When I was wee drunk, my preferred mixed drink was a gin and tonic. Bracing and refreshing, I spent much of my early 20s buzzed on cheap gin and tonics bought at my favorite New York dive bars. (Hey, a man can't get drunk on beer alone!) By and large, I didn't give a darn about the gin I drank. If it was cheap and cold I was a happy camper. For me, gin was gin. Not any more. Producers have finally embraced gin's dizzying array of botanicals and are now experimenting with new techniques and ingredients to make their spirits stand out from the pack.
I've seen dozens of new gins come to fruition since 2012, but it's hard to know which ones merit a taste. For Details, I orchestrated a taste test (tough work, I know) of some of the newest gins to hit the shelves. I assembled a panel of 10 judges and we sampled the spirits both straight and mixed (with seltzer or tonic) and distilled the results down to these stand-outs. Check out my story here. Want the crib sheet? Buy anything and everything from Chicago's Letherebee.