The mark of something good is often that it becomes more interesting and enjoyable the more you learn about it. Gin has an interesting history and the more you learn about it, the more pleasure you can take in enjoying the drink.
Recently, gin has become increasingly popular around the world with new distilleries and exclusively gin serving bars popping up.
The history of gin stretches back a thousand years to monasteries in the 11th century. Here alcohol was distilled for medical purposes and the key ingredient of juniper berries were added as they had long been believed to have positive healthy properties.
When distilled alcohol became more widespread for pleasurable consumption, the Dutch and the English especially continued to add juniper berries to their distilled alcohol. By the 17th and 18th centuries, the process of distilling alcohol was still not mastered and the raw alcohol often had an unpleasant flavour and impurities that were hidden by the strong flavour of the juniper berries. As gin was easy to make, it quickly rose to claim the popularity it still holds today.
Among many of the new distilleries that have opened up around the world are the Japanese gin distilleries with a new perspective on gin. The main traditional flavour in gin comes from the juniper berries but other herbs and spices have often been added as well. The Japanese distilleries have been particular good at in introducing subtle but innovative flavours in the gin from native Japanese botanicals. Given the expertise in distilling and the unique quality of plants and herbs, perhaps your next bottle of gin could come from Japan.
There are many ways to enjoy gin, perhaps you even like to drink it neat. Once gin has sparked your curiosity, you can learn lots more and take pleasure in its varieties.
Finally we would like to share our three favourite gin cocktails to make at home or order at your local speak-easy.
If you are in a sophisticated mood and or looking for the perfect welcome drink for your next party, the French 75 is for you.
It is based on a gin sour with 2 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice and 1 part simple syrup, but most importantly it is finished off with a generous amount of champagne.
It is beautiful served in a champagne flute glass with a bit of lemon peel, and you can always use a dry Prosecco or Cava if that is what you have cold at home.
GIN BASIL SMASH
Another cocktail with with a nice balance between sweetness and acidity, but with a basil twist.
Make a large batch of gin sour with gin, lemon and sirup and add a handful of fresh basil leaves to your shaker or even a pestle and mortar. Smash up the basil to let the warm aromatic flavour mix with the iced gin and lemon. You end up with a delicious summer drink for an aperitif with friends or even by the pool. This modern classic was invented in 2008 and your favorite barman will either already know it or be able to make it very easily.
GIN & TONIC
No list of gin cocktails is complete without the classic G&T.
The cocktail came about in an attempt to make tonic water more palatable, because it was used as a medicine agains malaria. Mixing the tonic water with lime, sugar and gin made the “medicine” very popular and the classic cocktail was born.