With Cocktail Suggestions from Professional Bartenders
World Gin Day falls on 12 June 2021, and it's a holiday we can really get behind. Founded by Neil Houston then developed into an international event by the Gin Monkey, Emma Stokes, World Gin Day brings together a series of virtual and real-life events to celebrate our collective love of gin. So join in by grabbing a glass, getting acquainted with a little gin history, then making yourself a fabulous gin cocktail.
Geneva is Born
Although it's easy to assume gin was created on British shores, Holland gets the credit. In the 1600s, a Dutch scientist formulated juniper berry oil as a medicine, but the flavour left little to be desired. To make it more palatable for patients, the oil was added to distilled spirit, along with botanicals. This may have made it a little too desirable, as cases of reported illnesses began to soar, with many wishing to try this new concoction which was only available through pharmacies. Eventually, demand grew so high that small distilleries were formed, and the commercial adaptation was born.
The UK Catches On
In the 1620s, English troops saw that Dutch soldiers were very courageous in battle. They also saw them drink Geneva before fighting and put two and two together. The term Dutch courage was born, and gin became the drink of valour. The Dutch seized this entrepreneurial opportunity and began importing it via a fleet of trade ships.
Geneva Becomes Gin
Later, The Dutch King, William of Orange, married into the English Royal Family and was proclaimed King of England on 22 January 1689. He encouraged gin distilleries to open on British soil. The gin-craze in England began. Water-borne diseases were rife, and people were afraid to drink stagnant water. Gin was seen as safe, as the alcohol killed the germs. Over seven thousand spirit shops popped up in London.
The Gin and Tonic
During the British invasion of India, soldiers needed gin for medical reasons once more. They had to drink quinine in a tonic to fight malaria. It didn't taste very pleasant, so they turned to gin to make it palatable. The Gin and Tonic was born, and we've never looked back. Both gin and tonic water recipes have vastly improved over the years, but they're not everyone's cup of tea. So we turned to the professional bartending world to ask, what is your favourite gin cocktail? Here are the most popular answers
Ah, lemon, blackberry and gin combined in a Bramble serves as the perfect introductory to gin: "For me, the Bramble was always the go-to for anyone who told me they didn't like gin (thus allowing me to help them to discover that it was actually tonic that they didn't like, and that gin was wonderful)". The sweet and refreshing drink is the perfect way to dip your toes into the world of gin, as easy to make as it is to drink.
The French 75
For those of you feeling fancy, it’s "A French 75 for me: It somehow manages to be better than the sum of its parts even though it's got champagne and gin in it”. Champagne and gin — what's not to love? This sparkling drink is perfect for celebrations and makes drinking gin a little more exciting. Serve in a champagne glass or a "Proper French 75 made over ice like a Collins” in a highball glass is a good shout.
The Gin Martini
A classic Gin Martini is a go-to for so many bartenders, but not the 'shaken not stirred' kind. No, our professionals prefer a little flavour. The Gibson is well-loved "because it's got a pickled onion in it!”. The silvery onion acts as a small flavour parcel, adding salt, sweet, vinegar and umami unctuousness to whet the appetite. And dry martinis are out too. A wet Gin Martini with a twist is how "you can really feel the gin" because the vermouth (the wet) and the lemon oils (the twist) complement the botanicals to enrich the drink. But ultimately: "A good Dirty Martini can't be beaten when the occasion calls for it (on the wet side and proper filthy for me, please)". Adding olive brine to your martini underlines the savoury flavours in the flowery, herby gin, and vermouth combination, making a perfect aperitif.
Gin can be an overwhelming spirit to get your head around. If you’re looking to explore the different tastes available in the gin category, A premium Gin Tasting Set will give you the chance to sample a variety of lip-smacking gins. If you know what you like, then head to our ingredients suppliers to snatch a bottle of your favourite gin. Then, when you’re ready, try one of these recipes above, or delve into the gin section of our Recipedia for more inspiration.