Welcome to our next installment of #WhatTheHeckWithHenry - where our
incredibly handsome and photogenic cat, Henry, explains what the heck this ingredient is.
Gin: what the heck is it?
People usually have strong feelings about gin:
🌲 “It tastes like pine trees.”
🤩 “It’s perfection in a bottle.”
👵🏻 “If I wanted that many florals in my cocktail, I’d drink my grandma’s perfume.”
😍 “Gin is the only spirit worth drinking.”
Love it or hate it, gin is a complex spirit:
✔️ Gin is distilled, usually from a mash of grains. (Need a refresher about the distillation process? Check out our #WhatTheHeckWithHenry post about whiskey.)
✔️ Gin is distilled to a neutral spirit, meaning that it is largely stripped of flavor during the distillation process (akin to vodka).
✔️ That neutral spirit is then infused with botanicals. One of those botanicals is juniper berries from evergreen trees/shrubs. So yes, that’s where the distinctive “piney” flavor of gin comes from.
✔️ Besides juniper, the other botanicals included are up to the distiller and the flavor profile they want to achieve. Typically, these flavors include notes of fruit and botanicals.
There are several categories of gin:
🏴 London dry gin - this is the most traditional style and what you will most likely see in cocktail recipes. Like the name says, it tastes dry, and it is light and very juniper-forward.
🍋 Plymouth gin - this style is more citrus-forward and the juniper is less prominent. People say it tastes more “earthy.”
🐈⬛ Old Tom gin - this is an old style of gin that has seen a resurgence in popularity in our current times. It’s sweeter (from licorice in the distillation, and sometimes added sugar) and less botanical when compared to other styles.
🇳🇱 Genever - this is the OG gin! Historical records show that it was around in the 16th Century in Holland. It is made from malted grains, like the process used in some whiskies. It has a more robust and heavy mouthfeel and kind of tastes like the child of a gin and whiskey.
❓Contemporary gin - this category encompasses all the new and wild gins that people are creating all over the world. It will still have juniper, but the other flavors can be pretty much anything. A wild ride for your palette!
What the heck do I do with gin? 🤔
There are so many ways to enjoy gin!
😋 The gin and tonic is so refreshing and allows the complex flavors of the gin to shine through. (Bonus points for being easy to stir up at home!)
😋 Gin has been around for a longgggggg time, and many classic recipes include this delightful spirit. The gin martini, the French 75 (the original calls for gin, so sub out the brandy for a London dry in this recipe), the gin sour (remember the sour template? Sub out the whiskey for gin here)...the list goes on and on!
Who wants a gin cocktail? 👋
Let’s try the Gimlet -- after all, it was Betty Draper’s drink of choice, and she had impeccable taste.
Back in the day, gimlets were made with Rose’s Lime Juice, but that is some aggressively sweet stuff. Modern interpretations use lime juice and simple syrup instead, resulting in a fresher, deliciously pucker-y drink.
2.5 oz. gin (London dry works well)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Lime wheel for garnish
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with the lime wheel. Sip & enjoy!
Let’s see your best Betty Draper impressions with your gimlets!