Beginner’s Guide to Enjoying Gin

Are you just getting started in the world of enjoying gin? Is this a liquor you’ve always wanted to try but have never gotten the nerve to learn more about? Or do you just want to figure out the best way to enjoy gin when you’re a little bit inexperienced with it? There are many reasons why you may be interested in learning more about gin, and whatever those reasons may be, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve put together a quick rundown of information to help you get started on the path to understanding, accepting, and enjoying gin from its humble beginnings to its modern applications in cocktails.

Gin’s History

You may have seen it on the shelves of your local liquor store, but do you know what gin really is? In short, gin is an alcoholic beverage with a juniper flavor that is usually made with a variety of other herbs, berries, and plants as well—although it doesn’t have to be. It usually has a faint licorice flavor and often has undertones of orange and other citrus as well.
Gin is a popular drink in England today, but this wasn’t always the case. It actually originated in the Netherlands, but it was brought to England by William of Orange. It soon caught on as an English beverage instead, and many people began making it on their own in their homes as well as for widespread consumption. Over time, more regulations and rules were put into place to make gin safer for those who were drinking it, and its popularity spread even more.

Although gin never totally fell out of fashion, it dipped a bit in popularity until it was rediscovered for use in cocktails in recent decades. There are many different variations of gin out there, and there’s truly something for everyone on the market today.

The Process of Making Gin

Gin is made through the distillation process the same way as many other types of alcohol. However, in the distillation of gin, botanicals—the juniper and other plant products that give the gin its flavor—are added to the product to infuse it with its own unique and individual taste and aromas.
Gin may also be made by cold compounding, which is adding the flavors of the botanicals to an existing unflavored clear spirit. This may not always be considered “true” gin, depending on the person, location, and brand in question. A gin that is labeled simply “gin” with no other indication may be made by either one of these processes. If the gin is labeled as “distilled gin,” then it cannot be cold compounded.

Dry gin, or London gin, is made with distilled gin that has had nothing else added to it after the process is complete. And sloe gin, which is flavored and usually much sweeter than traditional gin, can be made with either process but has many other flavors added to it at the end to give it a range of tastes and aromas outside the norm.

How to Enjoy Gin

When you’re first starting out drinking gin, you may be a little overwhelmed by all the unspoken rules that are behind the enjoyment of this beverage. This is true of most types of liquor; they have their own culture, and that culture can be difficult to follow when you aren’t used to it or being introduced to it by a friend. With that said, however, there are a few basic ways to enjoy gin that you can try even if you’ve never had this particular spirit before. You may find that one of these is very palatable to you, so give them a try:

  • Neat. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy gin neat, especially if you’re a bit of a purist. Take your time sipping it if you go this route, and enjoy the aromas before you drink. You may also want to have your gin on the rocks if you find that it’s a little too strong, at least until you get more used to drinking it and enjoying it as-is. Keep in mind that the vast majority of gin on the market today is meant to be enjoyed without anything else added to it.

  • Gin & tonic. This is a tried and true method of drinking gin that has been popular almost as long as the liquor itself has been around. It’s best served with a chilled tonic, but take care to choose a good quality tonic that can complement or intensify the flavors present in the gin. You can also choose a flavored soda water if you prefer, or even go with a classic gin & Coke if you want things to be a little bit sweeter and more flavorful overall. Gin & San Pellegrino is becoming a popular pick in recent years, too.

  • In a cocktail. There are plenty of cocktail options out there for fans of gin and newcomers alike, but the most popular and best pick for your first gin cocktail is probably the martini. A true, traditional martini includes gin, olive juice, and vermouth, shaken with ice and strained on the rocks. Garnish it with a couple of olives and you’ll be ready to enjoy one of the most classic upscale cocktails around. Of course, there are plenty of other variations on this cocktail, too, so don’t hesitate to try your hand at making one or more different styles of martini when the mood strikes.

Whether you end up deciding to enjoy gin or not, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with different types of alcohol, where they come from, and how they are meant to be consumed. After all, you never know when you’ll be in a group of friends who like gin or when you may just want to show off some of your knowledge and cocktail-making skills. And of course, you may find that gin is your new favorite beverage of choice when you take the time to really appreciate it and drink it as intended, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *