35.60
Beara Ocean gin
Why: Beara is made on the shores of the wild Atlantic, and as such is crafted from local ingredients like Irish sugar kelp and seawater from the nearby shores. The required juniper is infused throughout the spirit along with angelica, cardamom, orris root and zesty citrus peels for a uniquely spiced blend. Additionally, there is a pink version, in which rosewater and cranberry is added to the mix. Try this heady gin in a tom Collins, shaken up with lemon juice and sugar syrup before being topped with soda water.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €38.98
Why: As Ireland’s most awarded gin, we think this is easily one of the best gins in the world. Passion, the makers say, is key to the results and with each sip you get a whole host of complex nuances across the flavour profiles. Brought to life in copper stills, this gin is packed with locally foraged finds like clover, elderberries and apples. Water drawn from the estate is used as well as a mix of spices, from coriander to cassia, with every bottle being hand dipped in a wax seal for a final skilful flourish. Serve this lively gin in an Elderflower Collins, along with elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup, soda water and fresh mint – the perfect summer’s day cooler.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €44.46
Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
Why: If you’re after a truly bespoke, small-batch gin then we’d point you in the direction of Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin. This delicately scented drink is made with ingredients foraged from the surrounding Wicklow Mountains, where care is taken to act sustainably, so that no obvious trace of the foraging is felt in the countryside. Within hours the hand-gathered plants are distilled into new batches of booze and this regular, repetitive process that relies on mother nature, ensures no two batces ever taste identical. Expect notes of heater, pine and rose, which pair perfectly in a G&T.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €37.69
Silver Spear gin
Why: This refreshingly smooth gin makes the perfect base for a fruity gin and tonic garnished with fresh lime and sliced strawberries. The distillery itself is nestled in the foothills of Mount Leinster by the grand Ballydarton House. This atmospheric setting is where the owners took 14 months to develop the unique recipe which marries 14 different botanicals. Expect a good hit of citrus along with more leafy notes like coriander.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €46.84
Drumshambo Gunpowder Irish Gin
Why: Despite this drink’s Irish credentials, its distillers haven’t shied away from international influences. The combination of ingredients like star anise from China and orris root from Morocco give this Irish gin a distinctly heady flavour that is rounded off with citrus notes from lemon, grapefruit and kaffir lime. Drumshambo’s signature serve is a generous glug of the spirit over ice, topped up with chilled tonic and a thick wedge of grapefruit.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €35.43
Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin
Why: This playfully named brand started out looking to make one of the best gins Ireland had ever seen, but the research began miles from their hometown of Co. Cork. The founders trotted off to London to be inspired by the existing gin scene in the UK’s capital city. Having gathered all they needed down south they headed home to put into practice what they’d learned and the results are a whey-based drink which helps minimise waste from the local dairy farms and imparts a uniquely soft, smooth finish to the gin. Warmth comes from cardamom and cumin, while sweet orange lifts things on the palate. Serve simply with a splash of water for a digestif.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €39.85
Dingle Original Gin
Why: Here’s one – the makers say – that you have to try for yourself. Of course, they would say that, but we’d also encourage you to give it a whirl thanks to its award-winning credentials. Dingle Original Gin scooped the 2019 title of World’s Best London Dry Gin and the World’s Best Gin overall at the World Gin Awards. The flavours of the Kerry landscape where this Irish gin is distilled can be tasted in the hints of bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather. Additionally, there’s a distinctly floral feel to give light relief to the warmer, earthier tones of herbs and spices. Serve topped up with good quality tonic, a nice slice of orange and a sprinkling of juniper berries.
Buy it: masterofmalt.com, €36.79
Wild Atlantic gin
Why: As one of the most recent distilleries in Ireland to throw open its doors, Wild Atlantic have managed to carve themselves out a big reputation in a relatively short space of time. Made on the outskirts of Aghyaran, this gin brands itself as spectacularly wild. Botanicals are sourced directly from the waters nearby, giving the drink a light saline quality that ensures it is extra drinkable. Serve in a gin and tonic, garnished with lemon peel for a little extra bitterness.
Buy it: celticwhiskeyshop.com, €45.00
The Muff Liquor Company Potato Gin
Why: This award-winning premium Irish gin is six times distilled for an incredibly pure flavour that lends itself well to straight sipping and simple serves. In a nod to its home country, this gin is made – as the name suggests – with four varieties of the humble spud. Once the potato-based alcohol is created it’s then distilled with botanicals such as mandarin, rosemary, elderflower and even a little Champagne, which gives it a distinct and individual taste that we haven’t found elsewhere. The careful combination of such ingredients contributed to it being crowned a Gold Medal Winner at the World Gin Master awards in 2018.
Buy it: shop.themuffliquorcompany.com, €40.85
Blackwater No 5 Gin
Why: Blackwater gin has a USP in that all the botanicals used in the recipe were available back in the 19th century when this spirit found its first surge in popularity. Locally sourced where possible, the flavourings enhance this unique spirit to give it a dry, bright flavour packed with spice and zesty sharpness. The perfect serve using this Irish gin brand is a simple G&T, in our opinion, garnished with juicy fresh lime.
Buy it: blackwaterdistillery.ie, €32.00
If you fancy someone else pouring your drinks why not check out our guide to the best bottomless brunches in Dublin.