Gin Is In!
From early apothecary tincture to potable scourge responsible for “Gin Crazed” early 18th century London, gin truly has a storied history.
While the spirit’s more contemporary tale has largely been relegated to G&T’s and classic gin cocktails, there is no doubt that a gin rejuvenation is currently distilling among bartenders and cocktail drinkers alike.
Indeed, gin is back in around the world, and a global resurgence of bottles are starting to arrive on local shelves.
To understand this renewed interest in gin requires both a close look at the various gin styles, as well as an appreciation of the changing spirits industry in general.
London Dry Gin
London Dry Gin is the classic of everyday gins; it’s the gin you would expect in your martini, the one gin you likely already have in your bar and the gin known for being both dry and juniper-forward thanks to the addition of botanicals during second or third distillation.
Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, Tanqueray – all the big names in gin – pour a London Dry.
Old Tom Gin
A sweeter, smoother version of London Dry, Old Tom is actually an antiquated gin style that has found new favor largely thanks to the craft cocktail scene.
Often imbued with citrus, at times seeing the addition of simple syrup or other sweet additives, Old Tom comes across as approachable and easy-going.
For an authentic taste of a Tom Collins or a Singapore Sling, it’s Old Tom Gin that should be poured.
New Western Dry Gin
Not content with following the classics, a new breed of gin producers has amped up the botanical quotient, dabbling in both new flavor profiles as well as locally inspired directions.
The result – as a whole – has been labelled New Western Dry Gin, and it is a style that includes everything from Aviation Gin to Victoria Distillers’ Empress 1908 Gin.
Empress 1906 Gin balances classic juniper notes with grapefruit and hints of ginger, cinnamon and rose petals. Butterfly pea flowers provide an all-natural vibrant indigo color that transforms to pink with the addition of tonic or citrus.
Aviation was started by House Spirits Distillery. House Spirits’ owner Christian Krogstad was asked by a restaurateur in Portland, Oregon, to make a “summer gin” in 2004. Magarian joined the team a year later.
The creators came up with the term “New Western Dry Gin” to describe what the distillery was doing: gins where the first taste was botanical, not juniper.
With this, Aviation revolutionized domestic gin because it wasn’t as juniper-forward as the London Drys and Navy Strengths that people were more familiar with.
The flavor profile of Aviation gin is regionally inspired and relies on seven botanicals: juniper, coriander, lavender, cardamom, Indian sarsaparilla, and orange peel.
There has also been a resurgence of pink gin. The original incarnation of pink gin, circa 19th century, was a simple cocktail of gin and Angostura Bitters.
The bitters imbued the drink a blush-like color, and well, the rest is history.
Today, pink gin can refer to a myriad of infused and fruit-based gin spirits, a common example is with berries.
Often sweet and invariably beautiful in the glass, pink gins represent a fun, modern twist on this historical spirit.
The Evolution of Gin
While the styles of gin continue to evolve , it is also worth noting the world-wide explosion in the production of gin.
This is being seen in both classic gin-producing countries like the United Kingdom, where small-scale artisan distillers have set up shop, as well as less expected production areas such as Japan and Italy.
Even Ireland, a tried-and-true whiskey stalwart, has smaller distilleries dabbling in gin.
The contributing factors in the gin resurgence is shared across borders. Put simply, the rise in gin is partly owed to the desire of craft distilleries to produce whisky.
Whisky requires aging in oak barrels, a process that takes time, and therefore money.
Gin, on the other hand, is quickly distilled – a process that is not just fashionable, but can bring in a key revenue stream!
Regardless, thanks to overt attention to detail and a keen sense to infuse locality, gin enthusiasts are being treated to a better selection of gin than ever before.
Video: The Best Beginner’s Guide to Drinking Gin
Kevin Brauch, best known as The Thirsty Traveler, worked the floor with some of the world’s top chefs on Iron Chef America.
In this entertaining Thirsty With a Twist video, he demonstrates the best gin cocktails for converting non gin drinkers into fans.
Recommended Reading (And Great Gifts)
In recent years, gin has shed its old-fashioned image and been reborn as a hot and hip spirit.
The number of brands grows every day and bartenders – and consumers – are now beginning to re-examine gin as a quality base spirit for drinks both simple and complex.
Now, with more brands available than ever before, it is the time to set out what makes gin special, what its flavors are and how to get the most out of the brands you buy.
The body of the book covers 120 gins which Dave has tested four ways – with tonic, with lemonade, in a Negroni and in a martini – and then scored. In addition, each gin is categorized according to an ingenious flavor camp system, which highlights its core properties and allows you to understand how you can best drink it, and therefore enjoy it.
With Gin making record sales across the world, there’s been a boom in new distilleries and a thirst for new ways to enjoy this juniper-based spirit.
Enter Dan Jones, bestselling gin author and cocktail enthusiast, who will make you love this tasty drink even more.
Starting with the history of gin, Dan reveals how the first distilleries opened in the UK in the 1600s, explains the nuts and bolts of making the beverage, as well as all the different trends it has experienced.
He’ll take imbibers on a journey around the world to some of the top producers, uncovers new trends, and shares over 100 tasty recipes, from classic cocktails, batch drinks, new concoctions, homemade syrups and more, and answers all the gin questions you were afraid to ask.
Featuring stylish photography and illustrations throughout, The Big Book of Gin is a comprehensive guide to the renaissance of one of the world’s most celebrated spirits.
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