Gin is one of the most versatile and popular spirits in the world. Many people however do not know how to enjoy gin. It can be enjoyed in many different ways, from classic cocktails to modern creations. Whether you are a gin novice or a gin connoisseur, here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your gin experience.
First things first, what makes a gin, gin?
Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is flavored with juniper berries and other botanicals, such as coriander, citrus, angelica, and orris root. The word gin comes from the Dutch word genever, which means juniper. Gin originated in the Netherlands in the 17th century, but it became widely popular in Britain after the Dutch king William of Orange ascended to the throne in 1688.
There are many types of gin, but the most common ones are
London Dry Gin
This is the most traditional and widely available style of gin. It is dry, crisp, and juniper-forward, with no added sugar or artificial flavors. It is the base for many classic gin cocktails, such as the martini, the negroni, and the gin and tonic.
This is a slightly sweeter and softer style of gin that is produced only in Plymouth, England. It has a distinctive earthy and spicy flavor, with hints of citrus and cardamom. It is the original gin used in the navy-strength gin, which has a higher alcohol content of 57% ABV.
Old Tom Gin
This is a sweeter and richer style of gin that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is often aged in wooden barrels, which gives it a golden color and a smooth texture. It is the preferred gin for some vintage cocktails, such as the Tom Collins and the Ramos Gin Fizz.
This is the original style of gin that is still produced in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is made from malted grain, which gives it a malty and full-bodied flavor.
Genever gin is usually aged in oak casks, which further adds complexity and depth. It is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, or mixed with beer or soda.
New Western Gin
This is a modern and innovative style of gin that emerged in the late 20th century. It is characterized by a more prominent use of botanicals other than juniper, such as cucumber, rose, lavender, and ginger.
This type of gin is often more floral, fruity, and aromatic than traditional gins. It is the ideal gin for experimenting with new and creative cocktails.
How to Drink Gin
There is no right or wrong way to drink gin, as long as you enjoy it. However, here are some general guidelines to help you enhance your gin experience:
- Choose the right glass: The shape and size of the glass can affect the aroma and taste of the gin. For neat or on-the-rocks gin, use a short and wide glass, such as a rocks glass or a tumbler. For gin and tonic or other long drinks, use a tall and slim glass, such as a highball or a Collins glass. For gin cocktails, use a stemmed and elegant glass, such as a martini or a coupe glass.
- Choose the right mixer: The mixer can make or break your gin drink. For gin and tonic, use high-quality tonic water that is not too sweet or artificial. For gin and soda, use plain or flavored soda water that is not too fizzy or overpowering. For gin cocktails, use fresh and natural ingredients, such as fruit juices, herbs, and spices. Avoid using mixers that are too sugary, acidic, or bitter, as they can mask the flavor of the gin.
- Choose the right garnish: The garnish can add a touch of color, flavor, and flair to your gin drink. For gin and tonic, use a slice of lime, lemon, or grapefruit, or a sprig of rosemary, mint, or thyme. For gin and soda, use a slice of cucumber, apple, or strawberry, or a twist of orange, lemon, or grapefruit peel. For gin cocktails, use a cocktail cherry, an olive, or a cocktail onion, or a flower, a berry, or a leaf. Experiment with different garnishes to find your favorite combination.
How to Enjoy Gin: Some Cocktail Recipes
Here are some easy and delicious cocktail recipes that you can try at home with your gin:
- Martini: The classic and iconic gin cocktail that is simple and sophisticated. To make a martini, stir 2 oz of London dry gin and 1 oz of dry vermouth with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an olive or a lemon twist. You can find more variations of the martini here.
- Negroni: The perfect balance of bitter, sweet, and strong. To make a negroni, stir 1 oz of London dry gin, 1 oz of Campari, and 1 oz of sweet vermouth with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with an orange peel. You can learn more about the history and the variations of the negroni here.
- Gin and Tonic: The refreshing and versatile gin drink that can be enjoyed any time of the day. To make a gin and tonic, fill a highball glass with ice and add 2 oz of your favorite gin. Top with tonic water and garnish with a lime wedge or your choice of botanicals. You can find some tips and tricks to make the perfect gin and tonic here.
- Gin Fizz: The fizzy and creamy gin drink that is light and refreshing. To make a gin fizz, shake 2 oz of gin, 1 oz of lemon juice, and 1 tsp of sugar with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a Collins glass and top with soda water. For a variation, add an egg white to the shaker and shake well before straining. This will create a frothy and silky texture. Garnish with a lemon slice or a cherry. You can find more gin fizz recipes [here].
- Gin Basil Smash: The herbal and aromatic gin drink that is fresh and flavorful. To make a gin basil smash, muddle a handful of basil leaves and 1 oz of lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 oz of gin and 1/2 oz of simple syrup and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with more basil leaves. You can find the original recipe and the story behind this drink [here].
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about gin. Cheers! 🥂