“The world of gin is constantly growing, and now you can find a gin with a flavor profile of just about anything,” says Tony Roehr, bar manager at Mabel’s Gone Fishing, a gin-focused bar in San Diego. That makes the range of possibilities for a Gin & Tonic, a template that is always expanding, even more vast.
So how do you know which gin is best for the G&T? To find out, we asked a handful of bartenders. Those surveyed shared common criteria: Many favored a London dry style, with a palate that’s able to shine through when mixed with tonic water. “I look for florality, astringency and citrus,” explains AJ Johnson, managing partner at Washington, D.C.’s Serenata and Zumo. While a juniper-forward profile was favored by many, in the two-part drink, “the tonic is providing the herbaceous qualities,” says Johnson, making those characteristics less of a consideration.
Beyond that, bartenders’ picks considered versatility, approachability and, especially on the higher end, a singular botanical makeup. Here are five gins to seek out.