The Best Gins and Vodkas of 2021

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Gin and vodka can both be distilled from a range of base ingredients, including potato, rice, corn or wheat, all which impart slight differences in the texture and flavor of the final product. For gin, countless iterations of botanicals can be a part of each distillery’s proprietary recipe, resulting in truly unique offerings. While non-flavored vodka is prized for its neutral, smooth palate, the best-flavored versions take on the pure character of a fruit, citrus or vegetable.

These two spirit categories are among the most utilized in cocktails. They can be the star of spirit-forward drinks like a Negroni and balance fruity cocktails like a Cosmopolitan or Gin Fizz. Both can be used in a Bloody Mary, the brunch classic with several iterations.

When you need to stock your bar, these are the best gins and vodkas from our Top 100 Spirits list this year.

Four Distillers Using Science to Build Better Spirits

Gin

135 East Hyōgo Dry Gin; $30. A lemongrass aroma leads into a lightly sweet, faintly herbaceous palate... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW 

Gentilly Gin; $34. Zingy, savory aromas include green olive and dried oregano... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Lifited Spirits Bold Gin; $35. Sprightly juniper leads this London dry-style gin on nose and palate, followed by licorice... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Listoke 1777 Irish Gin; $39. Comforting gingerbread-like aromas channel allspice, anise and a hint of molasses... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Nolet’s Silver Gin; $49. Look for a pale straw hue and floral aromas intertwined with a hint of fruity sweetness... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

North Oak Barrel Rested Gin; $42. Expect a honey hue with bold vanilla and allspice aromas... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

North Shore Gin No. 6; $30. This craft gin was reformulated in 2020. It’s still spicy, citrusy and bright... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Ranch Road Barrel Gin; $20/375 ml. Look for a burnished gold hue and citrus and butterscotch aromas... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie; $40. The bottle is tinted blush pink, but the liquid inside is crystal clear. Grapefruit peel and juniper lead the nose... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Telluride Gin; $35. Mild citrusy aromas lead into a light, spiced palate... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

The Aimsir Distilling Co. Aitil House Gin; $35. Aitil means juniper in Gaelic. Look for a slightly vegetal aroma, with a hint of star anise... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Cocktail of the Month: Wealthy Missionary

Vodka 

Airem Organic Vodka; $36. Light, crisp and complex, this is an ideal vodka to mix into Bloody Marys... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Beluga Gold Line Vodka; $100. For those seeking absolute neutrality in a vodka, this comes as close as you can get... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Belvedere Heritage 176 Vodka Mixed with Malted Rye Spirit; $40. Technically this is classified as a “spirit drink,” but it drinks like an excellent vodka... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Gold Apricot Vodka; $32. Look for a golden hue and an aroma that’s like inhaling a bag of dried apricots... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW  

Good Liquorworks Vodka; $30. A sustainable-minded newcomer designed to reduce waste and support farms, this vodka is distilled from discarded coffee fruit sourced in Colombia... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Kastra Elion Vodka; $57. A mix of Greek olives and grains are distilled into this smooth, slightly buttery vodka... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Live Proud Vodka; $25. Distilled from corn, this vodka has a neutral aroma and relatively sweet palate... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Prairie Organic Cucumber Flavored Vodka; $20. This vodka smells like cucumber and tomato water, making it both bold and savory on the nose... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Purity Vodka Connoisseur 51 Reserve Organic; $32. What sets this vodka apart is the markedly light, almost frothy texture... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Supergay Craft Vodka; $29. A percentage of profits from this “farm to disco” vodka benefits LGBTQ+ organizations... SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW  

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Published on December 20, 2021
Topics: Buying Guide