Step 1: Know where gin comes from
A G&T might be the quintessential English drink, but you’d be putting your foot in your mouth if you said gin was an English invention. Dutch soldiers who showed immense bravery after drinking ‘Genever’ throughout the Thirty Years’ War, brought the then medicinal drink to English soldiers. So if dropping fun facts is your thing, this would be a good time to slip in how “Dutch Courage” was born.
Step 2: Know how gin is made
Distil fermented grain, juniper along with various botanicals and voila. Unlike whisky or wine, which rely on their earth for flavouring, gin’s unique touch comes from the combinations of botanicals. This could explain why you won’t find any “ginyards,” rather pickers foraging for the 60 different types of juniper berries in the wild.
Step 3: Know how to be critical
When tasting, it’s best to sip neat at room temperature. Swirl the spirit in your mouth, letting the warmth hit your tongue. A good gin shouldn’t burn. Then add a bit of cold water before swirling the gin in your mouth once more. For the full effect, make sure everyone can hear the waterfall taking place in your mouth. This allows for the botanicals to come through, giving you a better chance to pick up on which have been used. Memorising the gin tasting wheel will help you pinpoint qualities, scents, and tastes quickly.
Step 4: Know your staple gin cocktails
The classics are back. From old fashioned Martinis to a simple gin fizz, to citrus-favourites like a Tom Collins or Gimlet, or the aperitif staple Negroni, gin’s complexity makes it easily transferrable. The G&T, popularised in Spain, remains one of the most beloved drinks, garnished with various fruits to amplify the botanicals. Remember it’s not always a twist of lime that does the trick. This is where practicing Step 3 comes into play.
Step 5: Know that practise makes perfect
Everyone knows that the key to becoming an expert is to practice. So, grab your glass (copa obviously) and your ice, some premium tonic and of course, your bottle of Brockmans, and enjoy a well-earned G&T safe in the knowledge that you are furthering your education.