Gin Season is Officially Here! What is Gin?
What does it mean to be Gin Season? The temperature has warmed up outside and you might be wanting to have a 'more refreshing' style of cocktail. So you might want to reach for a gin based drink. The end of this story will have a few recipes to try. When you make them, feel free to make the same drink a few times, using different gins. Each gin is made using a different 'recipe,' which will have a different flavor result when making your cocktail. Only through trying a few different ones, will you find the one that you like the best and that works with the cocktails you like to make.
For instance a gin and tonic might taste better to you with one gin and then a Gin Rickey, might taste better to you with a completely different gin.
So what is gin? Basically it is a botanically infused vodka. Ok, you cocktail geeks, that is not the 100% answer, but it is the quickest. Gin can be traced back to 17th-century Holland. According to Spirits & Liqueurs, by Rosalind Cooper, gin was first invented by a doctor in Holland, Dr Sylvius. Of course, it was created as a inexpensive medicine. Juniper has diuretic properties and he combined it with a neutral grain spirit, because it too has diuretic properties. He combined the two, and sold it to his patients as a purifying tonic.
Over the decades it has subtly changed, with the addition of on average 6 to 10 botanicals but juniper must be included to qualify it as a gin. Other botanicals that you might find include coriander, star anise, citrus peel, angelica, even black pepper. Some distilleries may tell you what they add, others will keep it a very guarded secret.
Gin comes in pretty much three styles:
- London Dry Gin, most gins that you find at the store will fall into this category.
- Plymouth Gin, this style is considered a bit 'softer.' The juniper note is not as strong, this is also the category where you might find 'pink gins' but that is for another discussion at another time.
- Genever Gin. This is a bolder gin, fuller bodied. This style is made using malted barley, along with equal parts corn and rye. If you really enjoy gin and want to explore more from this category, know that they are usually sold in young and aged styles. Start with the younger ones and then work your way up to the aged.
The best way to drink gin? Well, that truly will vary on how you want to drink it. Maybe martini's are for you, maybe it's the Bees Knees, maybe a gin and tonic. Try a few different ones and keep in mind that you just might not care for it.
Start by heading to either a well stocked (& knowledgeable) liquor store, one of our amazing local distilleries or even a bar or restaurant that has a really good bartender. Remember to ask questions and try different ones till you find the one for you.
- 2 oz gin (the Half Moon Gin, works well for this)
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (mix equal parts warm water with honey, stir until dissolved, then chill and keep it in the fridge until you need it).
- Fill a shaker with ice, add your ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 lime
- club soda or sparkling water
In a rocks glass or highball glass, squeeze the 1/2 lime, then drop it into the glass. Fill glass with ice, add the 2 oz gin and then fill with sparkling water or club soda.