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Comparing Gin Brands

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If I want to try a big, junipery gin - what should it be?

Tanqueray is pretty much the gold standard for a "ginny gin."

I also think Gordon's does pretty well in this regard, and was susprised to see that you thought it had a less emphatic flavor than Bombay Sapphire. My impressions run entirely counter to yours, but that's why they play the game.

What is your favorite gin for a G&T?

I have two criteria for G&T gin: 1. emphatic juniper character that cuts through the tonic water; and, 2. not too expensive, as I don't think one can appreciate subtle distinctions between superpremium gins when mixing a proper G&T. This leads me directly to Gordon's.

What is your favorite for a martini?

Whew. That's a big question. I don't have one favorite. Plymouth and Tanqueray strike me as the classics. I also appreciate Hendrick's (garnished with a paper thin slice of cucumber) and Boodle's. All depends on what you're looking for.

These days I'm mixing my martinis at no more than 2:1 or 3:1.

What is your favorite for a gimlet?

I wish we could get Plymouth Navy Strength. That would be my default Gimlet gin. For a variety of reasons, it's good to have a higher proof gin for Gimlets. Junipero is high proof, and a good gin. But it seems a bit of a waste to use something that costs that much in a Gimlet.

These days I'm making "Gimlets" with lime zest-infused simple syrup and lime juice rather than Rose's (I use quotation marks because Rose's is a required ingredient for a real gimlet).

What do you like for Aviations?

I'm not sure that an Aviation has any requirements that especially lend it to one brand of gin or another -- although Kurt's comments make me want to try it with Broker's. Tanqueray or Gordon's would be my first thought, depending on how much money I felt like pouring into the glass and which was at the front of the liquor closet. But I'm just as likely to make it with Plymouth or Boodle's or any of the usual suspects.

I'd probably stay away from the unusually flavored gins or more subtly flavored gins such as Hendrick's, Tanqueray 10, Bombay Sapphire, etc.


--

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What is your favorite for a gimlet?

I wish we could get Plymouth Navy Strength. That would be my default Gimlet gin. For a variety of reasons, it's good to have a higher proof gin for Gimlets. Junipero is high proof, and a good gin. But it seems a bit of a waste to use something that costs that much in a Gimlet.

What do you like for Aviations?

I'm not sure that an Aviation has any requirements that especially lend it to one brand of gin or another -- although Kurt's comments make me want to try it with Broker's. Tanqueray or Gordon's would be my first thought, depending on how much money I felt like pouring into the glass and which was at the front of the liquor closet. But I'm just as likely to make it with Plymouth or Boodle's or any of the usual suspects.

Well, Sam, the good news is that Broker's is a reasonably priced gin. It's $15 for 750 ml here in Chi so it won't break the bank if you want to pick some up. Also, it's 94 proof so you may well find it to be good for your "Gimlets" also. I must admit that I've never had a Gimlet. I used to drink Tequila Gimlets and Vodka Gimlets back in the day but I've never had one as God (and Raymond Chandler) intended. There are so many ingredients with far more appeal than Rose's that I haven't quite gotten around to it.

As for Plymouth Navy Strength, I have a couple friends doing some international travel in a couple months. I'm hoping at least one of them can pick up a bottle of the Navy Strength for me. [fingers crossed]

Kurt


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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I enjoy Broker's in G&T and in Negroni, the 2 drinks I use Gin for. It is also very moderatly priced.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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What do you like for Aviations?

I'm not sure that an Aviation has any requirements that especially lend it to one brand of gin or another -- although Kurt's comments make me want to try it with Broker's.

I think i agree with Kurt, an aviation benefits from a citrussy gin rather than a junipery one. I've been using Gordon's Distillers Cut recently (more citrussy and spicey than standard gordons) and think it makes a better Aviation than the other two gins i've got on the go at the moment (Blackwoods 2003 vintage, which is very floral and light , makes a great G &T and even better neat and South (a so called premium gin from New Zealand that i think is plain dull) or standard Gordons.

that said, i use standard Gordons for Aviations and everything else when i'm at my pub and still enjoy the results.

Gethin

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This thread has me thinking (always a dangerous thing).

It's funny how spoiled for choice we are with Gin.

Just doing some cursory web research, Broker's, Miller's, Hendrick's, Boodles, Bombay and quite a few other brands all had their inception within the last few decades.

What do folks consider the "classic" brands of Gin? Tanqueray, Plymouth, Gilbey's, Bols, and Gordon's? What Gins would people have been using during the "Golden Age" of cocktails, if there ever was one?

Are there real differences between the European versions of these brands and the US ones? I've read several comments that the English version of Gordon's is different from the US version. Is it just the base spirit and water, or are other elements different?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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If I want to try a big, junipery gin - what should it be?

Tanqueray is pretty much the gold standard for a "ginny gin."

I also think Gordon's does pretty well in this regard, and was susprised to see that you thought it had a less emphatic flavor than Bombay Sapphire. My impressions run entirely counter to yours, but that's why they play the game.

It turns out that I have not tried Gordon's yet. My husband said it was Seagram's we didn't care for. ( I don't know why I decided it was Gordon's. :wacko: ) I'll have to pick up a bottle of Gordon's to try this weekend.


KathyM

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Currently in the freezer are Millers (my current favorite), Junipero (rather sharp), Juniper Green Organic (also on the sharp side), and VanGogh (indifferent). Usually Hendricks is the house brand, or Bombay Saphire. Tanqueray and T10 are too light for my preference (Kinda like milk chocolate...It's chocolate so it is good, if I had my druthers, it would be dark chocolate). Only once did I order a martini and fogeot to specify gin brand. Ended up with bar brand. shudder. blech.


All that is needed for evil to survive is for good people to do nothing

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Juniper Green Organic (also on the sharp side)

they just started stocking this locally (and quite reasonably next to most of the other gins in this thread) - how does it stack up to the others you've mentioned. I'm going to assume the juniper is rather front and centre but i'm curious for other impressions.


"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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If you can find it, Juniper Green Organic Gin is excellent although frequently use Gordon's for mixing. Hendrick's is quite nice too.

My favorite gin cocktails are the Aviation, Twentieth Century Cocktail and Pegu Club.

Edited to add link.

Organic gin?? How about some free-range Single Malt Scotch?


Martinis don't come from vodka and bacon don't come from turkeys!

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Organic gin?? How about some free-range Single Malt Scotch?

Well the distillers do make better products when they're not cooped up in those cages all day... :)

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In my quest to learn about cocktails, I've been working through one liquor a month. At first, I mixed with rum. Those were some good times. Then, I tried some rye drinks. I think I've finally perfect the Sazerac, which is the cocktail I'm most familiar with from bars and restaurants. Now, I'm moving on to gin.

Could someone offer some advice on trying a gin or two? Is there a range of taste of that I should be looking for? Are there two or three basic varieties for most cocktails?


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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You'll see lots of recommendations at top bars for Plymouth, which is affordable, mixes well, and isn't trying to be vodka. It's my house gin, though I'm happy to have Tanqueray and Hendrick's around, too.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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This thread is very interesting and illuminating. I don't drink much anymore, but when I do drink hard liquor, a G & T is my choice. For years, I've used Tanqueray as my gin (for G & T) but last week I was a state liquor store (in OR) to buy something else and saw all these different types of gin . . . . then I found this thread and am now wondering if it's time to try a new gin. It's been warmer than normal this summer, which has also turned my thoughts towards how nice a G & T might taste on some warmish summer evening.

Has anyone heard of/tasted Cascade Mountain gin and/or Desert Juniper gin? What did you think? Both of these are stocked in the town's state liquor store. Otherwise I saw Hendrick's & Plymouth gin and can't remember what else (should've taken notes).

azurite

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I am not a gin expert, and in fact -- due to a ubiquitous "bad experience" with the elixer -- hadn't had it in years before someone introduced me to Hendricks this winter. Now I love and appreciate all good gins.

But an older, Scottish friend of mine, when I asked if he knew Hendricks (being that it's Scottish), basically pooh-poohed it and all other overly complicated gins with unending varieties of top-secret floral and herbal blends.

He likes what I guess is old-style British gin in which juniper is the predominant flavor, uncomplicated by things like rose petals and cucumber nuance.

I can see his point, and I can also see appreciating both kinds. Isn't Plymouth more of the traditional type gin?

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I haven't tried either of the Bend Distillery gins, Cascade or Desert Juniper as of yet.

There is another topic solely devoted to newer gin bottlings.

New Generation Gins, Notes on the new bottlings

As much as I like to support new and interesting small distillers, it really is pretty tough to beat Beefeater, Plymouth, and Tanqueray, especially for the money.

I've been hearing some good things about the Seagram's Distiller's Reserve as a decent well priced gin, and may give that a try the next time I finish a bottle.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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As much as I like to support new and interesting small distillers, it really is pretty tough to beat Beefeater, Plymouth, and Tanqueray, especially for the money.

I've been hearing some good things about the Seagram's Distiller's Reserve as a decent well priced gin, and may give that a try the next time I finish a bottle.

Agreed all the way around. I also will throw Broker's in as a tough-to-beat brand. I have sampled a few higher-end gins, but Tanq, Bombay, Plymouth, Beefeater, and Broker's remain my top 5 (in no particular order). I do enjoy Miller's, too, but the price of the higher-strength bottling is too much for regular use.

I noted that Ted Haigh recommended/prefers the Distiller's Reserve for the cocktail he discusses in the current Imbibe. Interesting, and enough to send me scurrying out to pay $11.99 (!) to try it. I like the proof, as it's old school, and I look forward to trying it in a Vesper (Gordon's, IIRC, was 100-proof gin when the recipe first appeared in print).


Tim

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The Seagram's Distiller's Reserve is surprisingly good, and at $12.99 at BevMo, hard to beat for the price. Simon Difford gave it 4 1/2 stars in his recent guide to gin.

It won't replace any of my usual favorites (Plymouth, Beefeater's, and Bombay, and No. 209 or Martin Miller's when I'm feeling flush) but I'll gladly pick it up again.


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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Has anyone tried the Kensington aged Gin? I'm intrigued by it. In The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks Embury breaks Gin into two classes -- White and Yellow, and professes that is favorite, at least for Martinis, is one of the Yellows, House of Lords. Kensington seems to be a Yellow Gin, so I'd like to try it. I haven't seen it anywhere in my travels, however. Apart from Kensington, Seagram's seems to be the only aged Gin on the market. I haven't picked up a bottle of the 100 proof yet, but I'll definately be trying it soon.

I am a fan of Citadelle but it doesn't work in everything. I'll echo what everyone else is saying -- Plymouth is great, it mixes with everything. And makes a pretty nice Martini to boot.

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I am slowly working on developing a home bar and taste for alcohol, and it's about time for me to take a step into the world of gin (until now, I have focused on experiencing sugar cane spirits). There are just way to many really interesting looking cocktails based on gin for me to ignore any longer.

So, what would you folks recommend as a first gin? Price isn't really an object for me, though I don't think I need to grab something like Old Raj quite yet. I have been planning on Plymouth, as I see it recommended by name in a lot of recipes, and it appears to be pretty highly regarded amongst internet cocktail geeks. :)

What think ye?


Edited by Penwu (log)

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Boodles. Best gin for the price by far (it's just a little more expensive than Bombay Sapphire) Smooth and floral and herbaceous and flavorful. I've had it straight, and I don't like straight gin. Boodles, though, I like.


"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Umm. You think you might be taking this a bit to seriously?

First, making "developing a taste for for alcohol" your self-improvement project for the year is a little odd. It's supposed to be fun. It's not grammar, it's drinking. If you don't like the stuff, don't put it in your mouth. If you kind of like it, don't make it homework (though tasting Barbados Rhum beats the shit out of 750 words on Hamlet's relationship with his father). Just drink what sounds good or seems interesting. This will not be on te test.

Second, if you like gin (if you don't like gin, don't drink it; while there are wine snops and beer snobs and vodka drones, nobody really cares what gin you drink), go to a bar that serves gin. Ask the bartender which gin he likes and have him make a martini for you. Drink it. Then ask for his second favorite and drink it. And so on until you've tried them all. This will probably take several days, depending you capacity, but if you start Wednsday you can have a working knowledge of the world of gin by the time the Thanksgiving holiday has wound down.

By the time you've had 10 or 12 martinis, you'll know whether you even like the stuff at all and have a basic grasp of different styles. There are probably 10,000 wines worth tasting, there are probably 20 gins. Trust yourself, right?

FWIW, I like Bombay when I'm feeling brutally masculine (hardcore juniper and no prisoners taken. Sapphire is for wimps). I like 209 when I'm feeling more poetic. Boodles is OK and has immense snob appeal (I assume Mr. Coonce drinks it for the flavor, and accepts the cachet as a fringe benefit :wink: ). The makers of Tanqueray, in all its incarnations, should be jailed.

By the way, search "gin" on this site and you get a number of topics.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I totally disagree. Gaining a taste for something by way of effort isn't a bad thing. While it'd be nice if it were totally natural, many of us didn't grow up anywhere around, say, hard spirits, and getting over those college experiences -- shots of Jamesons, anyone? Bacardi? -- can be a major project. Am I happy I trained myself to like whiskey and rum? Hell, yes. Sometimes, in order for it to be fun, and to enjoy something the way others do without violent flashbacks to that terrible frat party your roomate took you to, treating booze like a science experiment can broaden some seriously delicious horizons.

But come on, this is egullet -- preaching to the choir and all....

And the real point: Plymouth for my fizz, Beefeater for my negroni, and Junipero or Aviation any ol' way you like. Yum.


Edited by notahumanissue (log)

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I totally disagree.  Gaining a taste for something by way of effort isn't a bad thing.  While it'd be nice if it were totally natural, many of us didn't grow up anywhere around, say, hard spirits, and getting over those college experiences -- shots of Jamesons, anyone? Bacardi? -- can be a major project.  Am I happy I trained myself to like whiskey and rum?  Hell, yes. Sometimes, in order for it to be fun, and to enjoy something the way others do without violent flashbacks to that terrible frat party your roomate took you to, treating booze like a science experiment can broaden some seriously delicious horizons. 

But come on, this is egullet -- preaching to the choir and all....

And the real point: Plymouth for my fizz, Beefeater for my negroni, and Junipero or Aviation any ol' way you like.  Yum.

Very well put. There are plenty of foods and drinks that take more than one taste to appreciate. Drinking only what we like on first sip would lead to a bunch of people drinking nothing more than chocolate milk...mmmm

For my martinis, Beefeater is the standby, with Hendricks and Plymouth up there for variety. My wife loves Hendricks for its floral characteristics.

Good luck and enjoy.


Edited by adegiulio (log)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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And the real point: Plymouth for my fizz, Beefeater for my negroni, and Junipero or Aviation any ol' way you like.  Yum.

I like your style. I have three different types of Gin and use them for different cocktails as well. The negroni definitely needs a very sturdy Gin.

To the original question, you should definitely start with Plymouth. You'll be amazed in such a short time how much you love Gin. Just the other day I told my wife, "...over half the cocktails I make contain Gin."

Try making a Bramble. I use Chambord in mine, but this will be a great introduction to how Gin can taste in a cocktail without being overpowering.

Ingredients:

2 oz. Plymouth Gin

1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/2 oz. Simply Syrup (50:50)

1/2 oz. Chambord

Raspberries or Blackberries (garnish)

Method:

1. Shake first three ingredients with ice.

2. Strain into shaved ice-filled glass.

3. Slowly pour Chambord over the top of drink.

4. Garnish with berries.


"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry

http://thehopry.com/

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