The Bartenders' Brand Awards, now in its fifth year, is our annual product testing - by bartenders, for bartenders. 

The BBAs follows a three-step process to mirror buying behaviour, with each product blind-tasted, judged on value for money and finally by design. For more on the methodology behind the BBAs, read more here.

In the first of our serialised results, we present the gin category. 


In this age of gin, bartenders have become discerning judges. Our panel scored only one of our 50 gin entries a gold medal in taste.

That brand was Makar Old Tom, which was described as “everything you want from Old Tom”, with a perfectly pitched sugar level and balance of juniper and coriander.

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At under £30, the Glasgow Distillery Company gin was considered the best value in the category too. Though the design was a more middling bronze medal, 81/100 made Makar the Category Champion. 

In second, Isola di Favignana, from the Favignana Flavor Company, is a London Dry, and enjoyed by our gin panel for its “lemongrass and sweet citrus” notes, “evolving palate” and “long finish”.

It took silver medals in taste and value for money and a gold for its bottle. Edinburgh Gin’s products have done well in past BBAs and this year was no different. Its Classic was considered a great example of a London Dry, with structure and a strong juniper profile. It too took silvers in taste and value and gold for design.

Edinburgh Gin’s “punchy” Cannonball was described as “perfect for a G&T”. Boatyard Double gin, meanwhile, was noted for its complexity and balance. Both saw silver medals across the board.