Three Budget Gins.

It’s Gin o’clock!

Three budget gins.

The cost of living crisis has been tough on a lot of people and these days everything seems more expensive. Although the price of spirits has (at least in my experience) has not risen as fast as other food and drink there can still be less left in your pocket to splash out on luxury items. Like gin. The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to get a decent mixing gin. The ongoing resurgence in popularity gin is currently enjoying has put a lot of more expensive luxury gins onto the market – and very fine and interesting many of them are too. But you don’t really need those fancy ass products to make certain cocktails, or even a decent G&T so today I’m a gonna hit you up with three gins that will serve you well and yet cost comfortably less than twenty standardised EU alcohol tokens for a 700ml bottle. Let’s go!

Gibson’s Gin.

For a typical price of 15 this really can’t be very good can it? Well despite the low price (and I can sometimes get it on sale for just 12) and low alcohol content of 37.5% Gibson’s is a bona fide British made London Dry gin with a nice crisp, clean nature. The botanicals are very standard so you won’t be getting to much excitement here but guess what? There are a whole bunch of classic cocktails where you don’t need or even want big botanical flavours. Classics such as a Singapore Sling, a Bin & Gitters or a Pegu Club use gin as a base because vodka just wasn’t a thing in the west yet (that only happened after 1945) and often were not particularly looking for much flavour input from that base spirit. While I wouldn’t use Gibson’s in a Martini, those cocktails with other big flavours will be none the wiser for the inclusion of this classic budget gin. Of course you don’t get much in terms of label design or fancy closures or bottles for your €15 but Gibson’s is perfectly serviceable and will not send you off to the food bank to make ends meet. It makes a passable Gin & Tonic – especially if you are using a flavoured tonic – but the two gins below are more interesting for that anyway.

Gordon’s Gin.

Despite its current somewhat lower shelf identity Gordon’s was once the gin that ruled them all and has a long and storied history as the British Empire’s gin of choice. I personally believe the decline began in 1992 when the alcohol percentage in the UK and Europe was cut back to the legal minimum of 37.5% in search of greater profitability. A false economy in my view as I – and likely many others – find it difficult to take a gin under 40% very seriously. It’s priced similarly to Gibson’s but has a bit more character largely due to some uniquely “piney” notes and it’s highly likely that many older gin based classic cocktail were actually created with Gordon’s as a base even if the modern variant is likely less punchy by the order of a few %. There similar good reasons to use Gordon’s to those I listed for Gibson’s but the former also makes a pretty respectable – and deeply classic – G&T. For the full 70’s experience pour it into a straight iced “chimney” glass with some basic Schweppes tonic and a slice of lemon. Just use a bit more ice than the single cube that was oft dispensed back in the day. All told Gordon’s remains a decent all-round gin for a very fair price despite being overtaken by more modern upstarts.

24 Herbs.

I was originally going to review this one separately but it fits well into this category so it’s going to read more “reviewy”: Very much the outlier in this trio being, as it is, not very old and not very British this Polish newcomer to the gin world is, at first glance, sending out some very mixed messages. The bottle is very sturdy for a budget gin with very thick blue/green tinted glass that I doubt would break even if you dropped it onto a tile floor. The well fitting stopper is nice and big, made of wood and plastic and frankly is as good a closure as I’ve seen at any price. The label, however, looks a bit clownish to me. You can see that they’re trying to be all “crafty” but it’s not totally convincing. Recipe going back to 1894? Hmmmm. 24 botanicals? Well there are just a few pictured and two of them don’t really exist so colour me sceptical. 40% abv? Now we’re talking! At €18 a bottle this is absolutely fine and puts Gordon’s and Gibson’s to shame. But the proof’s in the tasting and 24 Herbs is actually a cracking gin for the price. Balanced, yet interesting, it has moments of slight sweetness and moments of bitterness. It navigates the way between a juniper forward and a citrus forward magnificently and comes over much more mid-range than budget. This is absolutely a gin to go for if you’d like to make a low cost Gin & Tonic as it has enough character of its own to shine through even a pretty basic supermarket tonic. Even in times of plenty 24 Herbs it going to be a permanent fixture on my, admittedly crowded, gin shelf.


You could save a pretty penny by using Gibson’s or Gordon’s in classic gin cocktails which contain liqueurs or other flavourings and notice nary a difference. For a hard-times G&T go for Gordon’s or 24 Herbs with some supermarket grade* tonic** and leave the Etsu and Fever Tree until payday.

*This will vary by location but for me in The Netherlands I like Schweppes when I can find it or Dirk’s own brand. Albert Hein tonic is too lemongrassy for my taste but others may like it.

**Even if you have to pour some out if your litre bottle gets a bit flat towards the end this still works out way cheaper than smaller bottles.

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