Gin is an incredibly complex and interesting spirit, with a flavor profile that has taken centuries to perfect. From floral notes to herbal infusions, gin can offer quite the range of tastes and aromas that can please any palate. In this blog post, we’ll break down what does gin taste like and why it stands out so prominently in cocktail recipes around the world. So read on if you’d like to get the scoop on one of the most beloved spirits.
- 1 What Gin Is Made Of?
- 2 What Does Gin Taste Like?
- 3 Different Types Of Gin And How They Taste
- 4 Tips For Finding The Best Type Of Gin For You
- 5 The Best Ways To Drink Gin
What Gin Is Made Of?
Gin is crafted using various methods, incorporating a diverse array of herbal cocktail components, resulting in a wide variety of styles and brands. However, the crucial common feature among all gins is the inclusion of juniper berries.
Typically, gin originates from a base of grains such as wheat or barley, to which producers introduce botanicals and water. For a spirit to be classified as gin, it must prominently feature the flavor of juniper berries.
Besides grains and juniper berries, producers infuse gin with botanicals, herbs, and spices to impart a distinctive character. Commonly employed botanicals include citrus, rosemary, and various seeds, resulting in the unique flavor profiles of different gins.e, various botanicals, herbs, and spices are added by producers.
What Does Gin Taste Like?
Gin has a distinct flavor profile characterized by a fresh, piney taste, accompanied by citrus and spice undertones. The common botanicals used in gin production, such as juniper berries, coriander seeds, citrus peel, and anise, contribute to these unique flavors.
Different Types Of Gin And How They Taste
Several types of gin are available on the market, each with a unique flavor profile. Here are some of the most popular types and how they taste:
Made by aging the spirit in an oak barrel, barrel-aged gin has a richer, smoother flavor with hints of vanilla, toffee, and caramel. It offers a sweet and mellow taste, reminiscent of Irish whiskey.
London Dry Gin
Distilled with a higher percentage of juniper berries, London dry gin is characterized by a strong juniper presence and a slightly bitter taste.
Old Tom Gin
For those who prefer a less piney taste, Old Tom Gin is the way to go. It has a subtle spice and often includes sweet botanicals like licorice to enhance the flavor.
These gins are less juniper-forward than London dry gin and offer a different flavor profile. With fruity, herbal, or floral notes, contemporary gins are perfect for cocktails and gin shots.
Relatively new and gaining popularity, Irish gins are produced by many Irish whiskey distilleries as they wait for their whiskey to age. With over sixty varieties available, Irish gins showcase the flavors of herbs and botanicals. Consider trying Slieve Bloom Botanical Irish Gin, made with hand-picked botanicals from the surrounding mountains near Kinnitty Castle.
Tips For Finding The Best Type Of Gin For You
With the vast array of gin types available, it can be challenging to choose the right one for you. Here are a few tips to help you find your perfect match:
- Determine your preferred tastes: If you enjoy a strong juniper flavor, London dry gin is the way to go. For those who prefer a sweeter taste, opt for Old Tom Gin.
- Consider your budget: Gin prices can vary greatly, so consider how much you are willing to spend on a bottle. Some high-end gins may be pricier but offer unique flavors and quality.
- Assess your emotional response to gin brands: Sometimes, it’s not just about the taste. Certain gin brands may evoke positive memories or have a unique story that appeals to you.
- Take sustainability into account: Many gin producers are now prioritizing sustainability in their production methods, so consider supporting these brands.
- Evaluate your reaction to bottle and label design: Don’t underestimate the power of packaging. Sometimes, a well-designed bottle and label can enhance your overall experience with a gin.
With over 50 types of gin available, even in average pubs, the options are extensive. Including both big distilleries and small distilleries like York Gin, there are literally thousands of gins to choose from, including London Dry, Old Tom, Navy Strength, Sloe, as well as fruit, pink, flavored, and unique gins in the market.
The Best Ways To Drink Gin
Try Gin in Cocktails, Especially a Martini
San Francisco’s Whitechapel is a renowned gin destination, boasting a stunning Victorian-era gin palace, a distilling room, and a London tube-themed bar area. With over 600 varieties of gin available, Whitechapel’s resident ginnoisseur, Keli Rivers, suggests trying each gin in a Martini or a neutral mixed drink to appreciate the botanicals and discover your preferred style. Gin is a versatile spirit that adds depth and complexity to cocktails.
Consider Gin & Tonic or Gin & Coke
In England, gin expert David T. Smith recommends pairing gin with different tonics to enhance the taste. Quality tonic and a chilled serving are essential. Smith advises exploring tonic flavors that match specific gins or opting for a classic London dry gin that pairs well with various tonics. Additionally, alternative mixers like soda water, San Pellegrino citrus sodas, and, for more adventurous combinations, cola, can complement gin effectively.
Complement and Contrast with Gin Cocktails
Experiment with the endless possibilities of gin cocktails. For example, if you opt for herbaceous gins like St. George Terroir or Oakland Spirits Sea-Gin, make sure to showcase their briny or green notes appropriately. Instead of pairing similar flavors, consider complementing and contrasting. For instance, a citrus-forward gin doesn’t require more citrus; think about what could highlight and complement the citrus flavors.
Drinking Gin Neat is Encouraged
Don’t hesitate to enjoy gin neat. Nowadays, many gins are crafted to be sipped on their own. The days of referring to gin as “drinking a Christmas tree” are gone. With the diverse range of flavors available, you can easily find a gin that caters to your preferences, whether you prefer cinnamon, cardamom, citrus, floral notes, or even barrel-aged gins.
Explore the Effects of Temperature
To delve further into the world of gin, temperature can play a significant role in taste. Freezing gin can alter its texture, making it thicker and more viscous. As the gin gradually warms up, the flavor profile expands and evolves. Consider placing a bottle of gin in the freezer, similar to how vodka is commonly chilled, and observe how the spirit transforms.
Dive Into Vintage Gins
For gin enthusiasts who are truly passionate, there is a whole other realm to explore: vintage gins. While you’ll typically find more collectors’ bottles overseas in cities like Tokyo or bars like Lebensstern in Berlin, which stock over a thousand spirits, including decades-old bottles available by the pour, places like Whitechapel are rare American bars where you can find gin bottles dating back several decades and savor them.