These gins are clean, crisp and bold. Juniper dominates and is balanced by citrus and herbaceous notes. Juniper is gin; without it, one of the world’s greatest spirits simply would not exist. The origins of gin as we know it dates back to 16th century Holland where the juniper and grain spirit were combined to produce Genever. Juniper had been used since the 13th century to treat stomach complaints. The ‘berry’ gives gin its signature ‘piney’ flavour most commonly described as tasting like a Christmas tree. This detail is due to Juniper berries not being berries at all but pine cones. Juniper contributes significantly to the texture of gin, imparting it a slightly oily texture. This is the traditional style of gin the flavour that most drinkers think of when asked. Juniper led gins are perfect when mixed with Aromatic Tonic Water and topped with lemon zest. Juniper gins are also incredibly versatile; excellent in cocktails such as the Gimlet and classic Martini.
Fresh and zesty with sweet aromatic notes. Citrus gins usually derive their profile from the essential oils in lemon, orange or grapefruit peel. Fresh or dried peel is used in almost all gins but with citrus gins, this botanical is boosted to deliver extra vibrancy and freshness to the spirit. Our good friend juniper is still present, of course. Citrus gins can vary from those with a little extra zing through to highly flavoured fruity gins with an enjoyable bite. The variety ensures that there’s a citrus gin for any occasion. The style is growing in popularity once again having been much more prevalent in centuries past. Mediterranean Tonic Water is a perfect partner for these gins as they often have spicy and earthy notes. For best results, top the G&T with a wedge of matching citrus fruit. Gins of this style can be used to great effect in a range of cocktails but we think a citrus gin shines brightest when being used to create a delicious classic Negroni.
Warm spicy and earthy that’s how we would describe our Spiced gins. These spirits are often dominated by traditional spicy botanicals such as coriander cassia or cardamom; classic gin botanicals. A growing number of contemporary gins use less common botanicals to add some warmth such as black peppercorns or ginger. Spiced gins are a great example of how distillers can experiment with the balance of botanicals to create unique flavour profiles. For example this category spans from gins with slightly spicy and citrusy notes derived from coriander seeds - the second most common gin botanical – through to aromatic cardamom fronted gins. There is nothing too spicy about these gins as with all examples of the spirit there is a subtly of flavour. Those nuances come to life when mixed with premium Indian Tonic water and loaded with a fresh orange garnish. The complexities of a Spiced gin makes it ideal for stripped-back cocktails such as the Martini or Negroni.
Distillers are increasingly experimental combining unique herbs, spices, flowers, plants and fruits from near and far to create their own unique gins. Assertive, distinctive, and often with unusual botanicals, the gins we classify as Herbaceous deliver distinctive flavours and are a testament to experimentation. Herbal flavour is often acquired from the use of Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, or Coriander - all herbs that have been added to gins to add a fresh and ‘grassy’ dimension. Apple, Lavender and even Hops find their way into Herbaceous gins too, adding to the aroma and complexities of the spirit. Many herbaceous gins have a natural affinity with cucumber; try a slice as a garnish instead of the usual lime or lemon. These gins are best mixed with Mediterranean Tonic water, a mixer that has a delicate and floral flavour that allows the gin to shine. Herbaceous gins help impart a taste of the hedgerow to the classic Bramble cocktail, a must-try for all gin fans.
Floral gins invite you in with a light, sweet and delicate fragrance. Gently perfumed with juniper and subtly balanced with citrus and spice, Floral gins are an excellent introduction for new gin drinkers. Rose, lavender and chamomile are the usual suspects - botanicals regularly used in some of the most renowned floral-fronted gins in the trade. These botanicals ensure each serve is filled with fragrances while maintaining subtlety. The lighter style ensures these gins are ideal for spring and summer sipping but there is no doubt that floral gins are incredible across the seasons. Often inspired by the scents of the country garden, honeysuckle, bog myrtle and rosehip are increasingly popular additions to these gins. If making your own addition, garnish floral gins with fresh fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, apple or pear. Floral gins should be matched with Elderflower Tonic which offers a light and subtle character that allows the gin to shine through.
Fruit gins have exploded in popularity over the last few years. We suddenly have all these different flavoured and coloured gins because gin isn’t strictly regulated, unlike whisky. As long as gin is bottled at a minimum 37.5% ABV and predominantly flavoured by juniper then it can be classed as a gin. Gins that have an ABV of 20%-35% are classified as gin liqueurs. Sweet and full of flavour, these gins make a fantastic G&T. However, fruit gins can equally hold their own when drunk neat. Some argue as to whether non-gin drinkers attracted to fruit gins just didn’t like the taste of tonic that much; many flavoured gins are now paired with a range of other mixers such as pink gin and lemonade, rhubarb gin and ginger ale and violet gin with lemonade. The flavoured gin category now accounts for a quarter of total gin volume. According to the drinks industry statisticians CGA, Pink gin is worth £360m and growing quickly, making now the time to re-evaluate your range.
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Gin and tonic started life in India where members of the Raj drank it for its antimalarial properties. As quinine is so bitter, British officers in India would use water, lime, sugar and gin to make it sweeter and more palatable. Fever- Tree is all about taste and they go to the ends of the earth to find the finest natural ingredients. Crafted to enhance the taste of spirits rather than mask them, the range is endorsed by bartenders the world over.
I think this Gin is yummy, for me it’s got a perfect balance of all my favourite flavours, the sweetness of the rhubarb and raspberry followed by the bitter twang of the pink grapefruit base. You can either top it up with a bit of ginger ale, or use it to make a Gin Fizz, with its pretty pink colour, it’s a little bit of love in a glass!
A third of gin consumers seek information on flavour before making a purchase. Create a gin and tonic menu which highlights the flavour profile and matches each gin with a particular tonic and garnish that enhances the flavour. - Gin over indexes in food-led outlets; make an extra sale by offering customers a G&T whilst they look at the menu. Consider a house G&T, or G&T of the month and be creative with the garnish. Highlight this on your drinks list or on a blackboard near or on the bar.
Being a proud Plymouthian (yes that is a thing), I absolutely love the heritage of Plymouth Gin, with its colourful past and nautical links. But not just a nice story, it has real pedigree, it was the original gin in the first Savoy cocktail guide, it’s hard to get better than that. The gin is as solid as the bottle it comes in with some more exotic flavours intertwined with the Juniper lead liquid such as angelica and sweet orange. Banger!
Hundreds of gin brands have sprung up around these isles over the past few years. Each new spirit finds new ways to turn what was, initially, an attempt to disguise the harsh flavour of raw spirits into a billion-pound behemoth. The revival of gin is central to the opportunity premium UK products present the on-trade. 62% of consumers aged 18-24, and 57% of those aged 25-34, prefer to buy British. This same band of consumers is the most likely to trade-up to premium.
Not only are Warner’s Gins 100% natural but the ethics of their production is spot on. Created from all natural elements which are home grown from their family farm, they further there company’s ethical depth by helping the horticulture society in funding such schemes as ‘Bee Keeping Apprentices’. The Warner’s Sloe Gin is a smooth, light and fruity flavoured drink that taste delightfully sweet but balanced.
Whatever garnish chosen is ultimately down to personal choice but garnishes can totally transform the humble gin & tonic to a beautiful looking drink and enhance the aroma and flavour of the gin. Garnishes can use an existing botanical to enhance the flavour: use a lemon twist for citrusled gins or a slice of cucumber in Hendrick’s. Alternatively, it can complement the flavour of the botanicals, garnishing a floral gin like Martin Miller’s with a strawberry and black pepper.
Puerto De Indias Strawberry is my favourite as it offers a slick balance of strawberry and citrus whilst maintaining the juniper flavour. The premium looking bottle displays the badge and name which links to the history of discovering the Americas. A great fruity gin for all year round.
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