Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beginner's Flight: Gin

This is going to be a series of posts about how to start sampling different types of spirits if you are a beginner drinker. What's the difference between bourbon, scotch, and Irish whiskey. How is London dry gin different from American or Indian made gin? The best way to figure out what you like is to go out and try things. With so many options out there I thought it would be nice to give newbies a jumping-off point into their world of spirits. I'm trying to find bottles that are available at nearly every liquor store or can be tracked down easily enough. Today, I'm talking about gin. 

To a novice drinker, they might think that all gins are the same, but when you think about it gins are as diverse as flavors of vodka. Any martini drinker will tell you their favorite gin. And they do have a favorite, due to its specific flavor profile and mouthfeel. Different gins from different regions tend to be flavored with different styles of botanicals.

1. Tanqueray.

Tanqueray is one of the oldest gins in production today. It's been around 180 years. It is one of the most juniper prevalent gins on the market today with less than a handful of other flavoring agents. This is very much a pure form of what gin's history was. The juniper does come through in a big way which many purists love.

2. Bluecoat. 
Bluecoat is an American made gin. It's made right in Philadelphia with their local waters. I suppose that's not the best selling point but people like supporting local products. Many beginning gin drinkers like this gin because it has a very strong citrus note. The new flavor of juniper isn't very appealing to a lot of the younger crowd, but the citrus from the lemongrass is a bit more accessible.

3. Bombay Sapphire East. 
Bombay does a large range of gins. Bombay Sapphire East is actually inspired by old Indian recipes with a bit more of a spice to it than the more botanical London Dry Gins. This uses peppercorns to add flavor. It pairs very nicely with some Fevertree Indian Tonic Water. This makes for a very fun tool to use in some new and classic cocktails.

4. Hendrick's.

Hendrick's gin is actually Scottish made. This gin actually uses some unconventional flavoring agents. It has strong notes of cucumber. This is a very playful gin that does kind of break the mold a bit as to what people are used to and has thus become a favorite ingredient for bartenders across the globe. The Hendricks Negroni is a real fan favorite. Some do prefer a more floral or fruity gin, but Hendrick's is certainly worth giving a shot.

Special mentions to: Beefeater, Aviation, Plymouth

"I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I'm under the table, four I'm under my host!"
- Dorothy Parker

Photo Credit: Wikimedia, pikrepo

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