Like so many other things that turned out to be too much fun for the pharmacy, gin started out as a medicine. The documented medical use of alcohol and juniper — the primary building blocks of all gins — dates to at least as early as 70 A.D. Benedictine monks used a variant in 1055 in Salerno, Italy, and the Dutch tinkered more in the 16th century — but gin came into its own for real in 1700s England. It traveled with the British to the New World and eventually became such a staple of American bar culture that FDR, the country's greatest drinking president, mixed a gin martini — there's no other kind — on the radio to celebrate the end of Prohibition. Gin is elegant, complex, haute, and boundlessly versatile. Here's a list of the very best gins for a range of budgets.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
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