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The world of clear spirits wasn’t always dominated by vodka and tequila. During the golden age of cocktails in the 1800s, gin was on top. “It’s by far the most popular classic cocktail base,” says Matt Belanger, the bar manager at Death & Co.’s Los Angeles location. “Gin shows up rather conspicuously in classic cocktail menus.”
Whether you prefer pre-prohibition classics like the Martinez or modern favorites like the cosmonaut, gin is best enjoyed in a cocktail. “Gin is fun to work with because of all the botanicals,” says cocktail expert and educator Anders Erickson. “There are just so many flavors to explore.”
We enlisted the help of expert mixologists, Erickson and Belanger, to tell us about their favorite gins. Then, we mixed up a few negronis ourselves to help figure out which gins you need behind your home bar.