Friday, July 10, 2020

My life in ... Gin

An occasional series of alternative Curriculum Vitae because no-one on their death bed says "I wish I'd spent more time in the office".

The aperitif of choice for 45 years, my appreciation of this beverage has evolved over the years.

Gordon's: with Schweppes tonic. This was my introduction to gin in 1975. My girl friend at the time was a G&T drinker and so I was inducted into this beverage. That was the only brand of gin and tonic that I drank for several decades.
Bombay Sapphire: I read about this in a Sunday times colour supplement, a sophisticated premium gin. I can do sophisticated! So decided to break with a two decades old loyalty. Plus it came in a pretty blue, square bottle. Still with Schweppes tonic. And that was it for another decade.

Hendricks: on the recommendation of a friend in Italy I thought I'd give this a go. Made with cucumber in the botanicals and hence normally served with cucumber. Not convinced about the cucumber but the gin is fine.
Jinzu: my first Japanese style gin bought by me at the behest of my mother as a 60th birthday present. She had read an article about Japanese gins and decided this was a fitting present for her G&T drinking son. This is the winner of a gin blending competition and is actually distilled in Scotland. Contains sake and very tasty. 

Graveney: a boutique distillery in Southwest London. First encountered when we were dining at Unwind in Tooting market where Graveney had a stand. After a slightly boozy lunch we went to try this as a digestif. They had their original still there in the shop, tiny, only about 3ft high. Served with grapefruit the gin was delicious, a lovely combination.
Fever-Tree: not a gin but when I first tried it I was an instant convert. Schweppes was condemned to the dustbin of history. I always ask the server if they have Fever-Tree.

Sipsmith: Mary bought me a tour of the Sipsmith distillery for Christmas 2015 which came with a bottle of gin. The waiting list was so long we didn't get to take the tour until the following July. Fascinating to learned the full history of gin and Sipsmith's part in opening up the boutique gin industry.
Opihr: I went on a pub crawl with a dozen or so friends where one of the party didn’t drink beer and stuck to gin and tonic. As an Indian he liked Oriental spices and Opihr was his recommendation. Interesting in a good way.
About this time I decided that henceforth I would try a new gin every time a bottle ran out. This is where the list gets too long so here are just some that stuck in the mind. Not all these have comments because, quite frankly, it's all a bit of a blur:
  • Bosford: a London gin that was one of the cheapest in the local Italian supermarket. I thought I'd give the bottom end of the non-premium market a go. It was passable enough but lacked the quality and I don't need to save money that badly. Onwards and upwards! 
  • Martin Miller: definitely one of my favourite of all the gins I have drunk, I’m not sure why, so I have allowed myself a couple of repeat purchases.
  • Silent pool: a local gin from Hampshire. I’ve tried it but I’m really not convinced about the flavour, maybe it will grow on me. Also the glass stopper is a pig to get out especially as we keep our gin in the freezer and it is cold and slippery.
  • Roku: another Japanese gin. I’ve had two bottles of this. It comes in a very pretty, hexagonal bottle.
  • Ki No Bi: the name inevitably reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi. That said I don’t think they named it after the Jedi knight.
  • Marmalade gin: local production from the Lake District. File under "interesting", I don't think I'll bother again. It will also make me wary of other flavoured gins, Sloe Gin excepted.
  • Gin Mare: a thank you from Anne.
  • Caorunn: a thank you from Sandra.
  • Tarsier: a lakeland gin bought in Penrith, very palatable, would happily repeat.
  • Hotspur: another lakeland gin bought at the Rheged centre. 
  • Shed No. 1: another lakeland gin bought at the Winter Droving festival. Interestingly the distiller himself, who was manning the stall, said "Any tonic but Fentimans" as apparently the botanically brewed tonic clashes with the botanicals in the gin. Never would have thought about that.
  • Bulldog: whimsical bottle, ok-ish gin.
  • Brockman: now this is a lovely gin. Up there with Martin Miller. This is why trying a different gin every time is a good strategy to discover new delights.
  • And the list goes on...
Some time during this journey I switched to lime instead of lemon. I don't get through the lime fast enough so now I keep a tub of frozen lime slices in the freezer. Always there and it acts as an ice cube.
Is it six o'clock yet?

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