I never used to drink gin. Ever. My mum has always drunk gin (with coke, don’t ask). I go through phases with drinks. In my late teens, when I thought I was super knowledgeable and classy, I solely drank Tia Maria and coke. At uni I progressed to lager and sambucca (separately) solely on a cost factor. Eventually I found the original love of my life – dark rum. I’m no expert on rum; I’ll drink anything from golden to dark – though never light or spiced. Considering my partner runs a pub I should probably know more. Show me mercy, please.
Then, when I met M, I jumped on the gin bandwagon. She drinks gin like it’s going out of fashion, excuse the contradictory pun, it’s very much the fashion now. Enjoying a good quality gin is one of her favourite ways to end her day.
In the early days of our relationship, I was attempting to impress her. I turned to gin to try to turn her to me! Turns out she thinks I’m perfect the way I am and I didn’t need to try – who would have thought?! Now she’s a huge inspiration to me!
So now, if I’m just having a drink or two (which isn’t very often), I’ll have gin. Rum is still my number one girl for a Big Night Out but gin is my day to day friend. I am, however, pickier about my gin than I am my rum. Now, I’m learning a lot about different brands and different types.
Mass Produced Gin
Mass produced gins seem to all taste the same top me. They’re pleasant but nothing to get excited about (though Aldi’s own brand gin is award winning, delicious and doesn’t hit you hard in the wallet). Side note – I went to an amazing PR event (which I actually paid for) by Bombay Sapphire about 18 months ago, and I wish I had HH23 then, it was a blogger’s dream!
The pub M runs is owned by a corporation who jumped on the gin bandwagon last summer and we suddenly had 10 gins on sale. Brands like Bombay, Hendricks and Gordon’s mass produce these. I guess they would have to, to keep up with the demands of a huge pub chain.
The menu changes every winter and summer and now we’ve got a new gin menu! Their new summer drink is an “Ultimate T&T”. It’s a Tanqueray 10, with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and a slice of grapefruit, with plenty of ice of course. Tanqueray 10 is a premium of the mass-produced gins. I have to say, I’m pretty bloody impressed with it. The bottle is so pretty. The taste is paired so well. The softness of the tonic and the sharp cut of citrus in the grapefruit just work! I accidentally had 3 before I could go home!
Though we are a branded pub, I’m also very big on supporting small businesses. I love products that have a more personal touch to them.
Small Batch Gin
So we’ve been investigating other small batch gins to see the difference. The first that we’ve tried is 1606 – a small batch London Dry distilled in the UK and distributed by the British Honey company. They only make 300 bottles per batch and they’re not always available but we got the timing right for the latest batch! We bought a bottle through a friend and decided to crack it open when my mum came for a weekend.
The bottle is classic and striking; much like this juniper-led gin with strong scents of the Sicilian oranges used in the distillation. We chose to pair it with the classic fever tree light tonic, with slices of oranges. I actually forgot to take pictures of the drink, as I got carried away drinking them.
The gin is easy and delicious to drink. I find some gins can be quite aggressive in taste but this is perfect for summer. Light enough to quench thirst in a pub garden on a summers’ day. Heavy enough to combat the end of a bad day!
The second is Tiger Gin, which I found through Instagram. I was scrolling through several accounts that are followed by The Gintern. She has probably the best job ever. Imagine a week in her life! I got my hands on a small bottle – enough for 2 drinks – and thought I’d try a normal light tonic and a flavoured tonic.
I didn’t have any ice which made the whole experience odd. On first opening the bottle, I noticed it smelled very boozy. Not a bad thing, in my opinion, but perhaps a little strong for those of you couldn’t drink enough to sink a ship and all its pirates, like I can.
I also didn’t have any garnish so apologise for being uncouth. With just the light tonic, it was fairly standard but with the elderflower tonic, it was much fresher, lighter and more enjoyable. My favourite Fever Tree tonic is the Mediterranean (which just so happens to have the prettiest bottle) but I think with maybe one of the rose or orange infused tonics it would be just as great!
Having originally though that it was a little strong, it seemed to disappear really quickly from my glass. I had my gin with dinner (because gin is for all occasions) of a chicken fajita type concoction and it was really pleasant too, didn’t overpower the flavours of my food at all!
Then I sat and listened to the Women’s Hour podcast all cosy in my gin glow.
I’ve found a few other gins I’d like to try too. The fruity flavoured gins on sale in Aldi and Lidl look super tasty, there’s a new JJ Whitley gin in the pub that I’d like to try. I’ve seen a few people supping on Salcombe Gin lately and I’d like to jump on that bandwagon. John Lewis sell a gin that a customer in the pub was raving about called Unicorn Tears that I want to try just because of the fact that it’s sparkly. Mostly, I want to try a gin called Silent Pool. I was recommended this by a tenant of mine who manages bars in high end hotels in London, and is assisting with this product being launched in Italy!
What is your go-to drink? What gins would you recommend?