The rise in popularity of gin sees no signs of slowing down; and now is a great time to enjoy the spirit thanks to World Gin Day on the 10th June. From staying at London’s first Gin Hotel to enjoying LSA International’s handcrafted glassware gin collection, there are plenty of ways to embrace this global celebration. To help make the most of your gin enjoyment, The LuxPad spoke to some of the many Gin experts out there, from distilleries to natural eating gurus to find out the very best ways to experience World Gin Day, from the right garnishes to the best cocktail recipes…
Gin, tonic and a slice of lime. Simple, right? A slice of lime has traditionally been the gin garnish of choice to balance and complement the bitterness of tonic and the traditionally dry character of gin. Boodles Gin is even made without any citrus botanicals on the basis that consumers will typically serve it with a citrus garnish.
With such a wonderfully diverse range of gins now available you can start to get creative with your garnishing. The key to choosing a garnish is selecting either contrast or harmonisation. You can use garnishes to balance contrasting flavours in a gin, such as adding citrus to earthier and more savoury gins. Alternatively, you can use garnishes to harmonise with the gin’s flavours and bring out key characteristics, such as using a rosemary or thyme garnish with a herbaceous gin.
Most gin producers recommend a ‘perfect serve’ and a garnish suggestion, but there’s no single right answer. So get experimenting, go beyond the slice of lime, and start creating sensational gin and tonics!
If you need any inspiration, The Gin Guide’s Garnish Guide includes garnish suggestions for over 200 gins.
Paul Jackson, Editor of The Gin Guide – www.theginguide.com
The key for enjoying gin is getting the tonic right. The tonic water is 3/4 of the drink therefore you don’t want an overpowering or cheap tonic water that ruins the gin. Most people who don’t like gin and tonic actually don’t like the tonic water, but with the right tonic water, a gin drink is transformed. Even the most anti gin drinkers can be converted! Our recommendation is 1724 – it is less harsh and much more smooth and compliments CollaGin perfectly. Experts at CollaGin www.collagin.co.uk
40ml Martini dry vermouth
Combine both ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain the liquid into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with thyme.
The contemporary Scottish gin, Caorunn (pronounced ‘ka-roon’) has enlisted the expertise of ‘natural eating guru’ Stacie Stewart to create four tonics that balance perfectly with the refreshing taste of Caorunn gin. The refreshing tonics have been inspired by Caorunn’s locally-foraged Celtic botanicals. Harnessing Scotland’s unique natural resources, Gin master Simon Buley hand-picks the botanicals from the hills surrounding the breath-taking setting of Balmenach Distillery in the Cairngorms National Park. Each of the four tonics have been designed exclusively by Stacie who has a passion for using raw, natural ingredients. The home-made ingredients are bursting with health benefits without compromising on taste.
Stacie – who presents Channel 4 programme’s What’s Cooking and How to Lose Weight Well as well as being the founder of Eat Naked, the clean eating deli in her hometown of Brighton – developed the refreshing selection of natural tonics for gin fans who want natural goodness, vitamins and vitality from their drink.
The benefits of the natural ingredients such as Zest and Honey are; Manuka Honey is a rich source of amino acids, vitamins and minerals including B6, calcium and iron. It aids digestion and is good for clear skin and strong nails.
The Zest and Honey:
Glass: Vintage martini glass.
50ml Caorunn Gin
10g Manuka Honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
Dash of water.
Coconut sugar (for the rim)
Lemon slice to garnish.
Method: In a shaker with ice, combine Caorunn with the Manuka honey, a dash of water and the juice of 1 lemon. Shake hard and strain into a martini glass- serve with a floating slice of lemon and a coconut sugar rim. (A delicious twist on this is to add a chopped-up lemongrass stalk to the shaker).
How to Taste Quality
“With a quality artisan gin, you should be able to taste, smell and savour the unique combination of juniper and botanicals that make up the artisan spirit. The number one rule is to go for quality over quantity for both the spirit and the mixer. However, don’t be afraid to try different tonics, glassware or garnishes.”
Experts at Lakes Distillery
“The Bramble is a gin cocktail that’s perfect for summer, combining your favorite tipple with lemon and blackberry flavours. The recipe was created in 1980s London, so it’s got to start with two shots of London dry gin if you ask me. You’ll also need one shot of freshly squeezed lemon juice and half a shot of sugar syrup in your shaker, along with plenty of ice.
If you don’t have any sugar syrup in your cocktail cabinet, you can make a batch by dissolving 100g of caster sugar in 50g of cold water over a low heat.
After shaking the ingredients together, strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. Pour half a shot of crème de mure (blackberry liqueur) on top, and garnish with a blackberry or slice of lemon. The only thing left is to grab a cocktail straw and get sipping in the sunshine!”
Steve King, Managing Director at Bottled & Boxed