The World Food Tour reveals everything you ever wanted to know about gin!
What is gin made from?
The main way of making gin is to start with a grain neutral spirit (GNS) and then add in botanicals depending on the recipe. To be classed as gin, it must contain juniper—however, there has been some debate over the years as to how much juniper is needed to qualify a spirit as gin. Then it’s the matter of which botanicals are used to influence the flavour, whether it be floral, citrus, spice or something completely unique to that particular gin’s recipe. The variety of botanicals is almost endless, whether sourced on a distillery’s doorstep, or from the other side of the globe.
What is the typical alcohol percentages of gin?
The average gin is bottled at around 40 percent ABV. Many mainstream gins are bottled at 37.5 percent ABV, while premium spirits may be a little higher, sitting between 40 percent and 45 percent ABV. Gin can be even stronger, with historical Navy Strength styles, which are bottled at around 57 percent ABV, also known as 100° proof.
Do you drink gin by itself or with food?
We like to think there’s a place for both! Some drinks, whether straight up or mixed into cocktails can really complement flavours and aromas of certain types of food. Equally, there are some talented chefs who like to incorporate gins and liqueurs into various recipes in the kitchen.
What food goes with gin?
Gin is great with seafood as the strong flavours complement each other well. Stronger infusions of juniper work well with richer flavours, for example salmon and dill dishes. Gins with a gentler profile work well with subtler flavours, such as oysters and crab. Martinis are the perfect cocktails to drink with a seafood dish, as the subtle notes of Vermouth round out the flavour of the gin, thus making it delightfully palatable to accompany food.
How should I store my spirits?
We always recommend storing spirits in a cool dark place, however if you can’t resist showcasing the contents of your home bar, keep an eye on things like liqueurs, as they may lose colour or flavour intensity more quickly if they’re stored in direct daylight. If the bottle is opened there is a possibility that over time it may lose some of its aromatics, however, it should still be drinkable for a long period. And in case you’re wondering, sherry and Vermouth should always be refrigerated.
How can I tell the quality of a gin?
Gin can vary very widely in flavour with different botanicals and alcohol strengths. Generally-speaking, everyone will pick up different nuances of flavour and aroma from different gins. One sure-fire sign for a good quality spirit is that it doesn’t leave an unpleasant alcohol burn on the palate! Many people expect this, however a good gin should have a ‘smooth’ quality about it that makes it pleasant to drink even without a mixer.
What should I take into consideration when buying someone a bottle as a present?
Try to find out if they’re more likely to enjoy mixed drinks such as cocktails or prefer to linger over a slow sip, on the rocks. This can help steer you in the direction of a suitable type of gin, whether a great all-rounder for G&Ts and classic cocktails, or something with a particular flavour profile (whether that’s more floral, citrusy or resinous) to work with their favourite types of cocktails. At the end of the day, don’t be scared to go for something a bit different; surprise them!