Sane people can argue this, but for my money there is no spirit with more faces than gin. A stalwart for colonialists in tropical climes and a geeky joy for anyone obsessed with botany (hi), it can have a million personalities, all of which are immediately recognizable as gin. This is part of the pleasure of it, but its massive complexity can make it tough to select one, especially if you’re giving it as a gift (and often if you’re selecting it for yourself). Our solution? Leverage the divinatory power of astrology to find your drink.
Aries: Empress 1908
The feisty human rocketfuel people born under the sign of the ram are enthusiasts in general, but in specific they share an enthusiasm for attention. Want to endear yourself to an Aries? Notice them. Often. These spotlight-hogging, fun-loving people are all about the party trick, so if you have an Aries in your life and want to thrill them with a booze-gift, we recommend Empress 1908. This gin features fire-sign-worthy warm notes: coriander, grapefruit peel, cinnamon and ginger (ginger in particular is an herb associated with this hot-blooded sign). But the standout ingredient in this gin is an infusion of butterfly pea blossoms, which cause the whole concoction to take on a vivid indigo color. Where it gets fun in a cocktail is that butterfly pea blossoms are Ph sensitive, and in the presence of an acid (say, lemon juice) the gin will turn from deep blue to lilac or bright pink depending on ratios. Eyecatching, dramatic, and fun—the Aries gin for sure.
Taurus: Bluecoat Elderflower Gin
Taureans are all about stability and consistency. They appreciate routine and are not flakes. They also have a stubborn streak that can make sticking a fork in your eye seem like a healthy alternative to arguing with them. Grounded and attuned to the physical, they might not come across as sensualists at first glance, but they generally are. Traditional with a sexy flourish is the gin style for these guys. Bluecoat’s elderflower gin might fit the bill best. It’s a pretty classic American dry gin augmented with elderflower maceration—the result is a heady, perfumed nose and a flowery flavor that I can only compare to drinking lace. Rose, angelica and fresh lemon complete the picture. Top it with a little St. Germain if you want to push things a little further. And if you have Aries or Scorpio rising, that will be a given.
Gemini: Dorothy Parker Rosepetal Gin
Those born under the sign of the twins have peak bloom season for roses handed to them as a birthday gift, at least in the northern hemisphere. As a Gemini, you’re probably the sort of person who can summon a phone call from a loved one just by thinking about them—what in New Age woo-circles would be termed a “manifestor.” You’re probably also nosy as hell, which can be tricky for other people to deal with because you are way too impulsive to keep a secret and are likely an epic gossip. You make up for your unreliability amply, though, with your amazing ability to be easygoing in the face of instability or sudden change (you want a Gemini around when the power goes out unexpectedly; your Virgo buddy will drain your batteries when the unexpected happens). New York Distilling Company’s ode to Dorothy Parker is your gin, especially in its blush-pink, rose petal-loving version. Parker was a Virgo, but she had the Olympian piercing-rejoinder ability of a Gemini for sure. It’s an affable gin with hints of hibiscus and a decent ration of juniper and orange. Makes for an insouciant, snappy G&T. Although you are arguably disinhibited enough as it is.
Cancer: Gin Mare
Cancers are defensive because they’re really, really sensitive. It’s important to remember this when you’re dealing with one and “get the shell.” People born under this emotional water sign brood and sulk and hold grudges and guess what? It’s because they are empaths who have to work overtime to keep from taking on everyone else’s suffering. Do not screw over a Cancer; it simply isn’t worth it. Their exoskeletons can make them really hard to figure out, but they’re not all that enigmatic once you get used to them. They just don’t want to get hurt and they are easy to crush. Cancers are family-oriented, are the least likely people to cheat, and won’t blow you off if you say something is bothering you. They are also suspicious by nature and benefit from forthrightness and clarity. Make this person a simple, classic martini and make it with olive-infused Gin Mare. This Spanish gin features rosemary (a Cancer-associated herb) and Arbequina olives, making it a rich and tasty foil for a good vermouth. Citrusy, resinous and mouth-filling, with a sunny edge of fresh basil, it’s also great with tonic or neat. It’s creative, evocative and nuanced, all of which your Cancer person will relate to.
Leo: Indian Summer Gin
A Leo loves the limelight almost as much as an Aries; the main difference is they care more about whether they get good or bad attention. These sun-governed folks have powerful personalities (too intense for some, which your Leo will feel bad about but be incapable of mitigating). Leo is the “fixed” fire sign, which might account for the fact that their governing traits are so consistent you can basically identify them in any crowd. These people are the “go big or go home” sign-charismatic, loyal, discerning, generous, comfortable in leadership roles. Most of all, they love luxury. Pleasing a Leo is easy: give them quality. Hence, the sunshiny elixir that is Indian Summer: this gin gets its tint from a generous ration of saffron, which happens to be the traditional Leo color and also the most expensive spice on earth. Grounded and classic with a showy twist, this gin also features sumptuous notes of cassia and almond, ripe orange and aromatic orrisroot. A confident pine-juniper note takes center stage on the midpalate and the citrus notes are juicy and well-integrated. It’s a classicist’s gin more than an experimental one, which is fine with Leos; they’re more conservative than they’d ever let on.
Virgo: Eden Mill Oak Gin
Earthy, linear, stickler-for-details Virgos are exactly as conservative as they let on. These are people who don’t think “predictable” is a negative, which is why they make great stockbrokers. Virgos clean up after themselves, embrace logic, and are the dictionary definition of reliable. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and you’re the luckiest person in town if you have a Virgo to do your taxes, but don’t get it twisted: they’re also artsy, with the kind of patient creativity that makes a phenomenal sculptor or glassblower (and this is indeed the sun sign of Dale Chihuly). But if they had to choose between “experimental” and “reasonable,” most Virgos wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter. Luckily they don’t have to choose. If there is a Virgo on your gift list, Eden Mill’s Oak Gin might be the spirit for them. Aged in oak casks (oak trees are associated with Virgo, by the way) but not for too long, this gin features some resinous and balsamic notes alongside concentrated dried citrus peel flavors and subdued-but-there juniper. It’s rounded out with woodsy spices like coriander and angelica and carries a faint malty creaminess. It’s a grounded spirit. Virgos will relate.
Libra: Barr Hill
Are you itching for a fight? Tell a Libra they are making a situation more difficult. These people can handle almost anything, but they will draw a hard line at any implication they are not part of the solution. The Libra ego has a passionate attachment to the concept of bringing peace, balance and harmony with them everywhere they go. And hey—it’s often true. Cerebral, charming and wide-ranging in their interests, they are nearly always fair and open-minded. On the flipside, they’re also often indecisive and lazy, and can be manipulative. If you are still itching for a fight, tell your Libra it is their turn to mow the lawn or take the cat to the vet. If God needed a lawyer, He’d hire a Libra. (Satan would retain a Scorpio just to screw with the opposition.) For the Libra in your life, we suggest Barr Hill, technically an “Old Tom” gin made with honey from their onsite apiaries. Boreal, yet tropical. Sweet, yet bracingly bitter. Flowery, yet woodsy. Simple, yet full-bodied. What better gin for balance-preoccupied Librans? It’s lavish and lush with a very pleasing viscosity. Wildflowers mingle around a strong axis of pine and juniper, and the finish is resinous and rather amazingly long. Be mindful when mixing cocktails with this stuff. It’s not totally dry. You will need to compensate for that in some recipes. You know. For balance.
Scorpio: Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz
You know who’s a Scorpio? James Bond. Also Hank Moody from Californication. Gin can be all kinds of things but it’s always defined by juniper and citrus and herbs. A Scorpio can be all kinds of things but is always defined by intense sexuality, a significant ration of paranoia and a holy-crap intensity level. In other words, fascinating and occasionally dangerous. If you’ve survived more than one assassination attempt, five’ll get you ten that you’re a Scorpio. They’re focused, and fearless. They’re also secretive and jealous. What they never are is boring. Four Pillars “Bloody Shiraz” gets its murderous hue and oddball character from inky-red Shiraz grapes. Because of this, it is vintage dependent, meaning variable and unpredictable. Tasting it, the first impression is confusion because it looks like wine but is definitely gin. A dark, brooding pine forest character leads, going through various citrus and bitter spice notes before resolving to black raspberries. Deliberately eccentric, it’s a study in dynamic tension-both unusually playful and unusually dark. And never boring. If that ain’t a Scorp, I don’t know what is.
Sagittarius: Hendricks Orbium
The grownup of the showy, creative fire signs (relatively speaking), you are an idealist, a traveler, a philosopher and a person who flatly refuses to be pinned down. Woe betide anyone who attempts to housebreak you. Think of a photo of an old-timey 19th century polar explorer, the hoary, craggy white dude with the muttonchop sideburns and icicles in his beard and the walking stick and the thousand yard stare? That is a Sagittarius. Those born under the sign of the archer might love Leslie Gracie’s quininated version of Hendricks’ already gold-standard gin. It’s rounded, jovial and assertive, with a warm-bitter character derived from wormwood and cinchona. It also contains the flowers of the mystical blue lotus, a psychoactive plant with whom Sagittarians share a certain air of floating above reality because they’re a little too smart to be bogged down in your nonsense. All of this is supported by by pronounced traditional florals and bitter lemon. This is a gin for thinkers, gnostics, strong silent types and extreme latitudes—in fact, go ahead and make yourself an Alaska with it. Maybe two Alaskas. However, Sagittarius governs the liver, so don’t overdo it. Just sayin’.
Capricorn: The Botanist
No one’s a homebody in quite the way a Capricorn is. Indeed, most of them would pull a full on St. Jerome and make their home in a remote cave with their books if they had the option. Capricorns are odd ducks who manage to be ambitious and risk-averse with no cognitive dissonance (if you are an Aries or a Gemini, expect to drive these folks nuts with your loose lips and disdain for impulse control). They are deliberate, hardworking and love a plan. They are unabashedly judgmental (they call it being selective). As earth sign people, they are attuned to the physical world and are often admirers of nature. They appreciate trees. Trees have deep roots, long lives and predictable cycles. They wouldn’t mind reincarnating as a tree. They probably have a specific location where they want the tree to be. And because trees are what’s going to save us from catastrophic climate change, we should probably be thanking them in advance. The Botanist might be the most terroir-forward gin on this list (Gin Mare could also take a bow there), as it cleaves to the native botanicals of its homeland on the Isle of Islay, where it perplexes the locals by stubbornly refusing to be Scotch. Hand-foraged and deeply place-bound, it has a citrus profile that leans on lemony sorrel, a spice blend that includes birch leaf and wild mint, and florals including hawthorn and vetches. This is a gin rooted in its own favorite spot—one where a goat should feel right at home.
Aquarius: Nolet’s Silver
Aquarians. Deep thinkers and committed iconoclasts, they have fancypants taste (and a dark side), and criticize the hell out of anything not up to their rarified standards. There are signs who will tolerate “whatever is available,” but Aquarius ain’t one of ‘em. You want the good stuff and you want it to be a little unusual, even edgy. Nolet’s Silver could easily be the official gin of Aquarians: it’s atypical and and thought-provoking, and it tastes really expensive. A powerfully floral gin, it will intrigue your doggedly-different Aquarian nature with the pointed absence of juniper from its flavor profile. Instead, this one’s big on roses, with hints of lemon balm and verbena, lavender and mint—all of which happen to be herbs associated with this sign. Decadently aromatic and, like you, a teensy bit challenging.
Pisces: Silent Pool Gin
I dare you to claim you have figured out the inner workings of the Pisces in your life. I dare you. These cryptic and sometimes mystical mystery dates are elusive, almost chthonic—the encyclopedia exemplar of the expression “still waters run deep.” Fathomless and dreamy, your Pisces is a person who will drop everything to help you carry in your groceries, and they’ll show you they love you by making you an old school mix-tape that will make you feel like they can read your mind, which cannot be ruled out. They savor solitude and likely live in their imagination at least as much as in the so-called real world. But if they say they care? They care. They’ll never bullshit you about that. If they don’t care, they will walk away, so, oddly, as much as you’ll never figure them out, you can be confident you know where you stand with them. Your fish-person is not overly concerned with appearances, but whereas a Leo, for instance, will tend to be forward-looking, the Pisces probably harbors a deep and abiding fear of the past coming back to bite them. For these otherworldly types, we recommend Silent Pool, a British gin with a borderline not-British-gin devotion to layer upon layer of botanicals. Ethereal notes of elderflower and linden, chamomile and cassia, pepper and orrisroot. The citrus notes are the extra-intense ones like kaffir lime leaf and bitter orange (perhaps bergamot; there’s a faint ghost of Earl Grey tea here). Angelica, anise and coriander mingle with the juniper on the midpalate. This gin is deep, mysterious and surprising: it is a Pisces.