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Gillman
05-28-2006, 13:39
Of the various drinks we discuss here I'd wager gin gets the least discussion. Of vodka, tequila, malt whisky, Irish, beer, Canadian whisky, even wine, there is occasional discussion, often quite, um, spirited. But gin is rarely discussed (never mind its ancestor genever gin, still liked in Holland and a few other places). I have only two bottles of gin and rarely sample them but I thought comments on some tweaked Beefeater I have may be of interest. Some years ago I brought back from a trip to northern France an artisanal gin, in fact a genever gin (the Flemish-influenced part of France favours the drink no less than the same cultural areas in Belgium and The Netherlands). It was quite juniper-tasting, in fact it had juniper berries on the bottom. I added the remains of that bottle to an 80% full bottle of Beefeater gin. When I tasted it again, it struck me it could use yet more juniper taste. So I added a teaspoon of juniper berries to it. Then it was very piney/forest-like, almost too much. I had a bottle of Finsbury gin, another London dry style and added some of that, to reduce the juniper taste and add some of its own taste which was kind of orange-like and sweetish. Fast forward five years, when I tried it yesterday. It was good but needed more Finsbury so I topped it up with the remains of that bottle. Now it is really good, with a full juniper and orange-like taste, sweetish and rich. It makes a good Martini - very good.

Occasionally we've had discussion of the gins people like for Martinis or G&T. I would be interested in current suggestions, I am thinking of buying a couple of bottles now that summer is soon upon us. What do people like?

Gary

elkdoggydog
05-28-2006, 22:22
There's always Bombay, which has never dissappointed me, but I like Plymouth better for G & T, and it's usually cheaper. I'm not sure I can put my finger on the Plymouth flavor, but I recommend it. Hendrick's is also a great gin- I believe they use cucumber in it. It makes a nice martini, imo. Three different flavor profiles there, too.

Anyone try the Van Gogh gin?

Gillman
05-29-2006, 04:14
Good suggestions, thanks. I may pick up Plymouth Gin. I've read it represents a mid-point between the heavier-flavored Dutch style and the London Dry type of gin. It is or was associated with naval traditions. There was a drink called pink gin which was a glass rinsed with bitters and then filled with Plymouth gin (and other brands were used too). That is a good drink if the gin is not too dry and I suspect Plymouth gin may have some residual sweetness and therefore suit this drink. Beefeater has a new orange-flavored gin out which might work too. Also, this cocktail was traditionally not iced and I mention that since many here like spirits and even cocktails without ice. Few if any gin drinks can rival the Martini though.

Gary

JeffRenner
05-29-2006, 08:16
For an occasional martini, I love the in-your-face flavors of Anchor Junipero (http://www.anchorbrewing.com/about_us/junipero.htm), made by the same folks who bring you Anchor Steam and Old Potrero. I like some vermouth in my martini - more than the "glance in the general direction of the vermouth bottle" or rinse-the-glass amount. Probably about 5:1, and Junipero holds up to this.

This is a California-only brand as far as I know, so I bring it back when I'm visiting our kids. When I can't get it, such as in a restaurant, I like Tanqueray No. Ten (http://www.tanqueray.com/tanqueray_no_ten/faq/). It is also a gutsier gin than most.

The last time I ordered a martini out, I asked if they had Tanqueray 10, and the waiter said they did, but when he brought it, it was flabby (as well as being warm). I asked if they made it with Tanqeray Ten, and he assured me they had. But as I was leaving, I checked with the bartender, and he said they only carried regular Tanqueray. I let the manager know my disappointment and asked him to straighten out the waiter.

Jeff

scratchline
05-29-2006, 09:59
Give Malacca Gin a try. Tanqueray has discontinued it, but it can still be found occasionally. I came across several bottles in the LA area. It has a singular taste profile and comes highly recommended by Ted Haigh in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, a book worthy of any aspiring mixologist. Here's a review:

http://www.alcoholreviews.com/SPIRITS/malacca.html

-Mike

Vange
06-05-2006, 11:30
I enjoy Cadenhead's Old Raj and Hendrick's (cucumbery).
I also 2nd the Anchor Junipero.

Gillman
06-05-2006, 11:45
Thanks, can you indicate the abv of those? Unlike bourbons and some vodkas it seems most gins are 40% abv which can't however be (completely) historical. Some of the lore of the dry martini must come from the gins in its heyday being 100 proof or at least 90.

Gary

BourbonJoe
06-05-2006, 12:07
I personally like Bombay Saphire. It is readily available here and I find it makes the perfect martini for me. I also like more than a dash of vermouth in my martini, along with a splash of olive juice. I drink em on the rocks.
Joe :usflag:

ratcheer
06-05-2006, 16:47
Thanks, can you indicate the abv of those? Unlike bourbons and some vodkas it seems most gins are 40% abv which can't however be (completely) historical. Some of the lore of the dry martini must come from the gins in its heyday being 100 proof or at least 90.

Gary

Gary, I remember when the better gins (Beefeaters, Bombay, Tanqueray, etc) were all over 90 proof. I think 94 was common. So, that has changed? I hadn't noticed, but I have a few bottles of various brands on hand and I will check.

Tim

Gillman
06-05-2006, 18:38
Hi Tim, interesting, thanks. All the major gins in Ontario are 40%, yes. I'll look and see if one may be 43% but that would be the top limit here!

Gary

contrarian
06-05-2006, 19:50
Tim, I've got a bottle of Tanqueray Ten that is 94 proof (as is regular Tanqueray London Dry, Beefeater, Brokers here in Oregon). The Plymouth I've had is 82 proof, but I've read that they offer a 114 proof version.

Try as I might, I cannot learn to like gin. I keep one bottle of good stuff for cuts and abrasions and guests.

Jeff

JeffRenner
06-06-2006, 08:17
Thanks, can you indicate the abv of those? Unlike bourbons and some vodkas it seems most gins are 40% abv which can't however be (completely) historical. Some of the lore of the dry martini must come from the gins in its heyday being 100 proof or at least 90.

Junipero is 98.6 proof - a little numerology fun on the part of the marketeers, I guess (for you Celcius-types, body temperature, 37 C, is 98.6 Fahrenheit).

Tanqueray No. Ten is 94.6 proof.

This certainly contributes to the quality of martinis made with them. They can be shaken (or stirred) enough to thoroughly chill them without over-diluting them. It also helps them to hold up to a bit more vermouth.

BTW, I don't like a "dirty" martini - one made with a splash of olive juice. When I think of all the trouble the distiller goes to to choose more than a dozen botanicals, then infuses them into the GNS and distills it again (or places them in a basket in the neck of a pot still for the distillation) to get a carefully crafted balance of flavors, I couldn't bring myself to muddy that up with olive brine. Seems like a travesty.

Jeff

cowdery
06-06-2006, 12:46
The race to 80 proof (40% abv) in the U.S. has been a function of consumer preference and taxation.

Altough one always wonders why people can't figure out how to add their own water, the fact is that most people prefer the lower proofs.

Taxation is a factor because the federal excise tax (as well as some local taxes) is based on alcohol content. When Jack Daniel's cut its proof from 86 to 80 a few years ago, it saved $10 million a year in taxes.

It stops at 80 because anything below 80 (with a couple of exceptions) has to be labelled "diluted." One-hundred was the most common proof for spirits, both white and brown, until the 1950s. Then the two factors mentioned above started to push it downwards.

A proof cut is like an invisible price increase.

Many brands initially offered both a higher and lower proof product and a few still do although, especially with white spirits, you almost never see anything except 80 proof.

ratcheer
06-06-2006, 18:05
Gary, I remember when the better gins (Beefeaters, Bombay, Tanqueray, etc) were all over 90 proof. I think 94 was common. So, that has changed? I hadn't noticed, but I have a few bottles of various brands on hand and I will check.

Tim
Okay, here is what I found around the house:

Bombay - 86 proof
Bombay Sapphire - 94 proof
Broker's - 94 proof
Seagram's - 80 proof

There is a bottle of Tanqueray somewhere in the freezer, but I can't find it. It is one of those old, large chest-type freezers.

Tim

wadewood
06-06-2006, 19:12
There is a bottle of Tanqueray somewhere in the freezer, but I can't find it. It is one of those old, large chest-type freezers.

Tim

maybe Jimmy Hoffa is in there as well!

gr8erdane
06-06-2006, 19:52
Naw, Jimmy didn't drink gin, he's more likely in my freezer with the EC 18.

For a token on-topic note, I don't drink gin myself but keep Bombay Sapphire on the bar and have an old 375/Pint of Boodles that someone gave me. Is Boodles any good?

Nebraska
06-06-2006, 20:23
Wow,

I was going to comment that I currently drink Bombay Sapphire, but had really not noticed any difference between it and regular Bombay. I had no idea there was a proof difference!

I've tried Hendrick's but much prefer the Bombay. I am going to see if I can't track down a bottle of ... crap:banghead: ...I can't remember the name now that I'm typing the post! What ever that was ...oh yeah...Plymouth!


I'm a big gin and tonic fan in the summer. Good summer time cooler downer.

Gillman
06-07-2006, 03:25
I've been impressed by the abv reports of many well-known and other brands of gin. I will check again at our outlets and try to make specific comparisons.

Gary

JeffRenner
06-07-2006, 07:40
I've been impressed by the abv reports of many well-known and other brands of gin.
The Michigan state list (http://www.cis.state.mi.us/lcc_code/sr_lcc.asp) of gins available here lists proofs (pull down "gin" in the "liquor type" menu). It's an easy place to compare at least those.

It's also a handy place to check availability and minimum price of all spirits in this controlled state.

I will check again at our outlets and try to make specific comparisons.
I was just checking the LCBO web site (http://www.lcbo.com/) and see that some of our higher proof gins are 80 proof in Ontario, but not all. Some that stood out:

Beefeater (94 vs. 80)
Bombay Sapphire (94 vs. 80)
Broker's (94 vs. 80)
Citadelle (88 both)
Hendrick's (88 both)
Magellan (88 both)
Tanqueray (94.6 vs. 80) but not Tanqueray No. Ten (94.6 both places)

Most of the rest seemed to be 80 proof in both places, and each had some higher proofs that weren't carried in the other.

Doesn't look like I'll be going to Ontario for gin. ;)

Jeff

Gillman
06-07-2006, 08:14
Thanks Jeff, this is illuminating. Some major brands are clearly only at 80 proof here. However I see some are higher than I thought. Overall though, it seems we don't get as many at the higher proofs as elsewhere.

Gary

gr8erdane
06-07-2006, 20:11
Correction, the pint is Booth's not Boodles. Tax stamped but open.

ratcheer
06-08-2006, 17:23
All this talk about gin got me to make a martini, last night. Bombay Sapphire, Martini & Rossi, and two large stuffed Manzanilla olives. Delicious!

Tim

kbuzbee
06-21-2006, 13:35
Given that a cocktail is no better than it's weakest component, discussion on qualities (and of course, brands) of tonic???

Ken

Nebraska
06-21-2006, 16:14
Oddly enough I haven't noticed big differences in tonics. What I have noticed is that there is a big difference between tonic bottled in glass as opposed to plastic. I always thought the tonic in glass bottling was far better.


Alas, finding tonic in a glass bottle at a reasonable price has nearly beome a thing of the past.

bluesbassdad
06-21-2006, 18:56
In the same vein as the discussion of caramel, butterscotch, etc. in a recent, bourbon-related thread it just struck me that I have no idea as to the composition of tonic water. I suppose if I were a gin & tonic drinker, I might have been curious enough to look into it before now.

A search yielded this description (http://origin.www.epicurious.com/cooking/how_to/food_dictionary/entry?id=4971)of the ingredients and this commentary (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/tonic+water), which touches on its origin. Obviously, there must be much more to say on the topic of tonic.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

kbuzbee
06-22-2006, 03:59
This article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinine) reminded me that the Quinine was used to fight malaria... Still is in doses way higher than they allow in US sodas.

Ken

Gillman
06-22-2006, 05:01
Quinine extract was used in British Colonial and other developing areas to counter certain diseases, as Ken noted malaria was one. In time it was added to spirits, maybe to reduce their adverse effects if taken to excess, or maybe to combine the "healthful" effects. In the 1800's alcohol was still viewed as something which could help the human body physically; this attitude continued in America through the Prohibition era with the concept of medicinal whiskey.

Gin and tonic was probably always a sweetish drink. Either the tonic water was sweetened early on to moderate the bitterness of the quinine (derived from the bark of certain trees) or the gin was sweet enough on its own. Old Tom was an early style of English gin which was lightly sweetened (and has practically died out although one or two brands may survive here or there). Gin and Tonic became the great drink of Empire, rivalling Scotch whisky. G&T perhaps was more associated than whisky with the hottest parts of Empire such as the Raj and Hong Kong. G&T is still popular in Britain although vodka drinks have probably impacted its popularity. Some have noted here an aversion to London Dry gin. I can't disagree when it is viewed neat but except in the martini, where it is taken almost unmixed, gin is meant to be mixed. A G&T is a great refresher. The variant with bitter lemon is good too. In the 1960's these drinks had great currency in Canada but today much less so. I doubt many people who drink regularly know what bitter lemon is, for example.

Here's Frederic Martin's typically consise and assured entry for Tonic Water in his Encyclopedia of Drinks and Drinking (circa late 1960's):

"The increasingly universal additive for gin. Its full title of 'Indian Quinine Tonic Water' indicates its semi-medicinal origins in the full flowering of the British Raj in the last century. The word 'tonic' may not be used in describing it in the U.S.A. Schweppes is the leading brand and the one which put tonic water on the map".

In his entry on Schweppes - a Swiss merchant who came to England and made his fortune in carbonated waters - Martin notes that the first manufacture of such waters was intended to duplicate the waters of spas, so that (one infers) the benefits available to the wealthy who could travel to and use spas would be available to all who could buy such waters in the small patent medicine bottles in which they were originally sold. Martin states that Scweppes' first shop (this is in the 1700's) was next to a chemist's - a pharmacy, that is. One may further infer that Scweppes sourced the quinine and other additives for his waters at this shop to create his Indian Quinine Tonic Water. Martin was an admirer of Schweppes Tonic, noting that its packaging was often imitated but its taste never was.

Gary

jeff
06-22-2006, 15:35
I remember taking Quinine as prophylaxis for Malaria when my unit was deployed to El Salvador. Every morning we lined up and our commander had to see us take it.

Gillman
06-22-2006, 17:44
I didn't know you were in the service Jeff, what branch, and what kind of unit? Were you infantry?

Gary

jeff
06-22-2006, 18:31
I was assigned to the 5010th US Army Hospital out of Louisville, KY. It was, is a M.A.S.H. unit of the US Army Reserve. I was lucky enough, not by design, to get in after the first Gulf war, and out before the second. Mostly we performed humanitarian missions in 3rd world countries of central and south America. I was a combat medic/pharmacy specialist.

kbuzbee
06-25-2006, 07:35
I doubt many people who drink regularly know what bitter lemon is, for example.

Gary, do you target me specifically? Or is it just "luck"??? ;-)

Anyway, okay, found bitter lemon at the store. Now, what do I do with it, oh wise mixologist ;-)

Ken

ratcheer
06-25-2006, 11:31
It doesn't take a wise mixologist. You make a highball with the bitter lemon, ice cubes, and gin.

If you are a heathen, you can make it with vodka. :grin:

Tim

kbuzbee
06-25-2006, 11:45
Thanks Tim... Well, as I was, I'm sure, Gary's example for the post (never heard of bitter lemon) in MY case, it does (and you also qualify! ;-). Thanks! Never really tried much Gin outside of a 'tini so highball and G&T are both on my 'it's summer, let's give it a try' - list. Got some Tanqueray Ten kicking around here somewhere....

Ken

Gillman
06-25-2006, 11:46
Tim's got it. :)

Lots of ice, easy on the bitter lemon one might add. Sip slowly.

Gary

kbuzbee
06-25-2006, 11:50
If you are a heathen, you can make it with vodka. :grin:


And Vodka is reserved for drinking in Red Square when is Vegas.... Just for the experience....

Red Square (http://www.worldsbestbars.com/city/las-vegas/red-square-las-vegas.htm)

Ken

kbuzbee
06-25-2006, 11:59
Tim's got it. :)

Lots of ice, easy on the bitter lemon one might add. Sip slowly.

Gary

So, like a martini, this is mostly gin??

Any Bourbon drinks??

Ken

Gillman
06-25-2006, 12:06
It's not like a martini Ken, it's a long drink. But I'm suggesting to add say three ounces or so of the bitter lemon to 1 1/2 ounce or 2 of gin. Some people would add 6 ounces of the mixer and that's too much IMO.

Do you mean does bitter lemon mix with bourbon? I think this would be problematic. Maybe in small quantity since lemon and orange go well with bourbon e.g. in an Old-Fashioned. But the two don't sound like natural companions..

gary

kbuzbee
06-25-2006, 12:22
Gott'cha, thanks. Ratio sounds good.

I may try some Bourbon experiments over the next few days. If anything 'clicks' I'll start a thread.

Ken

gr8erdane
06-26-2006, 00:48
Well then, that solves everything! Everyone knows there are no heathens in Vegas.....

kbuzbee
06-26-2006, 06:05
Tried the bitter lemon w/ Tanqueray last night. Very tasty and refreshing. Good advice on the ice, Gary.

Ken

Gillman
06-26-2006, 06:25
Glad you liked it! The bitter lemon is quite rich-tasting and needs the ice to match it and the gin. I guess the bitter lemon is a kind of concentrated lemonade (spiked with a little quinine if it is still used in these tonics). The bitter lemon might suit a mild whiskey such as 7 Crown or even some bourbon but I think it would go better in a mixture which includes Grenadine (or say Pama, now in our market), soda water or orange juice, something like that, a good shaken drink served up.

Gary

BourbonJoe
06-26-2006, 07:51
I like Gin and Bitter Lemon because, unlike a G&T where lime is needed, this drink does not. The simpler the better. Limes in the Northeast are expensive and do not last very long in the refrigerator.
Joe :usflag:

ratcheer
07-02-2006, 13:44
I like Gin and Bitter Lemon because, unlike a G&T where lime is needed, this drink does not. The simpler the better. Limes in the Northeast are expensive and do not last very long in the refrigerator.
Joe :usflag:
Well, I just had the opposite. :lol: I took that old bottle of Bombay from the freezer and poured all of it (probably an ounce or less) into a glass, intending to make a gin and tonic. At the last second, I decided not to open the tonic water and just squeezed in a small slice of lime. It was very tasty. I suppose it was a martini of sorts - mostly very cold gin with a small additional flavoring. :skep:

Tim

JeffRenner
07-02-2006, 17:33
I took that old bottle of Bombay from the freezer and poured all of it (probably an ounce or less) into a glass ... and just squeezed in a small slice of lime. It was very tasty. I suppose it was a martini of sorts - mostly very cold gin with a small additional flavoring.

That sounds more or less like a gimlet (http://www.therecipebox.com/members/box/cocktail/al0214.htm), although they are often made with Rose's lime juice rather than fresh lime juice, which I prefer.

Jeff

ratcheer
07-02-2006, 17:49
Thanks for reminding me, Jeff. I drank quite a few Rose's gimlets when I was in college (a long, long time ago) and I enjoyed them at the time. But, believe me, the drink I had this afternoon was nothing like that. The Rose's was very sweet and intensely flavored, while the very small squeeze of fresh lime today was very subdued. The result really was very like a martini.

Tim

chperry
07-04-2006, 12:02
I have different favorites depending on the drink. If I am making martinis (4 to 5 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth, dash of Regans Orange Bitters), I want Plymouth, Bombay Saphire, or Tanquerey Ten, in that order. If I am drinking gin and tonics, I want Tanquerey or Bombay or Beefeaters. Also, and this may surprise you, cheap old Burnetts works great in a gin and tonic. Don't be tempted to try it in a martini though.

Charles Perry

kbuzbee
07-14-2006, 11:01
Just tried the Junipero.... Very tasty. Tried it with Bitter lemon and Tonic. Both were very good. I'm not sure it makes a MUCH better drink than T-10 but it is good enough I would switch to it if it were available local..... Pity it isn't..... Probably won't switch but glad to have tried it. There's a bottle of Hendricks (which IS available locally) waiting for the same trial. Results to follow.

Ken