It will not have escaped your notice that there is an increasing fascination and an expanding popularity for Gin. Once upon a time it may have been considered the drink of choice for middle-aged, Jaguar- driving golfers, but now it’s the drink of choice for many people in fashionable bars, pubs and clubs, there is a growing range of producers and distillers, and an ever-increasing selection of enticing bottles on the shelves of shops and supermarkets.
I can recall (and it’s not THAT long ago) when my mother’s drink of choice was a Gin & Tonic and it was invariably Gordons (with Schweppes tonic as the standard accompaniment) . In fact, it was unusual for a pub to offer an alternative and an excursion to another brand like Booths, Beefeater or Gilbey’s was an adventure. More recently, the conspicuous Blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire became a common sight on the pub shelf or optic and became the gin of choice for my wife Jane.
But now there are literally hundreds of gins, as any Google search will testify such as (but not exhaustively) an example is https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/brands/spirits/338/gin
The range from large scale brewhouses and distillers to small scale local and independent craft distilleries keen to explore locally sourced botanicals and create “ginspiration”.
We are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where some gin producing experts and entrepreneurs have created some specialist distilleries , such as Bramley & Gage in Thornbury with their 6 O’clock Gin (it’s prompted me to think that it’s time for a tipple because it’s 6 O’clock somewhere in the world), the Sibling Distillery in Cheltenham (where they create their own high quality spirit in a Carter Head still), and of course Cotswolds Distillery in Stourton (where local Cotswold lavender is amongst the carefully sourced and blended botanicals where the team of experts produce award-winning gins and spirits)
Of course, there is then the subject of appropriate accompaniments and mixers, notably the rise of “premium” tonics, because once you have identified your preferred and painstakingly-produced, artisan-quality gin, and unless you are going to enjoy it neat, it would be sacrilege to then dilute it with an inferior or taste-destroying fizzy-pop. As such, the mission to mix and enjoy your perfect gin and tonic continues. The phenomenal growth and acclaim of the Fever Tree range is testament to that.
The debate continues about accompaniments even to the extent of ice and lemon (or should it be a slice of lime or, as recommended in a recent pub-visit, orange?)
Whilst it is perhaps not for the purist looking for the “proper” gin, there are then the “flavoured” gins (which some might considered to be Liqueurs or pre-mixed cocktails). These seem to be particularly plentiful during the festive season with pre-mixed seasonal components such as damsons, mulberries and blackberries (as is the case with “Cotswolds Hedgerow Gin”), or traditional concoctions incorporating Elderflower or, a homely favourite, Rhubarb & Ginger. However, maybe that is a digression too far for those looking for proper high-strength pure distilled spirit, juniper and carefully blended botanticals.
This gin-inspired blog has been prompted by
(1) An undeniable enjoyment of gin
(2) A distillery tour a little while ago, and the firm intention of doing more tours.
(3) Christmas presents of artisan gins from people who know what I like and with whom I’d enjoy sharing the experience.
(4) Being given a fabulously informative book “101 Gins to try before you die” by Ian Buxton. I really do recommend this book.