Our Favorite Gins for Refreshing Summer Cocktails

Maison Ferrand/Courtesy Citadelle

Try one of these bottles of gin this summer to make a refreshing hot weather cocktail.

Gin is the perfect summer spirit—it’s light, fragrant, refreshing, and infused with botanicals that bring to mind blooming flowers and floral herbs which thrive during the warmer months. There are plenty of different styles to choose from, including London dry, new American, and even barrel-finished gin made in just about every corner of the world. The thing that ties them all all together is juniper, the defining flavor of all gin.

Related: Where to Find the World’s Best Gin Drinks

So whether you are in the mood for a classic cocktail like a martini, gin and tonic, or gimlet, or looking to sip something neat or with a few cubes of ice, there is a gin to fit your mood. Here are 12 of our favorite gin brands to sip this summer.

No. 3 Gin

Courtesy No. 3 Gin

No. 3 Gin has been around for about a decade, but is relatively new here in the US. It’s distilled in Holland for London-based Berry Bros. & Rudd, along with the help of Dr. David Clutton, who happens to have a PhD in gin (if that doesn’t make him an expert, not sure what does). Only six botanicals are used, including grapefruit peel and coriander, which are steeped in the neutral grain spirit for at least 16 hours to give this London dry gin a simple but bright and classic flavor. $40

Rabbit Hole Bespoke Gin

Courtesy Rabbit Hole Distillery

Rabbit Hole’s Bespoke Gin was previously only available at the distillery, but is now launching nationwide with a new name and bottle design. It’s a London dry style gin made with angelica, licorice, and orris root that is aged in the distillery’s “Boxergrail” Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey barrels for nine to 12 months. This adds a layer of vanilla and oak to the floral and citrus flavors that underscore the spirit, making this a good sipping gin as well as an interesting cocktail component. $50

Luxardo London Dry Gin

Courtesy Luxardo

Luxardo may be best known for its delicious maraschino cherries that are such an important cocktail component, but the Italian company produces a variety of spirits as well. While many are infused with cherry flavor, the newest addition, Luxardo London Dry Gin, is not. Nine botanicals, including cinchona, cinnamon, and iris, are infused in the spirit for 24 hours before distillation in a copper pot still. It is then “refined” for 19 days prior to bottling, which essentially is a resting period that allows the flavors to marry and mellow before filtering. The result is a riff on a classic spirit, with fresh notes of herbal tea and pepper on the palate. $35

Stray Dog Wild Gin

Anthony Nader/52Chefs/Courtesy Stray Dog Gin

Gin can be distilled from nearly any grain or fruit. In the case of Stray Dog, molasses is used. This gin was inspired by a road trip through Greece, and is indeed distilled there in the northern town of Aridea. Wild botanicals from the countryside are used, including fennel seed, sage, rosemary, and a piney tree resin called mastiha, which all come together in a licorice and spice-forward spirit that has a creamy mouthfeel. A portion of the profits from this new gin will go to support a no-kill animal shelter in Greece called Save a Greek Stray. $39 

Bixby Gin

Courtesy Lloyd Distillery

Lloyd Distillery’s Trevor Peterson really wanted to focus on making a gin with aromatics that represented the area around Big Sur, California, just west of where the distillery is located. Elderflower and sage are matched with rosemary, juniper, and citrus to create a light and fragrant spirit that can be used in a variety of cocktails. The style here is dry gin, which Peterson calls “a floral and savory American style or New Western gin which channels the local inspiration of a hike along the ocean facing ridges of Big Sur.” $39

Highclere Castle Gin

Chris Van Howten/Courtesy Highclere Castle

The Downton Abbey craze may be behind us, but the spirit of the beloved show lives on in Highclere Castle Gin. The series and movie were filmed at Highclere Castle, a tourist destination in the English countryside. Now the castle has its own spirit, a London dry gin made using juniper grown on the grounds of the estate. Lime flower, orange and lavender are also used as botanicals, adding soft notes of flower and citrus to the piney undercurrent. The gin is distilled at Langley, a historic distillery that focuses on gin, and comes in a fetching, tall, purple-blue bottle. $40

Barr Hill Gin

Courtesy Caledonia Spirits

Barr Hill gin is made by Vermont’s Caledonia Spirits, and interestingly uses just one botanical to flavor the corn-based spirit: juniper. That’s at odds with many other brands, some of which use upwards of ten botanicals as flavoring agents. Instead, Barr Hill is finished with raw honey, which provides a veritable bouquet of botanical flavors from the myriad of wildflowers the bees have pollinated. $40

Roku Gin

Courtesy Beam Suntory

Japanese whisky has exploded in popularity over the past few years, but Japanese gin is a less familiar spirit category for many drinkers. Suntory, one of the biggest whisky producers in Japan, released Roku Gin a few years ago to great acclaim. The gin is made from neutral grain spirit that is infused with six distinctly Japanese botanicals harvested throughout the different seasons of the year (including sakura flower, yuzu peel, and sansho pepper), in addition to eight more traditional botanicals. $28

Copper & Kings The Ninth. A Symphony in Orange Gin

Courtesy Copper & Kings

Louisville’s Copper & Kings is an innovative brandy distillery that also happens to make some interesting gin as well. One of these is The Ninth, a gin distilled from apple wine in copper stills and finished in orange curaçao barrels. Crushed whole juniper berries, grains of paradise, and coriander are some of the botanicals used during the first distillation, with citrus added to the second. But the barrel finish is what really makes this non-chill filtered spirit pop with orange. Sip this one in a highball all summer long. $35 

Old Grove Gin

Courtesy Cutwater Spirits

San Diego’s Cutwater Spirits has a wide range of canned cocktails available, some of which are made with the distillery’s Old Grove Gin. Juniper, rose, and local coriander are used to flavor this spirit, which was the first spirit released by Cutwater back in 2016. Overall, this is a good example of new American gin that balances the juniper base with a variety of other fragrant botanicals. $30

Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin

Courtesy Waterloo

Waterloo Gin is made by Treaty Oak Distilling in Texas, which also sources and distills whiskey. Old Yaupon, one of three gins made there, is the distillery’s take on an Old Tom gin. The name comes from the yaupon holly which is used as a botanical, along with makrut lime, orris root, and of course juniper. This is a slightly sweet and altogether floral spirit that you can easily sip on its own. $25

Citadelle Gin

Maison Ferrand/Courtesy Citadelle

This French gin is part of the Maison Ferrand cognac house. Citadelle Gin is distilled from wheat, and flavored with 19 botanicals (including juniper, star anise, and violet) using the distillery’s patented “progressive infusion.” This means each botanical is infused separately in the distillate for different amounts of time and varying proofs, allowing each to properly infuse the spirit with its essence. The result is a lovely, fresh gin with a bit of spice, fresh herbal notes, and of course a recognizable juniper base. $25