Among the spirits, the gin is something like the perfect son-in-law – it makes it almost impossible not to like it. At least if you follow a few basic rules. Then those who find juniper too bitter as the most important flavor giver will also find a personal favorite.
5 tips for enjoying gin from spirits expert Roland Graf.
1. Try – a Lot And Right!
The gin has a basic problem: it is practically hardly drunk neat. Seldom does anyone just drink it over ice? The rest of them consume cocktails, preferably the simple highball with tonic water. That’s why it should be tasted that way.
And no matter how many plastic thimbles are enough to try at the airport: You can’t fully judge the gin here. Because three ingredients change it massively later with tonic.
- The bitter quinine
- The fruit, usually lemon
- And most of all the carbon dioxide
- The slogan that the British brand “Fever Tree” coined also applies to all other fillers: The “Mixer”, or the tonic, makes up two-thirds of the “G&T”.
And the combination raises very idiosyncratic grades. On the one hand, this applies to the filigree gins, which in the “G&T” are often drowned out against distinctive tones. Subtle aromas in pure enjoyment are essential for stored spirits such as cognac or whiskey. With gin, they should be consumed with caution. The tide may lift all boats, the tonic never lifts all nuances. Suddenly the lime can “explode” or the subtle flowery smell like chewing gum in a balloon glass.
What can be done about it? Cost a lot and ideally with your personal favorite tonic and any additions. Note: not every gin loves cucumbers, pink grapefruit slices, or strawberries as much as you do!
2. Be Inspired
You don’t have to be a mixological connoisseur, but you quickly realized that the number of gin drinks is significantly higher than that with single malts. But with gin, in particular, almost every personal preference can be catered for.
An example that is rarely mixed at the home bar, but is great for all fans of savory flavors: “Red Snapper” is the name of the variant of the vodka drink “Bloody Mary”, which is prepared with gin. It is worth buying celery salt for this drink alone. The drink shows the spicy side of the gin particularly well and it is also suitable for everyone who does not like tomato juice. It also works with tomato water (strained red vegetables, not the chunky puree). A great drink in summer and with a steak or burger!
The gin can be fruity just as well. Classic recipes such as the “Clover Club” (with raspberries) or Dick Bradsell’s “Bramble” (blackberry liqueur) may be known. But an ancestor of the “Cosmopolitan” also used cranberry juice and gin.
For friends, the “Harpoon” is an interesting recipe that emphasizes tart gins and emphasizes earthy tones with the tannin of the fruit. And of course, you can also let your favorite herbs and vegetables inspire you to find an alternative to the eternal ” gin & tonic “.
3. Feel Your Way
There is kind of a basic recipe for gin, but as you would say in music, it’s a subject with variations. In addition to the juniper (this is required by law at EU level), the focus is on amplifiers of the tart tones – mostly roots – and a freshness dispenser, which usually consists of one or more citrus fruits.
So three ingredients are something like the minimum. There is no upper limit, as not only the Black Forest “Monkey 47” proves with just as many aromas. Although it is not always said that you can taste every “botanical” that is written on the label. If it is there at all. Because the spirits industry likes to be secretive. “Old family recipes” and “secret botanicals” are the order of the day.
In addition, some ingredients do not even have the task of giving off-taste themselves, but rather play the role of a “fixative” – this is what substances are called in perfume production that binds other flavors. This is often what the cocktail bitter does in cocktails.
And there is another quirk you can learn at the bar for gin enjoyment: it’s about balance. If your personal taste is a little too much, you can counteract this. If you only like the tartness of gin in moderation, a fruity tonic is the order of the day. If the distillate looks too earthy, a citrus zest will refresh you. If the gin is too flowery, dry partners should be chosen. And a blend of two gins is not forbidden if it results in the personal optimum on the palate.
4. Expand The Cosmos
The variety of gins is by no means exhausted with the new additions of the last decade. Anyone who has found a taste for it should also get to know the “Wacholder family”. The oldest of these is the grandpa of gin, the Dutch genever or its Belgian counterpart. In its strongholds, Schiedam and Hasselt, the “Moutwjin” is used in different proportions. The “malt wine” is based on burned grain malt and is blended with grain brandy before both are flavored with herbs. It is always mentioned in the history of gin when it comes to how it became the British national drink. As the genever gave courage to the Dutch comrades in arms, it was nicknamed “Dutch Courage”,
And then you shouldn’t forget the independent tradition that is associated with the name “Doppelwacholder”. The name actually only defines the alcohol (at least 38% vol.), But the distillation of “Kranewitt”, as the berry is also called, goes back a long time. In Berchtesgaden, the Grassl gentian distillery can trace its privilege of distilling juniper back to 1692. But Gerhard Liebl in the Bavarian Forest also cultivated the “Doppelwacholder” cultural asset – with which the Berlin bar “Beckett’s Head” mixes.
5. Support Local Burners
Anyone who has ticked off the first four points of the juniper checklist can dare to try the gin freestyle. Long transport routes are not “sexy” and the “lockdown” at the latest has opened the eyes to the local offers.