Gin, that wonderful juniper-infused spirit that was probably quite rightly vilified in the famous William Hogarth print Gin Lane, has come a long way since the debauched scene depicted in Hogarth’s print of the streets of mid18th century England. The Gin Craze (that kicked off in 1689 on the back of the English government banning the import of French wines and spirits and subsidising the domestic distilling industry) saw Gin consumption shoot through the roof and eventually lead to the introduction of the Gin Act 1751 in an attempt to stem the rapidly increasing flow of gin into the people’s thirsty mouths!
Thankfully, the gin being produced in Hogarth’s day would be unrecognisable when compared to the amazing array of super exciting, well-distilled fresh gins that are available today. With its complex mix of flavour (each gin is made from its own blend of botanicals, from which compounds are extracted that then give each gin its own unique and distinct taste), gin is without doubt one of summer’s best friends and there’s nothing better than rounding off a hard day at the office than heading home for a nice, cleansing classic G&T. But gin is way more versatile than only being good for mixing with some tonic and a slice of lime, so grab yourself a bottle of your favourite gin and give the following delectable treats a whirl.
A trip down Gin Lane.
The drink that sorts the men from the boys (and the women from the girls, let it be said) has to be the classic Martini. Whether you like it garnished with a twist of lemon or some olives, sipping on a martini whilst watching the world goes by is one of the finest pastimes around.
The Classic Martini
Try Martin Millers London Gin for a delicate but superb palate-starting martini. You’ll need some dry vermouth for your concoction, but once you’ve mastered the perfect martini technique you’ll be the height of 007 coolness.
As refreshing as summer gets!
Tom Collins (with a twist)
While the humble G&T is refreshing, a well-mixed Tom Collins steps it up a notch. For a more interesting take, a Cucumber Basil Tom Collins is a sure-fire upgrade. Reach for a shaker and simply add several slices of cucumber, an equal dash of lime juice and sugar syrup, 4-5 basil leaves (crushed in the hand to release the aromas), a glass of soda water a lashing of dry gin. Shake and then strain into a tall glass of ice. Add a dash of bitters and garnish with a cucumber slice and basil leaf.
The Southside is another classic that unleashes bucketloads of flavour on your palate and is a great way to enjoy your favourite gin. Relatively new to the market, the amazing Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin is awesome when putting together the perfect Southside. You’ll need some lime juice, sugar syrup and some mint for this, but also a lot of restraint to keep from mixing up glass number two once you taste the perfect combination of gin, mint, sugar and lime.
Last, but by no means least, gin is a vital component in the not-for-the-faint-hearted classic that is the Negroni. A hedonistic combination of equal parts Campari, Sweet vermouth and gin (try Tanqueray for its lovely rooty, earthy flavour that compliments the campari superbly) the Negroni quietly, yet confidently sets the tone for any meal or night out.