Contrary to popular belief, gin is actually delicious. No, really…it is! The stale reputation for its flavor can be traced to the “pine cone” myth, you know…the whole: “it tastes like a Christmas tree!” exclamations you hear people make while refusing to try it. It’s true…juniper does have to be the predominant flavor, but newsflash! There’s no actual measurement of this standard…it’s completely subjective. Which means while some gins may legitimately taste like juniper many others have just a hint of it because the other botanicals it’s been partying with during distillation play so nicely with the juniper that it mellows it out completely. Now don’t get us wrong…there is some truth to this whole awful tasting gin legend, which you can read all about here, but today, gin has become a class act of the craft cocktail revolution, showing up on time, tasting like all kinds of sexy, and leaving at a reasonable hour the next morning. Thankfully time, creative advertising, and sexy people in low lit bars, have helped debunk the funk following our protagonist. The most helpful aid of all? The all mighty reign of the craft cocktail.
Today, gin has garnered the acclaim and praise of an entire industry devoted to good taste. Alcohol scientists, mixologist, and alcoholics alike, are all drinking gin and for good reason – gin goes well with literally everything. Tonic water is famously one of gin’s best mates, and vermouth is obviously the costar to any gin martini, but today, bartenders are often high jacking the norms and concocting insanely original flurries for the confines of your mouth. While we’re no mixologists or recipe developers here at The Crafty Cask (there are plenty of those around!), here are some of our favorite super simple ways to pair gin so it can become a more regular guest in our cocktail glass. We encourage you to play around similarly and share what you find!
Orange or Grapefruit Juice
I know it seems childish, we’re basically telling you to make a screwdriver or greyhound with gin, but the citrus involved with a fresh squeezed fruit has a tart sweetness that emboldens any good Gin. I mean…we have all heard that classic song, Gin and Juice, right? Snoop Dogg wouldn’t lie to us!
Passion Fruit juice
Speaking of juice…how about we get a little more tropical and pair gin and passion fruit with a splash of bitters for bite, and a healthy lemon squeeze for serious saucy looks from you to your boo sitting over there on the couch. Don’t let your juice experimentation stop here, you can rarely go wrong with gin and fresh squeezed juice.
I feel like we’re on a bit of an aphrodisiac train so let’s keep it going…rose water is also a sexy sounding thing to pour in with your gin. Mixing light portions of rose water with lime juice, tonic water, and the gin of your choice, can create a subtly complex and delicious drink. If you have some fun bitters, like cucumber bitters that can work nicely here too. Go easy with the amount of rose water to start though, otherwise you might feel like you’re drinking your grandmas hand soap. After all, we’re trying to get away from the grandparents with our newfound gin enthusiasm!
Surprise, surprise, alcohol paired with more alcohol made it to this list of gin pairings. Why? Because unlike the hell fury of vodka, tequila or others, gin has a much more grace and can hold her own with another alcohol like a lady.
- Gin and Gin – strange but true. Often times gin is now paired with other gins that have been distilled with different botanicals, to create say, a strong juniper and citrus noted gin with a cherry distilled gin. The two can co exist happily on their own or a splash of juice.
- Gin and Sherry – Specifically Oloroso sherry tends to get all up in the taste buds when paired with a classically flavored gin, like a London Dry. Bring the true Spaniard out in you and mix in a little cola and splash of lemon…trust us. Yum.
- Gin, Vodka and Lillet – ok, so this one might require a little hair on the chest, but it’s a classic. Look up a Vesper Cocktail to get the proportions right for this one. And then get ready with your best, “Bond. James Bond.” line to finish off your first sip.
So there you have it. Gin has a lot of friends and they all look really good when they get together, but more importantly, they taste great. So shed that old perception that Gin tastes like pine trees and is reserved for gin and tonics or martinis and expand your gin drinking outside the bar and into your home. There are so many simple ways to enjoy gin, in fact, we’re going to go mix one up right now. It’s feeling like a passion fruit kind of night…
Do you have some favorite gin pairings that you mix up at home? Please share below so we can keep busting the gin myth and spreading the gin love!