Five Gins That Every Man Needs To Taste
Photograph courtesy of Gin Mare
From a classic London blend to a Japanese and Scottish fusion spirit, here are the best bottles to buy now.
There’s nothing more British than a fine gin – or at least that was once the case. In Victorian London, they drank it like water, it being classed, then, not as mother’s ruin, but a pleasant herbal remedy. Delightful, eh? Today we don’t enjoy it in quite the same volumes, but we do have a variety of different types to choose from, which is also nice. In fact, there’s thought to be 300 varieties of gin available in the UK alone, both of the London dry (flavoured with juniper and botanicals, then distilled) and botanical or distilled (with extra compounds added post-distillation) varieties. Open it up to the rest of the world and the choice becomes truly mind-boggling. Yes, there is a plethora of international gins that can now be enjoyed by the spirit-traveller, served with a range of garnishes and craft-distilled with everything from rosewood and hibiscus, to oranges, lemons and ginger. Scroll down for the five that every man should put on his ice-bucket list.
Little Bird London Dry Gin
A relatively new blend, Little Bird London Dry Gin is made in small batches for the highest levels of quality control. A slight kick lies at the heart of this cocktail-strength, Peckham-distilled gin that works well with grapefruit or orange. A perky number, it has earned a growing following in the capital, so be sure to give it a shot (or long glass) when you're in town. Try Little Bird’s special Early Bird cocktail (recipe on its website) by infusing gin with marmalade, Cointreau and grapefruit juice.
**Strength: 41.6 per cent **
New York State
Despite its name, Brooklyn gin is actually made in upstate New York in a unique copper pot still, using an unusual blend of Albanian juniper, Brazilian cocoa and Persian lime. The resulting liquid has a dark and rich flavour, complete with a zesty after-kick. Mix with Fever-Tree tonic, lots of ice and a slice of lime garnish to help the taste linger for longer.
Strength: 40 per cent
San Francisco is known for its decadence and multiculturalism, which is probably why the city’s own botanical gin, No. 209, has such a wide palette of flavours. Distilled five times over, its long-drawn process brings to life hints of coriander, orange and black pepper, with unusual notes coming through on each sip. Serve ungarnished with a decent serving of tonic and a handful of ice.
Strength: 46 per cent
Scotland, via Japan
British traveller and bartender Ms Dee Davies spent a considerable amount of time touring Japan and its islands and Jinzu is the result of the flavours and experiences she was exposed to during her travels. Taking the classic recipe of a London dry gin, Jinzu adds distinct – but subtle – Japanese flavours to the mix, including cherry blossom and sake. How to drink it? The wizards at the Diageo Bar Academy have created some sharp fusions to try, including the Asian 800, served with concentrated apple juice, fresh citrus juice and plenty of ice.
**Strength: 41.3 per cent **
Some gin blends concentrate on fruit for their botanical flavours, whereas some – such as popular Barcelona bar staple Gin Mare – take a decidedly herb-based approach. Infusing thyme, basil, rosemary and olive, its savoury flavours form the base of a strong, sturdy gin that packs a stiff punch on first taste. Balance out the flavours by adding a few slices of orange to your G&T, or if you're after that earthy taste, try adding hibiscus to help bring out those bold notes further.
**Strength 42.7 per cent **
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