Top 10s

Top 10s

Top 10 Tonic Waters

Navy Strength Gin and Tonic

Since our last update in 2012, we’ve reviewed a  lot more Tonic waters and syrups. Being one of our most popular features (ever) written, we felt it time to update based on several years of additional research. As always, you can check out our entire tonic review archive and search for your personal favorites.

A couple of quick considerations and notes: The list does not correspond directly with our star ratings (though there are many highly rated tonics on here). It instead looks at a tonic and how well it works in a wide range of G&T’s. It’s a guideline for what might be the most versatile, general recommendation. For those looking for something more specific, there are lots of excellent tonics that don’t appear here, even though we love them.

Also, tonic waters and syrups appear side by side on this year’s list, though we may break them out in the future. I’m curious to hear what you think, do you consider tonic waters and syrups side by side? Or are they their own thing? Let me know in the comments. Without further ado, here’s your top 10 for 2015.

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Top 10s

Top 15 Tracks of 2013

afterlife video screenshot

This is the annual week of the year between Christmas and New Year’s where I pretend I’m a music critic. Sit back, enjoy some tunes and we’ll be back with gin reviews in the new year:

The full playlist is included in Spotify below:

 

# Title —

15 Tegan and Sara – Closer I have a soft spot for upbeat pop that makes me feel like I’m in college again. Tegan & Sara have been trading on that feeling since I’ve been in college. There’s nothing sophisticated about a catchy over-the-top pop song, nor this remarkably shallow song that amounts a call to action. No, no, not political. Thing more of a Pony Up! call to action.

14 I break Horses – Denial Last year at this time I was absolutely in love with this small band called Chvrches, and their album which was over a year away was the thing I was most excited about in music. In 2014, I Break Horses’ next album is the thing which I’m most excited about. Both of their ’13 singles were excellent, but Denial is my favorite. Synth led, with the same sampled vocals that I so fell in love with The Mother We Share, but here bask in a darker tone that seems to exist some place between dancing in a dimly lit nightclub and synths for summer days and twee synth pop.

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Top 10s

Top 5 Music Videos of 2013

Video-GESAFFELSTEIN-PURSUIT

Every year for a few days, I fantasize that I’m a music writer. So while you’re hopefully enjoying the interlude between the New Year and the holiday season proper- maybe sitting back sipping on a gin, indulge me, albeit briefly: my favorite music videos of the past 12 months.

5 David Bowie – The Stars are out tonight I have a lot of love for Floria Sigisimondi’s work, and this video shows how she’s seamlessly been able to blend her penchant for haunting image with storytelling, all in a short 5 minute video. 4 Arcade Fire – Afterlife One brilliant and poignant song, three meditations on the theme. Emily Kai Block’s official video is masterful and devastating. The lyric video plays with the same heavy themes but in a more playful and hopeful manner; the youtube video live performance is the “break up” answer to Bjork’s “It’s Oh so Quiet.” Each of these videos touched me, and I attribute it to the masterful song behind them. But truly interesting to me about this is how the same theme in the hands of three different directors can be so radically different in feel and approach- and yet somehow ring true.

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Top 10s

Top 10 Gins: 2013

lemons

This is my annual “best of 2013” list: these are the best new gins to be released or to have entered our bar in the past year. We’ve seen a lot of new names, as well some new blends and reformulations by some by big distillers. Another exciting year, especially in the world of craft around the world: without further ado, here’s out favorites gins of the year.

# Style Rating Title —

10 Classic Gin   Gordon’s Crisp Cucumber One of the biggest names in classic gin jumped in on the trend towards brand expansion this year. And although the underlying formula isn’t radically changed, Gordon’s Crisp Cucumber makes a nice, easy to work with cocktail ingredient.”Cucumber and citrus on the nose. A tad lemon, but there’s a nice bit of juniper in here. Recognizable as not normal Gordon’s for sure. That faint vegetable note, although sweet, might be enough to push folks out of the comfort zone.” 9 Contemporary, Seasonal    Green Hat [Spring/Summer 2013] Though I’ve technically reviewed all three of Green Hat’s gin in this calendar year, it was the seasonal ones which rank most prominently on this year’s most memorable gins of ’13.What do you get when you combine your nation’s capital most celebrated sign of spring with a craft gin?

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Top 10s

Top 10 Most Quintessentially Essential “American” Gins

The United States is far from a homogeneous nation.  From region to region, we have as much divergence in culture, climate, and attitude as some entire continents. But yet, often I am asked, “Which gins are the most quintessentially American?,” or “What is the most American gin?”

While I will go on the record saying, “I’m not quite sure that such a thing as the Most American Gin exists,” I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to try and compile a list.

That being said, this list is my opinion/thoughts on which gins are the most quintessentially unique American gins. You’ll notice two things: this list doesn’t correspond with my ratings [if you want that, just sort by the highest rated, find the American ones and boom!]. Second, you’ll notice my rationale isn’t always [only sometimes] about the flavor.

I’ve also set myself a couple of ground rules: 1 gin per distillery. Even if a gin makes a couple of worthy entries to this chart, I’m holding myself to just one.  Two, it has to be what could somewhat be considered craft. I know this is a loaded term, but I’m excluding names like Seagram’s and Fleischmann’s [among which those two might be the biggest American distilled gins] to focus on the smaller guys.

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Tonic Water

Top 10 Tonic Waters

Tonic Water

This is something we’ve never done before, but have heard from our readers that they would like to see something like this. We’ve reviewed quite a few Tonic Waters, but which is the best?

Or more appropriately, which do we think is the best at this point in 2012? Let’s take a closer look. But unlike gin, we have some disambiguation in here. This list will contain syrups [which could use, but do not require soda water] and regular classic pre-carbonated tonic waters. So your mileage may vary depending on which you might prefer…

# LW 2W Title —

1 – – Todd Thrasher’s Tonic   If you’ve come around to Tonic syrups, then Thrasher’s tonic is worth seeking out. One of the best blends of flavor, herbs and sweetness. An easy favorite for me this year.Review Quote: “I’d say many tonic syrups are for people who already love the taste of quinine and rich herbal concoctions. Thrasher’s tonic, not so much. Its sweet, nicely balanced, and has an appeal that spans a wider array of drinkers.”  2 1 1 Fever Tree Tonic   Perhaps the best of the pre-carbonated tonics in my opinion.

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Top 10s

Top 10 Gins, overall – 2012 Chart

This is our annual look at our top 10 favorite gins of all time for the year 2012.

# LW 2W Title —

1 1 1 Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin    Its going to be hard to displace this gin from the top perch of my chart, but let me say, in this past year there were a lot of worthy competitors for this title. I still love the blend of juniper, citrus and the subtle sweetness that cucumber brings to this gin. Refreshing, invigorating  and it works in every cocktail.Quote from review: “Miller’s gin balances a crisp clean Juniper flavor with a  hint of Citrus sweetness. These two flavors are in such perfect harmony, that Miller’s is the epitome of versatility in gin.“ 2 – – St. George’s Terroir Gin    Those of you going straight off of my “ratings” may be surprised to see a gin that I gave 4.5 stars to rising above others that I gave five to, but let me offer you this. The way that this flavor sticks with you, vividly in your memory long after the bottle is finished is exactly why this gin ranks so highly in my book.

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Top 10s

Best Posts of 2012

Unlike our earlier chart, this is our chance to talk about the most fun reviews and events we’ve done this year. These are our favorite tastings, experiences and posts for the year in gin that was 2012.

# Title —

10  August 17th Cocchi v. Lillet  How many cocktail experiments begin and end in a hotel room in rural Ohio? A friend of mine packed up some of the finest spirits we could obtain and brought them to freeway side hotel where we tested the age old discussion of whether Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc makes a better Corpse Reviver #2.Not pictured: the Mad Dog road side booze which made its way into some cocktails later that evening. 9  March 28th How to Identify a Phony Bottle of Gin  It was in March when a Twitter followed asked me to identify a brand of gin that he had seen on a television program. It was a wild goose chase that ended in what Occam’s razor should have told me in the first place. If you’ve never seen a bottle before, and it doesn’t look like any bottle you’ve ever seen, there’s a good chance its not a real bottle.

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Top 10s

Most Popular Posts 2012

The first in our year-end lists bonanza, we take a look at what the most popular gins and features on this site were according to you, our readers.

# 2011 2010 Title —

1 – – Bombay Sapphire East [Gin Review] In the first full year of its release, this is by far the most popular gin review on The Gin is In. And why not? Its a great gin made by one of the biggest names in gin, and its widely available. Through and through, this is what most of you were looking for in 2012, and I surely hope you found it, because its worth seeking out. 2 1 1 Bols Genever [Gin Review]  Last Year’s most popular page falls to #2 this year. Still, the biggest name in Genever is frequently searched and frequently sought after. Only narrowly beat out the Botanist again this year to stay around near the top of the popularity poll. 3 2 – The Botanist [Gin Review] The Botanist continues to be frequently searched for in 2012, and it really picked up steam in the second half of the year as the gin became more and more widely available in the United States.

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Top 10s

Top 10 NYC Bars for Ginlovers

# Last Year 2 Years Title —

1 1 1 Dutch Kills    My enduring favorite happens to be in my home borough. But one visit and you’ll see that this isn’t just blatant homerism. Good cocktails and the well educated bartenders have a seemingly endless list of “boozy gin cocktails without dairy, saved straight up.” 2 2 2 Amor Y Amargo  Though not really a “gin bar” and not really just a bar as much as also a “bitters showroom,” good gins often play a key role in Amor y Amargo’s cocktail concoctions. 3 3 – Madame Geneva  Though recently enduring a lot more competition in New York city for the title “best gin selection,” Madame Geneva’s nearly 50 gins are if not the city’s biggest, definitely in the top 5. Combine that with one of the best feels and largest sitting areas, its one of the city’s best gin dens. 4 – – The Gin Palace  Though some of you might get me for having the two places which specialize in gin at 3 and 4, it should hardly be considered a check against these places. Though the selection is slightly smaller than Madame Geneva’s, and has slightly fewer American made gins, it had a few more obscure entries.

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