Gin 101: Everything You Need to Know

Happy April! I’m a bit belated on that, but I’ve been out of town so I think I get a pass. I’m back now, though, and I’m excited to be back in the blogging game. I’ve missed you guys!

We’re exploring gin this month. I have to be honest with you, though: gin is not my favorite. But it’s growing on me. When I was younger, I think the strong, herbal, almost medicinal taste of cheap gin turned me away. But now, I’m learning to like those complex flavors. I’ve got a gin guide for you today, so you can be more informed about what bottle to buy for all my cocktail recipes this month.

Now, let’s say chin-chin to gin! // susannah

Gin Guide

Nicknamed Mother’s Ruin, gin is a colorless spirit that is usually unaged. It’s made by distilling grains with juniper berries and other aromatics, or botanicals.

Juniper berries are a natural diuretic, and they’ve been used as medicine for centuries. The folks at Serious Eats wrote a fabulous history of gin that explains its roots in Italy, Holland and — of course — Great Britain.

Juniper berries, coriander seed, cardamom pod, citrus peels and cassia bark are just a few of the aromatics that often flavor gin.

Types of gin: 

  • London dry is what most people know as gin. It’s light-bodied and the best for gin-and-tonics, aviations and dry martinis.
  • Plymouth is a rich gin that’s only made in Plymouth, England. It is clean and dry, and suitable anytime you’d use a London dry.
  • A sweeter, more full-bodied version, Old Tom is best for Tom collinses, gin rickeys and martinezes.
  • Genever is the original gin, less herbal and more sippable. Drink it straight or mix it in a John collins or a gin fix.
  • The international style pulls from a wider variety of botanicals worldwide, bringing more worldly flavors to gin.
  • Sloe gin is a fruity version of gin, traditionally plum-flavored. More often than not, it is a misnomer made with vodka and flavoring.

What it tastes like: Herbal, juniper, citrus, smooth, floral, pepper, grassy, spicy, vanilla, licorice, fruity, earthy, bright, piney

Brands of Gin

Popular brands: Tanqueray, Blue Sapphire, Beefeater, Boodles, Plymouth, Hayman’s, Ransom, Bols Genever, Genevieve, Hendrick’s, DH Krahn, Whitley Neill, Seagram’s, Burnett’s, New Amsterdam, Gibley’s, Broker’s, Bulldog, Citadelle

Feast + West favorites: London dry — Tanqueray, Beefeater, TOPO (local – N.C.), Cardinal (local – N.C.)

Gin Recipes

Starring roles: Martini, Gimlet, Gin + Tonic, Jasmin, Negroni, Martinez, Tom Collins, Gin Rickey

Feast + West drinks: Blackberry Gin + Tonic // French 75 // Improved Gin + Jam Cocktail // Pink Lady // Gin Daisy // Blackberry Ramos Gin Fizz // Elderflower Rose Gimlet

World Gin Day: June 13, 2015

Further reading

(Sources // Saveur, Serious Eats)

The Golden Ratio Guide:

Mix the perfect cocktail, every time

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!