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“Rollin’ down the street, smokin’ indo, sippin’ on gin and juice. Laid back. With my mind on my money and my money on my mind.” If you don’t recognize those lyrics from “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg, well… you need to study the classics. And by that, we mean both classic tracks and classic cocktails.
We’ll let you get better acquainted with Snoop’s catalog on your own; as for gin and juice, it’s a simple cocktail of gin and your favorite fruit juice (usually orange juice, grapefruit juice, or another type of citrus). While some recipes sweeten up gin’s juniper flavor by adding simple syrup into the mix, that’s not definitely not required — we’re basically talking about a classic screwdriver or Paloma, but with gin.
We already love gin-based cocktails during the summer months so as August rolls out we figured we’d mix up a whole fleet of gins mixed with grapefruit juice for a blind test. Keep scrolling to see the gins we selected and see how everything turned out. The cocktail itself is literally just a jigger of gin over ice. Then the cup is filled with grapefruit juice — simple as can be.
- Hendrick’s Gin
- Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin
- Beefeater London Dry Gin
- Tanqueray London Dry Gin
- Bombay Sapphire Gin
- Citadelle Gin
- Nolet’s Silver Gin
- Bluecoat American Gin
Part 1: The Taste
Aromas of lemon zest, pine, and juniper meet your nose. They have difficulty rising over the aroma of grapefruit juice, though. I had to really try to find them. The palate continues this trend with more citrus, juniper, and some coriander. Overall, the flavor profile is a little spicy and citrus-driven for this mixed drink. It tends to get lost in the shuffle.
On the nose, this gin is very fruity, and floral, and has just a hint of piney juniper. All of which pair well with the grapefruit juice component of the drink. Sipping it only heightens the experience with more pine, wildflowers, wintry spices, and a ton of fruity flavor.
From my notes: “It’s almost like this gin was created to be mixed with fruit juice, specifically grapefruit juice.”
While subtle, I noticed notes of candied orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and a gentle, herbal, floral flavor that melded with the sweet, grapefruit juice aroma. More of the same on the palate. Juniper, nutmeg, cinnamon, licorice, and tart, bright citrus zest work in unison with the sharp, sweet flavor of the grapefruit juice.
All in all, a winner of a combination.
Right away, this is a citrus bomb of a cocktail. There’s a ton of tangerine and lemon zest along with juniper in this gin’s nose. There just isn’t much else. When mixed with grapefruit juice, it’s kind of overwhelming. Add the harsh heat and spice at the finish and this just isn’t a favorable pairing.
From my notes: “I wouldn’t drink these together again.”
Complex aromas of juniper berries, orange zest, pine, and cucumbers pair well with the ripe grapefruit smell of the grapefruit juice. Drinking it brings forth more juniper, pine, cucumber, and light spices that all seem to work well with orange juice. There’s something light, yet complex about the gin when paired with the fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.
The nose is classic pine, juniper, and slight citrus peel. But really there isn’t much else going on the pair with the juicy, ripe grapefruit juice aroma. Sipping it added some wintry spices and maybe some licorice on top of the citrus and juniper. But overall, it was a little underwhelming and more juniper-centric than I’d prefer when mixed with grapefruit juice.
Heavy juniper, pine, and citrus zest are included in this gin’s nose. There are also hints of anise and coriander. Generally speaking, the aromas stand up well with the juicy, fresh grapefruit juice smell. The palate continues this trend with juniper berries, coriander, cinnamon, and other spices all working in unison with the included grapefruit juice.
Heavy aromas of lemon zest and pine met my nostrils. They were even more powerful than the grapefruit aroma of the juice. In fact, the lemon aroma (and flavor) bordered on Pine-Sol. It was so overwhelming. There were some juniper, spiced and herbal flavors when paired with the grapefruit juice, but nothing all that exciting. Overall, a little too much generic lemon that didn’t mesh well with the grapefruit juice.
Part 2: The Rankings
8) Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin (Taste 4)
Average Price: $15.99
This simple, bargain gin has been made the same way since 1939. Created to be versatile and work well in any cocktails, it’s known for its juniper-forward flavor profile that also features coriander, bitter orange, and Angelica root flavors. For the price, it’s surprisingly flavorful.
Seagram’s Extra Dry landed right about where I thought it would. It’s cheap, a little harsh, and spicier than it should be. Overall, not a good pairing.
7) Beefeater London Dry Gin (Taste 6)
Average Price: $20.99
Touted as the world’s “most awarded” gin, Beefeater doesn’t get its name from fans of meaty sandwiches, it’s a reference to The Yeomen Warders who guard the Royal Palace as well as the Tower of London. Featuring nine herbs and botanicals, including Seville orange and lemon peel, the brand has been crafting London dry gin for more than 200 years.
Save the Beefeater for your classic gin & tonics or just don’t buy it. It doesn’t pair well enough with grapefruit juice to make it worth your while.
6) Bluecoat American Gin (Taste 1)
Average Price: $29.99
This popular gin is made using 100% organic herbs and botanicals including juniper beers, an “American citrus blend”, coriander, and Angelica root. It’s known for its soft, earthy, herbal flavor profile that makes it a great base for your favorite cocktails.
Unless you prefer not to taste the gin in your gin & juice, you should probably either add a lot of Bluecoat or look elsewhere. The flavor was a little too subtle for this drink.
5) Bombay Sapphire Gin (Taste 8)
Average Price: $21.99
Bottled in its famous blue-hued bottle, this famous London dry gin is flavored with ten specific herbs and botanicals including orris roots, juniper berries, lemon peel, almond, Angelic root, cassia bark, coriander, cubeb, and grains of paradise. It’s known for its dry, juniper-driven, complex flavor profile.
I expected more from Bombay Sapphire with its ten herbs and botanicals. In the brand’s defense, like most gins, it wasn’t crafted to be paired with grapefruit juice.
It’s not a terrible pick… but you can do better.
4) Tanqueray London Dry Gin (Taste 7)
Average Price: $21
Created by Charles Tanqueray back in the 1800s, it remains one of the most popular London dry gins in the world. While the brand doesn’t release the list of its herbs and botanicals, it’s believed it contains at least juniper berries, coriander, licorice, and Angelica root.
Tanqueray is definitely a juniper-heavy gin. But there are tons of other herbs and spices that popped up both on the nose and the palate that work well with the grapefruit flavor.
3) Nolet’s Silver Gin (Taste 2)
Average Price: $44.99
To say that Nolet’s Silver Gin is a different type of gin is a total understatement. It was crafted specifically to be different from the norm by using ingredients like juniper berries, Turkish rose, peach, and raspberries. Its base of European wheat gives it a soft, sweet, fruit flavor profile.
Nolet’s Silver Gin is a great pairing for gin & juice and it’s specifically because, even though it featured the piney juniper gin drinkers expect, it’s also fruity, sweet, and soft enough to complement the juice.
2) Hendrick’s Gin (Taste 5)
Average Price: $34.99
Even though this Scottish-made gin has only been available since 1999, it quickly became one of the most popular gins in the world. Distilled with eleven ingredients including juniper berries, roses, and cucumbers, it’s known as one of the best mixing gins in the world by drinkers and bartenders alike.
Hendrick’s Gin is well-known for its rose and cucumber flavors. Both work well when paired with grapefruit juice.
1) Citadelle Gin (Taste 3)
Average Price: $21.99
France isn’t necessarily known for its gin prowess but… maybe it should be? Citadelle, with its complex ingredient list, including cinnamon, nutmeg, orris roots, almond, star anise, juniper berries, grains of paradise, orange peel, cardamon, violet root, and more is something utterly different and truly special.
Sometimes more complex isn’t such a bad thing. The massive list of herbs and botanicals in Citadelle seem to work perfectly with the bright, tart flavors of grapefruit juice.
Part 3: Final Thoughts
Gin & juice is a very simple cocktail. It’s just gin and grapefruit juice (in this case). Because of this, the usual gin flavors don’t necessarily work. Fruity, floral, and spicy (along with some juniper) seemed to work the best. Overly piney, harsh gins with too much lemon didn’t work as well. If you’re planning to make your own gin & juice, flavorful, multi-dimensional, well-balanced, versatile gins are the way to go.