10 to Try: Gins Spanning the Globe

With increasingly more countries exploring the gin category as a means to showcase the unique terroir of their regions, navigating the gin aisle in stores these days can be a bit daunting. For guidance on the best bottles to try from 10 different countries, we tapped David Kupchinsky, Los Angeles bar veteran and bar director of Bar Moruno. The Spanish restaurant stocks about 75 gins and is known for its one-of-a-kind gin cocktails. Here are Kupchinsky’s top bottle picks spanning the globe.


This Australian gin uses three cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and olive leaf tea from the Cobram Estate in Victoria, Australia, with botanicals such as rosemary, bay leaf, and lemon myrtle. “Although it is designed to be intentionally more savory than most gins, it still has the backbone of a London dry and can be used in most classic cocktails,” says Kupchinsky, who uses it in Bar Moruno’s “dirty” G&T called The ODB. $30.99, totalwine.com


“I’m not sure if it’s the Icelandic water that is used, but this gin really pops,” says Kupchinsky. Its base spirit is made from French wheat and column distilled seven times. And it features only six botanicals—juniper, coriander, angelica, citrus, cassia, and licorice. Kupchinsky recommends using this approachable gin in any classic cocktail that requires London Dry. “I would not hesitate to serve this to anyone who has been put off by the austerity of other classic London dry gins,” he adds. $30, flaskandfield.com


This gin, produced from a craft distillery in northern Italy, features 10 botanicals collected from the Dolomite Mountains. However, it spotlights only five of those (its name is Italian for “plus 5”): bergamot, sage, juniper, wormwood, and almond. “One taste and anyone can tell it’s definitely the fresh, full flavors of sage and bergamot that are the stars of the show,” Kupchinsky enthuses. “It’s just absolutely delicious and crushable.” $33.99, bassins.com

classic martini


Kupchinsky calls this award-winning expression of the Hakuto gin his favorite of all the Japanese gins he stocks at Bar Moruno. Although comprised of 13 Japanese botanicals—such as Japanese pear, cherry blossoms, yuzu, and green tea—with pronounced floral notes, it “does not taste like you are drinking perfume.” Its full, round flavor will shine in a martini or gin and tonic. $30.99, caskers.com


“One of the most unique and interesting gins I’ve ever had,” says Kupchinsky of this Mexican gin. Maestro mezcalero Gonzalo Martinez Sernas of Macurichos Mezcal creates it from agave left over from mezcal production, which is then distilled with local botanicals in a copper pot still. But it doesn’t come out tasting like botanical-infused mezcal “but rather a lush full-bodied gin with bright notes of roasted agave, tarragon, cilantro, and mint,” he says. $74.99, the-cellar-dor.mybigcommerce.com


“Outstanding and wonderfully unique.” Kupchinsky has nothing but effusive praise for this Norwegian gin, which boasts 20 botanicals (19 from Norway). He says it succeeds where other gins fail. “Where other producers might be tempted to put the fruit front and center resulting in something akin to a fruit-flavored Robitussin,” he explains, “Bareksten blends all these flavors together in a skillfully balanced and subtle way like a well-made and complex wine.” $39.97, wine.com


This Spanish gin is one of only two gins with its own Appellation of Origin. And its botanicals are a proprietary secret. Mahon is “bursting with lemon and juniper upfront and dissolving into a lingering woody, minty and peppery finish,” says Kupchinsky. But it also exhibits “enough salinity to make me feel like I’m floating on a sailboat in the Mediterranean.” $37.50, bittersandbottles.com


This is Kupchinsky’s favorite American gin, especially for a Martini. Comprised of Douglas fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, and coriander, it “tastes like you’re walking through the Redwood forests with just enough lemon peel to keep you refreshed and invigorated,” he says. $35, cask.com



Kupchinsky calls this 220-year-old London dry “the gold standard” and “the barometer by which I measure all other gins.” He suggests one not dismiss it simply because it doesn’t claim to be artisanal or hand-crafted. Even with only four botanicals, it can stand up to the newer gins that boast 20-plus botanicals. “There doesn’t exist a cocktail I’ve ever put it in that I didn’t say, ‘G*d d*mn! That’s so f’n good.’” He uses it in the bar’s house Negroni, a G&T, and their infamous Salmon (yes, salmon!) Martini. $22.99, bevmo.com


Sông Cái, the first gin distilled in Vietnam, is the result of a partnership with the Indigenous farmers and foragers of the country’s Northern Highlands, including the Red Dzao and Hmong communities. Combining 14 hand-foraged heirloom botanicals, such as black cardamom, green turmeric, and jungle pepper, “this gin perfectly balances spicy and floral, and heat-inducing peppers with cool-inducing herbs,” Kupchinsky says. Enjoy it in a Gimlet or a Tom Collins$35.99, mashandgrape.com

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