For years, I thought I didn’t like gin. The taste was nice but the after effects were dreadful. I’d nearly always end up depressed and in tears, with a nasty hangover the day after. Turns out, it’s only Gordon’s gin which does this to me. As soon as I sampled another gin, I realised I had to spend a bit more to get my perfect G&T. First up on my alternative gin list was Bombay Sapphire. To be honest, I probably chose it in a bar because of the bottle, but the clean crisp taste is really rather lovely. After that, I tried the other gin that is most often stocked in bars – Tanqueray – but wasn’t impressed enough to ask for it by name on subsequent outings. Well, unless the only alternative was Gordon’s! Next, I tried a gin that many friends had recommended to me, and Hendrick’s & tonic with cucumber still remains one of my favourite drinks.
A Christmas gift from Topper of the rather butch looking Bulldog was my next foray into the vast world of gin. It makes a mean martini, I can tell you! Then Manda and I sampled Sipsmith‘s delightfully floral London dry gin and declared it to be the first gin we’d tasted that we could happily sip on its own. No tonic needed there, although it was also lovely with cloudy apple juice and a splash of elderflower cordial. After that, gin-fan Gordon visited me from Glasgow, bringing with him a bottle of Caorunn gin, which we had with tonic and slices of red apple. It received an enthusiastic thumbs up from all who sampled it. My gin journey continued at the end of last year with my Christmas gift from Topper, which was something very special indeed. The Worship Street Whistling Shop have teamed up with Master of Malt to produce Cream Gin. According to the website, and the bottle…
“Cream Gin was popular in the Gin Palaces of the Victorian Era, however back then the gin would probably have been mixed with a cream and sugar then left to infuse. To update this classic idea, this Cream Gin has been cold-distilled using fresh cream as a botanical (the equivalent of 100ml Cream per bottle!), to capture the fresh flavour of the cream in a perfectly clear spirit. Because the cream is never heated during the distillation process, no ‘burnt’ or ‘off’ flavours end up in the finished product. Cream Gin has the same shelf-life as any other distilled spirit.”
It’s tasty on its own, but mix it with vermouth and you have The Black Cat’s Martini, which is utterly delicious and will have you purring with contentment. If you fancy going on your own gin journey, do check out the excellent selection Master of Malt website. Not only do they have great tasting notes to help you when trying something new, but the bottles arrive brilliantly wrapped in beautiful little puffy jackets to avoid breakages in transit. If you want to know more about the spirit before you start drinking, there’s a wonderful mini history of gin (plus some notes on a few of the best) on the Guardian’s site, and an interesting little piece on the History Channel’s site about the craze which led to it being labelled “mother’s ruin“. Londoners, eh? Tsk.