We strongly feel that every day should be World Gin Day, but with the official date in the calendar fast approaching on 9th June, we asked our resident gin experts for a few top-tips to help us all on our important spiritual journeys to becoming world-glass gin-gurus.
WHAT IS GIN?
Like most spirits, gin begins its life as a raw product – grain; which, when fermented, distilled and aged gives us the glorious bottles of goodness we know as ‘gin’. A gin producer will start with a neutral spirit (think of this as a vodka) and use this as a blank canvas to begin adding herbs, fruits, roots, bark or spices to before a second round of distilling. These little additions are known by the pros as 'botanicals'.
The most important of these botanicals is juniper. Not only is it the primary botanical in gins, but by law, it needs to be the most prominent flavour in any gin in order for the spirit to legally be named as ‘gin’. A little fact to impress your friends: the origin of the word ‘gin’ comes from ‘jenever’; the Dutch for ‘juniper’.
CHOOSING YOUR GIN
With gin becoming an increasingly popular tipple-of-choice, there are more gins to choose from than ever before. Lesson number one from our experts is that no two gins are the same; with each carrying its own unique bouquet, assortment of botanicals and flavour profile. With this in mind, choosing the perfect bottle either for yourself, or as a gift, can be a challenge. To help us out, The Botanist’s gin experts have translated some of the most common gin lingo, to help you on your journey to discover that perfect serve.
Herbaceous gins carry strong, fragrant (& obviously herby!) notes and pair well with citrus fruits or slices of cucumber to create a refreshingly tangy beverage. Our experts recommend Liverpool Gin and Foxdenton as a couple of their favourites.
‘Spicy’ gins have been distilled using exotic spices, herbs and are complemented by infusing your serve with other exotic garnishes, such as peppercorns or cardamom. Our experts recommend Leeds Gin as one of their favourites – to be infused with pink peppercorns and lemon zest to give it a zingy finish.
This one is a little more self-explanatory, referring to gins that have been infused with many types of citrus fruit (the favourites being lemon, orange, grapefruit & lime). If you’re new to gin, our experts recommend opting for a gin such as Manchester Gin, served with an orange zest & a sprig of rosemary.
These gins carry delicate, fragrant notes and major on floral botanicals in their ingredient lists. Like citrus gins, floral gins also make for easy-sipping and are the perfect tipple for those who prefer lighter flavours. If you like floral notes, Bloom or Hendrick’s will be right up your street.
- Garnishes are the final touch to any G&T perfect serve. They are accompaniment to enhance the flavour and complement the gin’s distinct, botanical blend. Our experts have come up with a couple of garnish suggestions for their favourite gins:
- Masons Yorkshire Gin – lemons, limes cardamom, angelica root, coriander seeds are a few botanicals in the structure of this gin. Our experts recommend pairing it with cardamom to accentuate the spicy undertones. Add orange zest to balance.
- Silent Pool will pair well with pear, which sits well with Silent Pool’s chamomile and honey notes. Adding juniper berries will also help the juniper back to the front.
- Langley’s No.8 is juniper-rich and carries notes of citrus and pine. Pair with Basil and pink grapefruit and a pinch of black pepper for a refreshing mix.
Whilst we hope that this little breakdown of terms will help you on your quest to pouring your dream gin, we understand the proof really is in the pudding perfect serve, which is why we run our marvellous Gin Masterclasses. Our experts will take you on a voyage of gin-discovery, imparting their golden wisdom; tasting 8 gins and explaining their flavours to you. For more information, follow this link… http://thebotanist.uk.com/masterclasses/gin-masterclass
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