Before we start, please tell me you read the title of this blog post to the tune of that Sound Of Music classic and not just a highly unimaginative headline? Okay, good. Glad we cleared that up first and foremost…
My earliest memory of gin is only about 5 years ago and it’s a snap I put on my Instagram account of a bottle of Gordon’s gin in the bin. Right where it belongs. My protest was posted at the height of a dirty, stinking hangover when I swore not another drop of gin would pass my lips for as long as I shall live; it was nothing more than the putrid tears of Satan himself as far as I was concerned. That was until about a year or so later when my mind (and tastebuds) were opened to whole new worlds of gin-based opportunity.
Since my little erm, gincident (sorry) with my arch nemesis, Gordon’s, my taste in distills has refined tenfold. I guess it must have evolved with the reemergence of gin as a popular spirit and the subsequent avalanche of choices that showed me just how wrong I had been doing it beforehand. These days I’m attending events dedicated to gin cocktails, spooning cryogenic gin in my rather more matured mush and picking my poisons from an entire Gindex (not my pun this time) and I’d confidently say it’s all thanks to Liverpool Gin.
Speaking of the devil (not the Gordon’s devil), let me commence this round up of my current favourites from my ever-growing gin collection with precisely that…
Ah, lovely Liverpool Gin. I crossed paths with this market leader when it was a mere dot on the horizon. Now it has elevated to local legend status and is readily available in stores and bars around the country and with good reason too. This small batch English gin is distilled in my hometown of Liverpool and is now also available in Rose and Orange flavours too I believe. The old classic is my favourite though. Not too dry, not too fruity, Liverpool Gin is every bit as well-balanced and botanical as it claims to be.
Garnish: If you’re wondering what garnish to use with Liverpool Gin, just stick with their recommendations of a slice of grapefruit or a wedge of watermelon.
You may or may not have noticed that this baby featured in my what I got for Christmas blog post and what a way to enter Ginuary with a bang! The Naked Marshmallow Company have been selling their Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Gin for a while now and I’ll definitely be leaving an extra mince pie out for Santa in December after hooking me up with the goods. You – like I did – might expect a strong hit of sugar, almost novelty in flavour and more fun than sophistication but boy, is this a knockout. A fresh premium gin on first sip but that Madagascan vanilla aftertaste is to die for. I can’t get enough!
Marshmallow gin garnish: Best enjoyed over ice and mixed with a plain tonic I’d say.
I think Boodles gin might be the first gin I ever bought by the bottle i.e. to have on a shelf at home and not just to order at a bar. Not only is it a bloody beautiful bottle, it’s also super smooth and gentle on the palette. It’s clean, fresh and fragrant without being too harsh in flavour. Boodles takes its name from the Boodle’s gentlemen’s club in London with famous members including Winston Churchill and James Bond. Boodles Mulberry sloe gin is even nicer so if you see that on the menu anywhere, I implore you to give it a whirl.
Boodles gin garnish: Experts recommend something citrus (orange, lemon peel, slice of lime) but I always gravitate towards something more berry-based.
Definitely saving the best ’til (nearly) last right now is my beloved, beloved Brockmans. Infused with fresh raspberries and blueberries, Brockman’s Gin is the fruity distill to end all fruit-based gins in my opinion and definitely the perfect way to ease in gently if you’re still a novice in the area. Certainly one for sweet-tooths but mellowed out with a hint of orange peel and the barely-there warmth of ginger.
Brockmans gin garnish: Ice, raspberries and/or a slice of grapefruit for the perfect serve.
ZYMURGORIUM SWEET VIOLET GIN
Similar to Creme de Violette, this lilac gin liqueur has been mixed with more than 20 botanicals to produce a delicious Palma Violet flavour and comes from the brains behind Manchester Gin. Upon doing a bit of reading up about my new tipple of the moment, I’ve actually noticed lots of people recommending mixing Sweet Violet gin with lemonade. I can’t vouch for the flavour of that particular combo as we enjoyed it with some slimline tonic during our stay at The Hollies lodges but I can imagine it would make for a unique take on the classic gin ‘n’ juice.
Violet gin garnish: If you’re feelin’ fancy, crush up some Palma Violets or Lovehearts into dust, wet the rim of your glass and garnish with the sherbet powder.
In terms of tonics, I do love a Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic water as it pairs perfectly with pretty much anything. However if I feel like a gin needs something less floral and more neutral (like the sort of sweet, creamy nature of the Marshmallow Gin), I’d reach for a bottle of 1724 Tonic Water out of choice. That really is plucking at the pretentiousness in me though – pretty much any tonic water does the trick just nicely.
What is your favourite G&T mix? Let me know in the comments below as I get quite the perverse buzz out of adding new distills to my list (and drinks shelf!)