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shugga

Best gin for Martinis?

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A few months back the NY Times ran a gin taste test w/Amanda Hesser, Eric Asimov, Dale DeGroff & Frank Prial.

I actually thought their tasting was ridiculous. They did them at room temperature! One reads comments like "hot" or harsh." Well, duh! Some aspects that might seem hot or harsh or too strong at room temperature might be just right at martini temperature. I don't see any reason to judge any liquor at a temperature other than the one at which it will be served. It's just as silly as tasting a bunch of chilled (or heated) Bordeaux and writing up a comparative review. What's the point?

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A few months back the NY Times ran a gin taste test w/Amanda Hesser, Eric Asimov, Dale DeGroff & Frank Prial.

I actually thought their tasting was ridiculous. They did them at room temperature! One reads comments like "hot" or harsh." Well, duh! Some aspects that might seem hot or harsh or too strong at room temperature might be just right at martini temperature. I don't see any reason to judge any liquor at a temperature other than the one at which it will be served. It's just as silly as tasting a bunch of chilled (or heated) Bordeaux and writing up a comparative review. What's the point?

Yikes, I didn't know it was room temp! (Wasn't there a vodka room temp discussion here ages ago?) :wacko:

Yuk!

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Black Tie - what a wonderful place Raoul's must be. There was no such sophistication when I was up at Oxford, I can tell you. Congratulations on the website too.

Though I have to admit I balked more than slightly when seeing you add *eek!* apple shnapps to your Old-Fashioneds. ;)

But back on topic - I love gin and, according to the time of day and mood, will have Bombay Sapphire, regular Tanqueray 47.2º, Beefeater, regular 41,6º Plymouth or good old Gordon's. We always have at least a bottle of each at home as you never know what you're going to feel like.

Very generally, I think BS and Plymouth make the best martinis (though Plymouth is a bit oily and, of all the gins, is the most likely to give you a hangover, perhaps because it's made properly in a copper still). Tanqueray is good if you're going for the "silver bullet" feel. I use it whenever I want a little more oomph. When I travel I pick up a couple of litres of Crown Royal, which is 100 proof Beefeater, but it's a bit too strong...

There's also a 100 proof Plymouth but I've never tried it.

For G&Ts, Beefeater and (do not mock!) Gordon's are best, as long as you make them properly with untreated, freshly plucked lemons (I add a slice of lime but I think lime alone is too sweet) and Schweppes Tonic Water.

Beefeater is best for cocktails - Negronis specially, which I adore.

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Hi Miguel

I can save you (and myself) from a heart attack, there is definitely no apple schnappes in the old fashioned, a type error on the web designers side and not picked up by us. But I think no matter how many times you proof read, something inevitably gets missed.

But this has now given me a very good idea for a new cocktail involving freshly muddled apples!!!

The overproof plymouth you have mentioned is the plymouth navy strength which is 57% abv which is 114 proof yet still says 100 proof on the label (very bizarre)

It's great in a martini, but two are the limit!!!

Regarding the tasting of spirits the Russians always taste theirs chilled but they are the only guys that do. The Polish, (for vodka) and english, (for gin) the scottish (for malt) etc, will always taste at room temp, and quite often for tasting purposes dilute half and half with water.

But I agree with the martini comment, alot of white spirits will taste differently (and almost seem made for) chilled.

I still rate junepero, its wonderful for g & t's and am quite surprised it's only been mentioned once here. It's very highly rated in England

At the risk of side tracking fom the issue of gins, what is the prefered method, in America for creating the perfect martini's is it the "in out" method, with vermouth splashed over ice then drained off, before the gin or vodka is poured in and stired. Or is it the " wash" method of coating the glass with the vermouth?

Cause I must admit the last few times I have been over to you guys, be it New York or California, I have been in a Old fashioned/Manhatten frame of mind.

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The overproof plymouth you have mentioned is the plymouth navy strength which is 57% abv which is 114 proof yet still says 100 proof on the label (very bizarre)

It's great in a martini, but two are the limit!!!

I made my wife a G&T before going to the cinema using Plymouth 57%. It was a healthy measure and we then cycled about 2km.

When we arrived she was a bit breathless from the cycling but also she went temporarily blind!! The last time she ever drank gin.

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Plymouth is my tipple of choice for a G&T. And as that is about the only spirit I drink, I can't help any more than that!

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At the risk of side tracking fom the issue of gins, what is the prefered method, in America for creating the perfect martini's is it the "in out" method, with vermouth splashed over ice then drained off, before the gin or vodka is poured in and stired. Or is it the " wash" method of coating the glass with the vermouth?

Personally, I think these are both horrible methods for making a martini. If one is going to use so little vermouth (that would be, what, 20:1 if not higher?), then there is no point in using vermouth at all. I would be willing to bet that no one can taste the difference between an "in out" or "wash" martini and straight gin stirred with ice and strained. 8:1 is, IMO, the highest reasonable ratio for a gin martini -- and I reserve that ratio only for very delicate gins and/or strong vermouths. Typically, I'll go 6:1 or even 5:1.

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Hi Miguel

I can save you (and myself) from a heart attack, there is definitely no apple schnappes in the old fashioned, a type error on the web designers side and not picked up by us. But I think no matter how many times you proof read, something inevitably  gets missed.

True. Perhaps from familiarity and all of the re-reviewing that causes the eye to glaze over and miss the boo boos. Yes, I've been there!

However, on large discussions on Webtender with a couple in London, one in Leeds, another now in Belfast (was in Paris at the time tending bar) and another in Greece, the Old Fashioned has been the subject of much discussion as to who has the correct methodology. Needlesss to say it was rather interesting to see the variations on this American cocktail. :raz:

But this has now given me a very good idea for a new cocktail involving freshly muddled apples!!!

Please do share. :wub:

The overproof plymouth you have mentioned is the plymouth navy strength which is 57% abv which is 114 proof yet still says 100 proof on the label (very bizarre)

It's great in a martini, but two are the limit!!!

Two! Wow, there would be a few numb parts with odd tingling sensations for me!!!! One would be my limit if I were still expected to remain upright. :biggrin:

Regarding the tasting of spirits the Russians always taste theirs chilled but they are the only guys that do. The Polish, (for vodka) and english, (for gin) the scottish (for malt) etc, will always taste at room temp, and quite often for tasting purposes dilute half and half with water.

I guess I undertand the room temp/chilled for the various spirits. I tended bar with a few Polish exchange students and they did drink their vodka at room temp often. However, I would think that something is lost a bit with the dilution of the spirit with water -- so I'd guess it is a very judicial amount to optimise? (thinking of single malts here)

I still rate junepero, its wonderful for g & t's and am quite surprised it's only been mentioned once here. It's very highly rated in England

Ah, in the States with all of the weird liquor laws of each and every respective state, county, city, burough -- Junipero may not be as easily accessible. Crazy, no? :angry:

At the risk of side tracking fom the issue of gins, what is the prefered method, in America for creating the perfect martini's is it the "in out" method, with vermouth splashed over ice then drained off, before the gin or vodka is poured in and stired. Or is it the " wash" method of coating the glass with the vermouth?

Cause I must admit the last few times I have been over to you guys, be it New York or California, I have been in a Old fashioned/Manhatten frame of mind.

It runs the whole gamut.

I have been to bars that often the barkeep has never made an Old Fashioned and is not aware of the bitters are a part of a Manhattan. I don't fret too much and will happily ask in advance how their Old Fashioneds or Manhattans are gauging their response. Once in a great while I'll get the "They're great!" and taste something that is far from what it should resemble. A+ for effort and a failure for effort so I'll move onto either another bar or drink -- not ruling out a simple beer. Most often the response is "We don't get too many requests fot those...." and I'll jump in with the "Can you make it with x, y or z?" :cool:

Martinis: Most I've been to will do the "wash" coating method with vermouth unless otherwise specified. While this may indeed be a distinct turn-off to many cocktail evangelists, I have found the best approach is not to wager upon the barkeep's cocktail knowledge and construction technique and specify exaclty what to mix and how to do so with a huge smile, charm and a decent tip for same. Unless of course, I'm in an establishment well know for skilled mixologists maintaining a lovely repetoire and discipline for adhering to the classics as well as presenting sublime and refreshing, new signature cocktail variations. (I'm thinking such as Lab or Le Bar Hemingway du Ritz).

Does any of this help?

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Definitely agree with many here that the best gin depends on the drink and temp. I can't add much on the front of martinis and g&ts but I think Beefeater is the Tom Collins gin. It doesn't have that bitter aftertaste that some other gins do in a Collins.

Just my 2 cents,

SML

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supposedly "one should have their G&T's with the traditional" beefeaters or regular tanqueray, i.e. the higher proof gins, + schweppes (only).

the untraditional: tanq #10, bombay sapphire, junipero, etc; simply have too many botanicals.

gin martinis (historically, the "martini") with gordon's, plymouth, citadelle, or boodles; with noilly prat vermouth.

all are at the low end of "proof", which better when quaffing STRAIGHT gin :wub:

as for tom collins, would rather have a 'gibson' anyday :smile:


Edited by jgould (log)

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A literary reference: John D. McDonald's character Travis McGee originally drank Plymouth Gin. In one book, however, he gave it up, because they had changed the way they made it. I can't remember whether they did something to the proof or made it in the States instead of in Britain, or whatever. He went on at some length about the change not being for the better. I had an English teacher who said that if you are doing the writing, you have the right to get in a few words about things you care about. Apparently, in addition to deep sea fishing, Mr. McDonald liked drinking gin.

I always liked Beefeater. then I liked Sapphire. Now I'm back with Beefeater (FWIW).

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Any gin bragging about their smoothness likely has a watered-down taste and is targeted at the vodka crowd. Real gin has a proper bite. I go with Bombay -- the traditional stuff, not that wussy Sapphire swill.

thank you. I am sitting here having a Bombay martini as I type (Noilly Prat vermouth, about 8-10/1 w/ a twist). I order regular Bombay & have had to stop bartenders who automatically reach for the Sapphire numerous times & remind them that I want Bombay & NOT Sapphire. I have sent martinis back when made w/ Sapphire b/c I just do not like the taste as much as I do regular Bombay.

I have tried Hendricks as well as Plymouth but return to Bombay b/c I am comfortable w/ it. I also like Boodle's but it is more difficult to find so I usually just stick w/ Bombay.

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Does anyone know what Cadenheads Old Raj tastes like? I believe that it sells for about $50 a bottle!!!

Do you have the "pleasure" of ahving UK Gordon's? This is the one that is bottled at 37.5% (for Duty reasons)? Fortunately a lot of pubs/bars have stopped selling this (despite new packaging) and are going for other stronger (40% +) gins.

I am not sure if this is a price thing or whether UK consumers aren't as dumb as all that and are refusing the almost tasteless Gordons.

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Another article from Robert Plotkin, one of my favourite guys in the biz, here, THE 12 MOST PROMISING NEW GINS: THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST.

Despite my aversion to juniper, I think I'm going to find out more about this Desert Juniper from Oregon and the cobalt blue bottled Mercury. I'm a sucker for all things Pacific Northwest.

• DESERT JUNIPER — Bendistillery is located in Bend, Oregon, a city completely surrounded by vast stands of juniper trees. These glorious, berry-bearing trees are the inspiration behind Desert Juniper Gin. The berries are handpicked and added to a proprietary mix of botanicals indigenous to the Northwest. The botanicals are mixed with neutral grain spirits and Cascade Mountain lake water, then distilled in small 250-gallon batches in a copper alembic still. Bottled at 82-proof, Desert Juniper Gin has a pronounced juniper flavor and a captivating bouquet. The finish is surgically clean.

I'll even try anything in a cobalt blue glass bottle once or twice -- all with exception to a local winery, Firelands' bottle of Walleye White wine. :biggrin:

edit: URL pilot errors :wacko:


Edited by beans (log)

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In the room, all the women are pretty, the men good looking and the children above average...the conversation impossibly clever.

Isn't that lake Woebegone you're describing? Perhaps not. I always found Seagram's to be suitably assertive for balancing the Rose's Lime in a Gimlet despite its being a "cheap" brand.

In my bar-tending experience, I found that my younger African-American clientele frequently ranked Seagram's as equal or in many cases preferable to Tanqueray. It was not about price or reputation - it was generally about taste but the most popular drinks were G & T's and Gin 'n Juice. Perhaps this preference is because Seagram's cuts through the tonic or juice better than the higher priced and smoother gins - I myself definitely find there to be a better balance of gin flavor with the mixer.

When we had events that drew older clientele (age 40's and up), the preferred brand was always Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire, regardless of cultural background. This despite the fact that we still served precious few martini's - mostly just G & T's.

I find it interesting that most of the "martini's" served in most of the new "Martini Bars" have no gin or vermouth in them. Since when did pouring something into a martini glass make it a "martini"? (I'll be the first to admit that some of the drinks look very tasty but martini's they are not).

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reading this thread makes me want to go & watch "The Thin Man" & read some Dorothy Parker--who I believe said, "I like to have a martini; Two at the very most. After three I am under the table, after four I am under my host."

Down Asta!

William F. Buckley is reputed to have said, "When I get to heaven I am going to ask St. Peter to take me to the man who invented the dry martini. Just so I can say, 'thanks'?"

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reading this thread makes me want to go & watch "The Thin Man" & read some Dorothy Parker--who I believe said, "I like to have a martini; Two at the very most. After three I am under the table, after four I am under my host."

Down Asta!

William F. Buckley is reputed to have said, "When I get to heaven I am going to ask St. Peter to take me to the man who invented the dry martini. Just so I can say, 'thanks'?"

Those are funny.

I've read about something similar to this being overheard from two businessmen: Martinis are like women's breasts. One's not enough. Two are just right and three are too many.

:rolleyes:

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Then there's Ogden Nash's "A Drink with Something in It":

There is something about a Martini,

A tingle remarkably pleasant;

A yellow, a mellow Martini;

I wish I had one at present.

There is something about a Martini,

Ere the dining and dancing begin,

And to tell you the truth,

It is not the vermouth--

I think that perhaps it's the gin.

My standby for martinis is regular Bombay (not Sapphire), but lately I've been really enjoying Junipero.

Cheers,

Squeat

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I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that delightful product from the Netherlands: Genever Gin. It's sold in an earthenware style crockery type bottle and comes from an entirely different gin universe. Not for the faint of heart but I recall that it makes a highly unusual Gimlet. Be forewarned that it is completely unlike British style gin bit is a good spirit in its own right.

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was it not Peter Benchley who--after being caught in a rain storm--walked into a friend's house & said, "get me out of these wet clothes & into a dry martini!"? of course that quote has also been attributed to everyone fr/ Billy Wilder to Mae West so who knows.

I think my favorite martini quote is when some one else says to the bartender in my presence, "whatever martini he wants. I am buying."

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Correct on it being Peter Benchley, but it was on a film set - story here:

http://members.aol.com/zigystar/inhistory/

I think the best type of gin depends on how dry you like your Martini. The lighter you go on the vermouth, the more you rely on the flavour of the gin, because there ain't much vermouth in a 10:1 martini. If you like a more classic mix, then I like a more alcoholic but dryer flavoured gin.

I like my martinis 'wet' - about 5:1 - and I find this works best with Plymouth gin. The greater amount of vermouth nicely balances the extra alcohol (a little over 41% for Plymouth regular, and 57% for Plymouth Navy).

But for friends that like them dry, I mix with a London type gin - in which case I like the balance of Tanquery, although I keep some Bombay Sapphire for those that think it tastes better (or those that think they need a 'premium' spirit even if they can't taste the difference).

Interestingly, in some countries in Asia, Tanquery sells a higher alcohol (47.3%)version of their classic gin. For me, this is the best of all worlds. Makes a great Martini. But so far I've only seen it in duty free shops in Saigon, and I think it's sold in Malaysia.


Edited by HKDave (log)

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