Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
njduchess

All About Gin, Generally

Recommended Posts

Another good "cooler" type gin drink is Gary Regan's Tart Gin Cooler, which is a hefty shot of gin, a dash of bitters, grapefruit juice and tonic, served over ice in a tall glass.

It's a great afternoon by the pool drink (not that I have a pool, but you get the idea).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate that everyone has an opinion on the best gin for a martini, but what about mixed drinks?

One of the reasons I don't like certain gins mentioned above is that the scent is too strong, almost medicinal, and I think interfers with the pleasure of the martini, but that can and does work in favor of a G&T.

Personally, I find Tanqueray works really well with tonic -- you get a clean, refreshing snap -- unlike any other. And I have yet to come down with malaria, so it must be working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I find Tanqueray works really well with tonic -- you get a clean, refreshing snap -- unlike any other.  And I have yet to come down with malaria, so it must be working.

The quinine-malaria connection has always been a good fall-back position for me! You never know when you're going to be in the tropics next, right?!

I prefer Tanqueray for the classic G&T as well, but the tonic must be Schweppes, as most others are a punk, sweetened version.

Sapphire gets my hands-down vote for a life-sustaining martini.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I appreciate that everyone has an opinion on the best gin for a martini, but what about mixed drinks? 

London Dry Gin of some sort for mixed drinks. Plymouth is fantastic in a Monkey Gland (especially the Benedictine variation). I agree Tanquerey makes a great GNT.

My favorite gin is Anchor's Junipero; but, I just keep it in the freezer and usually drink it straight, though it does make a fine martini.

Lately, I've been interested in traditional Genever gins and want to try Boomsa.

Erik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I've been a gin lover for quite some time. But I would agree with the article, at least within the population of my little circle of friends. I've made aviations or gimlets for many of my friends who, while not professing to "not like gin", also didn't have much experience with it. Now, when most folks come to my place, they request gin drinks, usually whatever I'm having -- "Sure, that sounds good!"

I think possibly that the smell of gin can be a turn-off to a lot of people, especially the "Have you tried Godiva chocolate liqueur? It's HEAVENLY!" type -- i.e., those that want a cocktail for dessert. Gin simply needs to be experienced in one of the handful of truly great cocktails created for it -- the martini, aviation, gimlet, gibson, G&T, or the ramos gin fizz. Experienced in this way, most people do convert!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And, by the way, the recipe in this article for a "Ramos gin fizz" is complete bullshit.

The proper deal always requires egg whites, cream, and orange flower water, and is not nearly as alcoholic as the concoction in the article.

Here's a recipe:

- 2 ounces gin

- 3 drops orange flower water

- 1 egg white

- 1 teaspoon simple syrup

- 1 ounce lemon juice

- 1/2 ounce lime juice

- 1 ounce cream

- Soda water

Mix the crap out of everything. I've seen it done in shakers and milk shake machines. Pour into a festive glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a gin drinker. Gin for me is like tequila, and the last time I drank tequila, I ended up with a tattoo on my shoulder! In any event, as Sam says, the whole gin vs vodka thing has been debated endlessly.

So I'm thinking that 25 years later, I need to get over my gin aversion and try it. Now, I love vodka martinis, usually with Pearl vodka. Would Saphire gin be the way to go to try a gin martini?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gin for me is like tequila, and the last time I drank tequila, I ended up with a tattoo on my shoulder! 

My my my, how I love tequila.

I've never had a gin martini either, although I love gin and tonics. If it matters any, I like Broker's and Bombay better than Sapphire. But again, I've never tried them in martini's, just on the rocks or in gin and tonics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gin for me is like tequila, and the last time I drank tequila, I ended up with a tattoo on my shoulder!

My my my, how I love tequila.

I've never had a gin martini either, although I love gin and tonics. If it matters any, I like Broker's and Bombay better than Sapphire. But again, I've never tried them in martini's, just on the rocks or in gin and tonics.

And if you do straight shots of tequila with a friend who drinks the stuff like water, then you could end up with a butterfly too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I'm thinking that 25 years later, I need to get over my gin aversion and try it.  Now, I love vodka martinis, usually with Pearl vodka.  Would Saphire gin be the way to go to try a gin martini?

Marlene, my vodka-preferring friends all really like martinis made with Tanqueray Ten. It's much less assertive than the regular Tanqueray, with less juniper -- but stands up much better in a martini, in my opinion, than Sapphire. You might give that a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I'm thinking that 25 years later, I need to get over my gin aversion and try it.  Now, I love vodka martinis, usually with Pearl vodka.  Would Saphire gin be the way to go to try a gin martini?

As I said upthread, I think a gin martini is just about the worst way for the ginphobic person to approach of re-approach gin. Much better to try drinks in which gin is only one element among many, and then work your way up to a gin martini. Even then, some people who like gin never develop a taste for modern-style ultradry 8:1 gin martinis.

Some recommendations:

  • Audrey's Gin Gin Mule: gin, mint, lime, simple syrup, ginger beer. Probably the best introduction to gin I know. I have never known anyone who didn't love this drink.
  • A Pegu Club Cocktail: gin, orange curaçao, lime juice, Angostura and orange bitters. I think you had one of these at my house recently.
  • A Corpse Reviver #2: gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, lemon juice, absinthe/pastis.
  • A Monkey Gland: gin, orange, absinthe/pastis and grenadine (or the so-called "American Version" with Benedictine instead of absinthe/pastis).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just met Andy Dawson, one of the co-founders of Broker's Gin. Nice guy. I tried a comparison of his gin and Sapphire at his request and I have to say, after years of drinking Sapphire, that I preferred the Broker's. Bombay Sapphire seemed a bit medicinal after tasting Broker's. I'll have to try Sapphire again after some time passes. I'm sure that a comparison of neat alcohols will not mean the same thing as a cocktail, but all the same, I was very impressed with the Broker's. Plus I scored some cool swag. (bowler's hat shaped pourers)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just met Andy Dawson, one of the co-founders of Broker's Gin. Nice guy. I tried a comparison of his gin and Sapphire at his request and I have to say, after years of drinking Sapphire, that I preferred the Broker's. Bombay Sapphire seemed a bit medicinal after tasting Broker's. I'll have to try Sapphire again after some time passes. I'm sure that a comparison of neat alcohols will not mean the same thing as a cocktail, but all the same, I was very impressed with the Broker's. Plus I scored some cool swag. (bowler's hat shaped pourers)

I'm a fan of Broker's as well. I prefer it to both Bombay (probably my 2nd favorite so far) and Bombay Sapphire. For whatever reason, I don't like Sapphire all that much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I've often heard the quote that "gin is the backbone of cocktail culture" I've also noticed that it's really one of the most difficult spirits to mix with. Just like juniper is difficult to pair in cooking, it's difficult to pair in drinking. Gin doesn't play well with other spirits like bourbon or brandy or rum. Really there are few recipes where gin is required that vodka doesn't seem to do a better job.

Does anyone have any advice when it comes to creating gin cocktails, and figuring out which ones will work and which ones won't?

For instance, gin & lillet works together perfectly; gin and orange juice not so well. Vodka and orange juice works much better; but vodka & lillet really isn't as refreshing.

What sort of flavors does juniper go good with???


Edited by mbanu (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gin is definitely the favored spirit for most "new old school" mixologists, I'd say. It's a white spirit that brings a lot of flavor to the table.

Personally, I think gin is a very easy mixer. At a recent gin tasting sponsored by DISCUS, Audrey Saunders mixed up 5 great gin cocktails, both new and old, that showed gin's versatility. They were: a Corpse Reviver #2 (gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, lemon juice and a drop of absinthe), an Earl Grey MarTEAni (Earl Grey-infused gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white), a Pegu Club (gin, orange curacao, lime juice, orange bitters and Angostura bitters), a Gin-Gin Mule (gin, lime juice, mint, simple syrup and home made ginger beer) and a Jasmine (gin, Cointreau, Campari and lemon juice). These drinks span a very wide variety of flavor profiles -- from sweet to sour to herbal to spicy -- and the gin worked brilliantly in each one.

For me, there is practically no drink that isn't good if you substitute gin for the standard base liquor. Gin muddled with mint and lime over ice with a splash of fizz water ("gin mojito")? Delicious. Gin with Cointreau, lime juice and splash of cranberry ("gin cosmopolitan")? Delicious. Gin, simple syrup and lightly bruised mint over finely crushed ice with a big mint garnish (gin julep)? Delicious. Gin with sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters ("gin manhattan")? Delicious. The list goes on. In fact, many of hypothetical "gin substitution drinks" are real gin drinks.

Needless to say, it's easier to fit gin into a cocktail if you like gin. But I'd rather use gin than vodka in just about any cocktail there is. Gin, at least, brings flavor to the game instead of just alcohol.

Gin doesn't play well with other spirits like bourbon or brandy or rum.

While I'd say this is generally true, I'm not sure it's universally true. There are some good drinks, for example, with gin and rum. That said, by and large it is not advisable to mix with two or more base spirits. It makes for a muddled presentation of flavors.

For instance, gin & lillet works together perfectly; gin and orange juice not so well. Vodka and orange juice works much better; but vodka & lillet really isn't as refreshing.

This is where we part ways. I think gin and orange juice (an Orange Blossom) is infinitely superior to vodka and orange juice (a Screwdriver). In fact, the Orange Blossom was one of my drinks of preference in my early (i.e., underage) drinking years. A Screwdriver doesn't taste like anything but alcoholic orange juice.

It may be the case that you haven't acquired a fondness for gin. Gin does have a tendcy to "dry out" drinks with its botanicals. I regard that as a positive thing, but many people nowadays do have a preference for sweet drinks. Many people nowadays also don't particularly enjoy the taste of alcohol, which is one reason there are so many "sweet flavored liqueur and 3 difference juices mixed with vodka" drinks out there. With gin, it's always clear that you are drinking booze, because nothing else tastes like gin.

It might help to understand your relationshiup with gin if you gave a few more examples of gin drinks you find difficult to like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gins come in a wide variety of flavor profiles as well with respect to juniper and other botanicals and flavorings and this certainly contributes to the final outcome of the drink. This is especially true for 'simpler' cocktails like martinis but can also make a big difference in something like a gin and tonic.

Under the influence (oops, a pun) of more senior mixologists on egullet, I have just started experimenting with different types of gin for different cocktails. There are a quite a few threads addressing this topic on the forum.

For some gin cocktails, the careful measuring of ingredients is also important in striking the right balance. Again, using the martini as an example, the amount of vermouth really affects the end taste and the difference in the optimal amount of vermouth or in another drink, of bitters, for eg., can be quite small. The *optimal* amount is guided by the type of gin and also ones own taste. It's certainly fun experimentation and I've started taking notes on all my drinks, noting amounts and brand names for my favorite drinks. For starting one's experiemnts on a particular cocktail there is again, lots of info in this forum.


Edited by ludja (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're spot on there Sam. I didn't aquire a taste for gin until about 3 years ago, meaning I was deprived for 45. :blink: Anyhow, I now much prefer gin over Vodka for the reasons you cited. I've really not tried mixing it with too many things, however, since I am so fond of the taste of the gin itself--usually just a splash of tonic and a lime slice. And, the only gin I REALLY like is Bombay Sapphire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Really there are few recipes where gin is required that vodka doesn't seem to do a better job.

I think this really comes down to how you define doing a better job. Vodka will disappear into the bacground of a drink and allow the other flavors to play among themselves, as it were. Your drink will essentially taste like the sum of the other ingredient(s) and no more. This is great if you want, say, vibrant fruit flavors.

Gin, on the other hand, makes its presence known, although not necessarily as the dominant ingredient (it depends of course on the level of botanicals in the gin itself, the assertiveness of the other ingredients and the proportions in which they are included). The drink will never have that simple clarity of a vodka drink. Hopefully, though, it will have something more, a blending of flavors which transcends the original ingredients. A proper gin Martini, for instance, tastes neither of gin nor of vermouth, but of Martini; a proper vodka Martini (assuming for the sake of argument that such a thing exists) tastes of ice and coldness with a whiff of vermouth.

And by the way, there are plenty of old drinks that call for gin and rum, or gin and Scotch. Not all of them are good, to be sure, but some of them are. Usually, they'll use gin as a supporting spirit, an accent. Worth playing around with. I'll post a couple of examples when I get a chance.

--DW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those who would like to explore the possibilities of Gin, I can think of no better flight of cocktails than the five Audrey prepared at the Discus event. Make these, and you'll know what gin can do as a mixer.

Corpse Reviver #2

An old-school classic

0.75 oz : Gin

0.75 oz : Cointreau

0.75 oz : Lillet Blanc

0.75 oz : Fresh lemon juice

2 drops : Absinthe, absinthe substitute or pastis

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Earl Grey MarTEAni

An Audrey Saunders original

1.5 oz : Earl Grey tea–infused gin*

1.0 oz : Simple syrup (1:1)

0.75 oz : Fresh lemon juice

1 : Raw egg white

(Infuse 1 tbsp of Earl Grey tea into 8 oz of gin for 2 hours, then filter off tea leaves.)

Shake hard with cracked ice to emulsify the egg white, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist. Half-sugar the rim of the glass, if you like.

Gin-Gin Mule

An Audrey Saunders original

1.5 oz : Gin

0.75 oz : Lime juice

1.0 oz : Simple syrup (1:1)

2.0 oz : Ginger beer*

8 to 10 mint leaves

(Good with store-bought ginger beer but best with homemade: steep 1 pound of chopped ginger together with 1/4 cup of light brown sugar and the juice of two limes in one gallon of hot water for one hour, then strain off and cool.)

Muddle the lime juice, simple syrup, and mint leaves together. Add gin and shake well with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Jasmine

A Paul Harrington original

1.5 oz : Gin

1.0 oz : Cointreau

0.75 oz : Campari

0.5 oz : Fresh lemon juice

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pegu Club

An old-school classic, for which there are many ratios you can use -- here's one formulation

2 oz : Gin

0.75 oz : Orange curacao

0.75 oz : Fresh lime juice

1 dash: Angostura bitters

1 dash : Orange bitters

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a great new (to me) gin-based drink last night. Called a "Journalist," it was made with Damrak gin, sweet and dry vermouth, a dash each of lemon juice and Cointreau, and bitters. CocktailDB has two recipes which sound similar to the proportions in the drink I had last night. Even my friend who's not a big gin drinker loved it. It's definitely going in my home repetoire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good, Janet!

But... isn't Damrak an "international style Dutch gin" rather than a London dry gin (which is to say, more of an updated genever)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It might help to understand your relationshiup with gin if you gave a few more examples of gin drinks you find difficult to like.

Well, gin seems to play especially well with sour and quinine flavors, and spicy aromatics like mint & ginger. That's why gn works with tonic, Campari, lemon and lime juice, Lillet, ginger ale, Chartreuse and certain herbal infusions.

But take things like the Pegu club down there; really the only reason why it appears to work to me is because the strength of the bitters overwhelm the natural flavor of the gin, and the lime juice complements what's left and helps it marry with the orange flavors. But I'm not sure if the juniper actually adds anything desirable to the game. Juniper and orange don't seem to quite see eye to eye with eachother.

In all the gin and orange-something based cocktails I've had, the only ones that have been any good have been ones that had peacemaker ingredients to help smooth out the conflicting flavors. Really this seems to go for most non sour fruit flavor combinations i've tried. It also doesn't seem to do so hot with nutty flavors like sherry or amaretto or oaky flavors like the ones you get from bourbon, brandy or rum, although it does seem to play well with chocolate for some reason.

I mean, it just seems to me like there are few cocktails out there that require gin that another spirit couldn't do a better job at, simply because juniper is such a particular flavor. Try a Suffering Bastard using gin, and then try making it substituting bourbon instead. Try making a Chelsea Hotel with gin, then try switching it out for brandy and making a Sidecar instead. Make a Gin & It, then try substituting brandy for a Metropolitan or whiskey for a Manhattan instead. Make a Red Snapper with gin, then try switching it out for vodka and make a Bloody Mary instead. Generally there is a marked improvement.

Gin & Lillet, gin & tonic, and dry martinis made with good vermouth seem to be a few where it holds strong, but the ingredients with which gin not only plays well but shines above the rest seem particularly challenging for me to find. This is why I asked for advice on pairing other flavors with juniper, and how i might tell which combinations have the most potential, and which would need more work.


Edited by mbanu (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But take things like the Pegu club down there; really the only reason why it appears to work to me is because the strength of the bitters overwhelm the natural flavor of the gin, and the lime juice complements what's left and helps it marry with the orange flavors. But I'm not sure if the juniper actually adds anything desirable to the game.

As Dave implied above, a drink doesn't necessarily have to smack of juniper in order for the gin to make an impact. Try it for yourself: make a Pegu Club with gin and make the same drink with vodka. The difference in flavor will be inescapable. Now, you may prefer the vodka version. All this tells me is that you don't care for gin all that much.

Juniper and orange don't seem to quite see eye to eye with eachother.

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder (tongue of the taster?). My family has been making goose braised in orange juice and gin longer than I've been alive. To my taste, gin and orange go together like... well, gin and orange. I think a more perfect match is hard to find. There are about a zillion classic cocktails that include gin and either tciple sec or orange curacao. If I'm not mistaken, orange peel is a fairly standard botanical used in gin formulae.

In all the gin and orange-something based cocktails I've had, the only ones that have been any good have been ones that had peacemaker ingredients to help smooth out the conflicting flavors. Really this seems to go for most non sour fruit flavor combinations i've tried.  It also doesn't seem to do so hot with nutty flavors like sherry or amaretto or oaky flavors like the ones you get from bourbon, brandy or rum, although it does seem to play well with chocolate for some reason.

Again, I suppose this is a matter of taste. Gin is certainly a natural for sour fruit, but I've made or consumed any number of cocktails where gin is married with apricot, pear, cherry, all manner of berries, cassis, etc. In addition, I've had successful cocktails with gin and sherry, gin and nut liqueur, etc.

I mean, it just seems to me like there are few cocktails out there that require gin that another spirit couldn't do a better job at, simply because juniper is such a particular flavor. Try a Suffering Bastard using gin, and then try making it substituting bourbon instead. Try making a Chelsea Hotel with gin, then try switching it out for brandy and making a Sidecar instead. Make a Gin & It, then try substituting brandy for a Metropolitan or whiskey for a Manhattan instead. Make a Red Snapper with gin, then try switching it out for vodka and make a Bloody Mary instead. Generally there is a marked improvement.

I don't see what you're saying here, except that you don't care for juniper. That's fine, of course. But that makes it hard for to recommend anything. cocktailDB, a database of cocktails from the golden age, lists 1381 gin cocktails. This compares to 531 aged brandy recipes, 595 bourbon and rye recipes, 497 rum recipes and 59 tequilla recipes. This, to my mind, speaks loudly about the mixability of gin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×