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Comparing Gin Brands


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I'll cast another vote for regular Bombay for Martinis (not Sapphire) because of its strong aromatics, with Beefeater as my second choice. Tanqueray is suitable for mixing with tonic water. Hendricks is certainly a good one to try, but it's atypical.

Personally, I prefer Bloody Marys made with gin over the usual, boring, vodka.

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When I started getting involved with gin-based cocktails, Plymouth was able to easily lead me down the path. I always keep it on hand, along with Beefeater, Junipero, and Tanqueray and whatever else I may have picked up to taste.

The makers of Tanqueray, in all its incarnations, should be jailed.

Obviously, everyone has their own personal opinions as to brands, but it certainly seems like some of our esteemed posters like their Aviations made with none other than Taqueray - see Kinsey on the Aviation.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The makers of Tanqueray, in all its incarnations, should be jailed. 

Ok, so impeccably clean distillation, a refusal to abandon the full, traditional proof and a fearless embrace of the juniper berry are now indictable offenses? I'll make a note.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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One more vote for Bombay (not Sapphire) when it comes to a basic martini that doesn't break the bank. I don't find it "masculine." I think of Junipero and Tanqueray as masculine and too overpowering for a martini. I also like a gin no one has mentioned and indeed doesn't seem widely available, and that's a London gin called Juniper Green. It happens to be organic, for what that's worth. It's delicate and very nice for a martini.

For gin & tonics perhaps a bolder gin is better? I haven't found one I really like. We've used Tanqueray but it's kinda klutzy I think. I haven't tried Plymouth or Hendricks; anyone able to describe them?

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I am another homebar newbie who has been working on this exact same project - developing a gin pallete. That is, I love gin, but I don't know which type I like or what the different brands are like. My plan overall plan is to buy 4 fairly different gins, try them in a G&T, an aviation, and a martini. My budget doesn't allow me to go to a bar for gin tasting. Instead, I'm slowly accumulating bottles. I spent hours reading the pages and pages of gin reviews out there, not to find the favorites, but to get a good spectrum. I decided on Plymouth, Tangueray, Bombay or Beefeater (I'm up in the air), and Hendrick's. If I lived somewhere like CA, I might replace the Hendrick's with the Aviation gin.

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...

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

I'm pretty sure the search engine doesn't handle three letter words like "gin". Besides the info you'll likely get in this thread though, you can search by the names of different gin brands in the body of the threads and then have the search report by thread. In this way you'll find many other interesting discussions on gin.

Good luck on developing your taste for gin! It is fun to experiment with the different styles of gins in different cocktails and drinks.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I am another homebar newbie who has been working on this exact same project - developing a gin pallete.  That is, I love gin, but I don't know which type I like or what the different brands are like.  My plan overall plan is to buy 4 fairly different gins, try them in a G&T, an aviation, and a martini.  My budget doesn't allow me to go to a bar for gin tasting.  Instead, I'm slowly accumulating bottles.  I spent hours reading the pages and pages of gin reviews out there, not to find the favorites, but to get a good spectrum.  I decided on Plymouth, Tangueray, Bombay or Beefeater (I'm up in the air), and Hendrick's.  If I lived somewhere like CA, I might replace the Hendrick's with the Aviation gin.

A quite sensible approach - and then you can even try your cocktails using different proportions (e.g. a 3:1 martini vs. a 5:1 martini vs. a 50-50). You might also pick up some bitters and add those to your repertoire, perhaps even making a martinez along the way.

Enjoy the ride.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Thanks, guys! I just picked up a bottle of Plymouth, and I'm sipping on a 4:1:1 Aviation as I type this. Very tasty - much more than I had expected.

Busboy, perhaps a bit of background is in order. I actually am a bartender. About a year ago I was stuck in a really lousy job and looking for something different, and I went to a bartending school as a sort of "well, why not?" option. Note that I had never really drunk alcohol at all; didn't like that ubiquitous alcohol flavor I found in all the wine, beer, and cocktails I ever tried. Anyway, I passed the bar school course, and they got me a lead on a really good bartending gig, which I have been doing ever since. (In retrospect, I didn't get much out of the school beyond that one job lead, but that alone was well worth the time and money).

Anyway, I found that I really enjoyed what I was doing, especially the detailed and eclectic knowledge about all sorts of spirits. I realized I would have to start drinking to ever really move beyond beer-tap-jockey as a 'tender - and the bar I work at has a pretty limited selection of spirits (and drinking on the job is verboten anyway), so I have to build up my home bar to play with the interesting stuff. I'm quite enjoying the process of trying out all these, but there is such a huge field of liquors to discover that I decided to do it in a more-or-less organized manner, one major spirit at a time.

And now I've finished off my Aviation, and the last sip was even better than the first. I suppose it should have been, since I really like Maraschino and the smell of juniper. :)

Next up will be a Ginger Rogers (a riff on the mojito, from "The Art of the Bar", using gin and ginger-infused simple syrup) with dinner.

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The makers of Tanqueray, in all its incarnations, should be jailed.

Ok, so impeccably clean distillation, a refusal to abandon the full, traditional proof and a fearless embrace of the juniper berry are now indictable offenses? I'll make a note.

Yea, I'm with Dave in giving this one a big "huh?" Tanqueray is, in my opinion, the Gold Standard for London dry gin.

I am 100% in agreement with busboy that a good way to learn about gin is to avail yourself of a bartender or friend with a wide selection and a good knowledge of gin mixology. Unfortunately, while it's often possible to find a friend with a good knowledge of gin mixology and it's often possible to find a bartender with a wide selection of gin, it is often not possible to find a bartender with a good knowledge of gin mixology or a friend with a wide selection of gin. I mean... you can find those things easily if you live in New York City and have cocktail geeks for friends -- but I'm lucky in that regard.

This brings me to my second disagreement with busboy: I think the Martini is a terrible cocktail with which to introduce one's self to gin. If someone is already a little shy about liking gin, the most gin-forward cocktail in the repertoire isn't a very gentle introduction. It's like taking someone who isn't sure whether they like opera to see Parsifal (all 5 Wagnerian hours of it). Rather, there are plenty of drinks that include gin as an ingredient, and in which gin is a discernible ingredient but one that plays with other flavors. I could see starting with something like a Juniperotivo, then later a Corpse Reviver #2, then later a Monkey Gland, then a Martinez... and then a Martini (not on the same night, mind you!).

Anyway, if juniper-forward gins are scary, I'd suggest Plymouth gin instead of London dry gin. It has a softer overall profile, and mixes beautifully.

--

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  • 8 months later...

I've been looking for information on "Bombay London Dry Gin" only to find very little. Anyone know where I can find basic history and, most importantly, the number and type of botanicals used?

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I've been looking for information on "Bombay London Dry Gin" only to find very little. Anyone know where I can find basic history and, most importantly, the number and type of botanicals used?

From one of last year's Difford's Guides (issue #5.4, with a guide to Gin):

  It is flavoured with eight botanicals:  juniper berries, coriander seeds from Morocco, angelica root from German's Saxony region, liquorice from China, orris (iris root) from Italy, cassia bark from Indo-China, almonds and lemon peel from Spain.

"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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I've been looking for information on "Bombay London Dry Gin" only to find very little. Anyone know where I can find basic history and, most importantly, the number and type of botanicals used?

From one of last year's Difford's Guides (issue #5.4, with a guide to Gin):

  It is flavoured with eight botanicals:  juniper berries, coriander seeds from Morocco, angelica root from German's Saxony region, liquorice from China, orris (iris root) from Italy, cassia bark from Indo-China, almonds and lemon peel from Spain.

And Bombay Sapphire adds cubeb berries and Grains of Paradise. One of the things I like about both of the Bombay gins is that I seem to be able to really sense the taste of the licorice root coming through.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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I've been looking for information on "Bombay London Dry Gin" only to find very little. Anyone know where I can find basic history and, most importantly, the number and type of botanicals used?

I did some research on this a while ago and wrote it up for one internet site or another. I thought it was eGullet, but can't find it right now.

From what I remember, the Bombay brand was created relatively recently from what they claim are historic gin recipes. I'm gonna say 1960s or 1970s, but am not sure about that. Bombay Sapphire gin was one of the first premium gin brands. It was launched by Bacardi in the late 1980s (1987, according to some internet sites I can find.)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Trader Joe's had Rear Admiral Joseph's Original London Dry Gin as a 'TJ's exclusive' for $9. What the heck! Tried it last night in a White Lady. Not a lot of botanicals here. It had trouble coming through the cointreau and lemon juice. It might be a good gin for beginners who aren't ready for too much juniper. The price was good but Gordon's is still my bet for a well priced everyday gin.

KathyM

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The Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, BC is celebrating its 100th birthday and has worked with Winchester Cellars in the development of a handcrafted gin, simply called 'Victoria Gin.' (The label has a picture of a young Queen Victoria.) It's offered at the hotel's lounges, of course, and here is my favourite, The Bengal Lounge. Nice place to sip a cocktail, no? :smile:

gallery_53829_6147_350281.jpg

I haven't tried it yet, but I am looking to buy a bottle this week and have a martini night with a few friends. The recipe details are on the Winchester Cellars website (look under Spirits) and contain a mix of 10 organic and wild-gathered botanicals including juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, orange and lemon peel, cubeb berries, star anise, cinnamon bark and rose petals, as well as a secret ingredient. :biggrin:

I'll have to report back after tasting. It's not inexpensive, though at $49Cdn per bottle. :shock:

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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If I want to try a big, junipery gin - what should it be?

Definitely Old Raj- - -on the higher-price side, but it's the equivalent of being hit in the jowl with a 30mph pine cone.

What is your favorite gin for a G&T?

I like my G&Ts with extra lime, so Rangpur makes a great one (plus its affordable).

What is your favorite for a martini?

When its the taste of the gin you're going for, I love to use Magellan- - -pale blue, iris-flavored, really light and interesting.

What is your favorite for a gimlet?

Again, Rangpur--the lime really stands out. Otherwise, Beefeater, as its on the sweet side.

What do you like for Aviations?

In an odd twist, here is where I like to use Hendricks- - the cucumber is subtle enough and the botanicals in Hendricks are pretty gentle as to make a light, well-balanced cocktail.

My two personal favorite gin drinks are the classic French 75 (made using Quintessential), and a gin cocktail (whose name escapes me) made with Magellan, 1tsp Parfait Amour, 1tsp Pernod, and 2tsp Lillet (or white vermouth).

Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

"life is a combination of magic and pasta"

-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

-J. Child

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  • 1 month later...
We have Millers, Plymouth, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks and Tanqueray 10.  Tried Gordons and didn't think it had as much flavor as the Sapphire we were drinking at the time.  (But I could be wrong.)  After reading this thread, I realize that I still don't much about gin.  I learned this past weekend not to make gimlets with the Millers again!  What a waste of good gin, IMHO.  It was completely overwhelmed by the lime.  I thought that Sapphire and Plymouth were "big" gins when compared to Millers and Hendricks.  Now I find that they are almost considered to be in the same class as Tanqueray 10, which I categorize as "lighter".

I see lots a different opinions here and would like a little direction from this esteemed group.

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

What is your favorite gin for a G&T?

What is your favorite for a martini?

What is your favorite for a gimlet?

What do you like for Aviations?

Thanks for your help. :smile:

I just went to a gin tasting at Astor Center in NYC, with a blind tasting of 18 gins plus cocktails by brand reps and guest mixologists. Very informative, especially for an enthusiastic but not hugely experienced gin hound like myself.

Based on one person's (uh, me) notes, I'd say:

1. Heavy juniper -- D H Krahn had the most juniper-heavy front for me.

2. G & T -- Beefeater does fine for everyday use, although it has a rather sharp finish, the tonic hides it. And it's cheap.

3. Not much of a martini drinker, but my new fave gin was a big surprise -- Whitley Neill, a newcomer from Britain with a complex, spicy profile -- might make a very interesting martini, playing off the vermouth for those who actually add vermouth to their gin!

4. Tanq's Rangpur lime was too syrupy and all lime for me, but those qualities might fit perfectly in a gimlet, though you'd have to back off on the simple syrup and lime juice. Myself, I'd stick with Gordon's or Beefeater.

5. Hmmm, with an Aviation I'd be curious to see how it worked with Blue Coat, or any other premium brand that's light on the juniper, like Aviation (not surprisingly) or Broker's or Zuidam.

Looking forward to hearing what other folks have to say!

Yojimbo

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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  • 1 month later...
Just had a great time talking with Johnny Neill, the distiller of the remarkable Whitley Neill gin, a complex, smooth gin that's not-quite-dry but definitely London. You can read more in here.

Chris,

Did you get a chance to talk to Mr. Neill about what inspiration drove him to through baobob fruit and cape gooseberries into the still, other than "they're from Africa?"

BTW, they've promised to donate a bit of their profits from Whitley Neill to a tree planting project in Africa, so the more you drink, the more you give!

Enjoying the reporting from the front lines of the festival,

Yojimbo

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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Thanks, Yojimbo. I didn't ask, but, having tasted the product, my guess is that he felt that the citrus and botanical character of gin supported the inclusion of those elements -- and I'm sure he added several others that don't serve the marketing purposes to the same degree.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Some bad news on the Plymouth front.

I was talking Friday to the owner of a local liquor store and he said that due to a recent increase in the price he will be forced to raise the price of Plymouth Gin, if he hasn't already, about $10 a bottle. In SF, that means going from around $27 to $37.

He said something about Brown-Forman having sold Plymouth as a loss leader to promote other brands. Plymouth's new owner, Pernod-Ricard apparently, doesn't look at it that way and will now begin selling it in the luxury category of gins.

Though, googling, I do see some industry sites that were saying, in the spring, that Pernod-Ricard was hoping sell of the Plymouth Brand to another firm within 6 months or so. Maybe a shallow attempt to increase the price they are getting for the brand?

I like Plymouth a lot, but I just don't see myself spending nearly $40 a bottle to keep it in the house.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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