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  1. #1

    Let's Talk About Gin

    I had never tried gin before today. I was aware that many gins were made from juniper berries and that the beverage was invented as a medicine. I knew these brands by name: Calvert, Seagram's, Gilbey's, Beefeater, Boodle's, Burnett's. I finally developed enough curiosity to try this liquor. I went down to my usual liquor store and looked around long enough that the manager started to watch me, picking up bottles and reading labels etc. I never buy off the bottom shelf, and I don't buy anything expensive in a class I've never tried. I settled on Boodle's ($16.20 in Ohio). Upon opening the bottle the first aroma to hit me was reminiscent of menthol. After pouring into the glass I picked up a powerful dose of coriander. The taste was mildly menthol, strongly coriander, and faintly citrus. I like it, but perhaps the coriander is a bit strong; much like the one other coriander heavy beverage i recall, Leinenkugel's Wheat beer, the coriander remained long after all other flavors had faded. I noticed a few of the bottles spoke of coriander accents, and am wondering if this is common to gin? I like coriander, but it is a powerful spice best used sparingly. Is this characteristic of coriander strong to the point of bludgeoning the pallete common to gin? Educate me on this beverage.

  2. #2
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    Good questions.

    First, Boodles is known as a pretty good gin, but I have never personally had it.

    The primary flavoring of gin is usually juniper. Note that gin is not made of juniper, it is simply flavored with the berries. Other than the various botanicals used to flavor gin, it is basically just grain neutral spirits, i.e., ethanol and water.

    Most of the other botanicals are usually used in very small amounts. I am surprised that the coriander was so pronounced, to you. It seems that you may be especially sensitive or tuned in to that flavor.

    My favorite gins are Beefeater and Bombay. I also enjoy Tanqueray. Among domestic brands, I enjoy Seagram's and Sir Robert Burnett's.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  3. #3
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    Boodles is indeed a fine gin. I find that gins can really vary in taste, no doubt due to different amounts of juniper and other botanicals, so if you like Boodles, I'd urge you to try a few others. It's been a while since I've had Boodles, so I don't remember the coriander, but this is not something I've been able to taste in any recent gins I've had, so this seems unusual to me. Maybe it is indeed unique to Boodles.

    I really like gin a lot, but having said that I'd never drink it straight. Try making a gin martini, and don't skimp on the vermouth (I prefer anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 vermouth, not just a "wave of the bottle" as has been become the trend in recent years). Try a gin and tonic. Try gin with club soda and lime (a gin rickey...one of my favorite simple pleasures). Enjoy, and let us know how it goes!

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    You can parse gin a couple of different ways. Most of your inexpensive gins are U.S.-made and are simply grain neutral spirit (i.e., vodka) to which a flavoring concentrate is added. Seagram's is one of the few U.S.-made gins that uses an infusion of the flavorings substances, i.e., botanicals, rather than a flavor house concentrate. The imports, mostly from England but also from Scotland, the Netherlands and some other places, also use the more costly infusion process.

    I'm not real familiar with Boodles. It's an old British name, but I think what you get in the U.S. is U.S.-made and made with a flavoring concentrate. That assumption is supported by the price you quoted. The major UK-bottled gins, like Bombay and Beefeater, are like $20 a bottle here and, knowing Ohio, I'd guess at least $25 there, but that's where you want to be if you want to experience the real deal. U.S.-made gins are all pretty similar and similarly undistinguished.

  5. #5
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    I found this on Boodles, at the web address below:

    "Boodles (45.5% alcohol)
    Not as widely known in America as it should be, this superior gin is named after the London club and was reputedly to be the favorite gin of its most famous member, Winston Churchill. Its distinctive floral nose and palate with lingering juniper have long made it one of the most popular gins in the United Kingdom. Boodles is currently made by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons."

    The article also reviews a few other gins they like, such as Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire

    http://www.forbes.com/wineandfood/20...4featC_LS.html

  6. #6
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    For a gin and tonic, gimlet, or Negroni, I tend to go with Tanqueray or Plymouth. In a martini, Plymouth, Bombay Sapphire or Hendrick's. For a Bicyclette (2 oz. gin, 3/4 oz. red vermouth, 1/2 oz. St.-Germain liqueur, 2 dashes peach bitters), Plymouth or Hendrick's.

    I've had one Dutch genever (Boomsma Oude), and I've always had it neat, normally with the bottle kept in the freezer. At room temperature, it reminds me more of a whisky than a gin, but the "gin-ness" comes out when it's ice-cold.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  7. #7
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    It makes perfect since that you should pick up corriander in a big way. Most gin recipes call for behind juniper, the next biggest flavoring herb is coriander, most call for it to be a third of the recipe.

  8. #8
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    As many others seem to do as well, I go with Bombay Sapphire for Martinis. Not shy with the vermouth either. Been using Jeff's idea of throwing a bit of Worcestshire sause in there for savoriness. Three big, fat, feta stuffed olives, and you got yourself a meal. But, for gin & tonics, I love the flavor of Citadelle. Loads of flavor that really holds up well with the tonic. Not mentioned much here when gin is discussed, but I really do like it. It's distilled from wheat, and has 19 botanicals in its recipe. Including Cardamom from India!! I just can't get enough Cardamom!! Actually, don't even know what Cardamom is, but if it helps make Citadelle as good as I think it is, then it's OK by me.

    Cheers!

    JOE

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    Boodles, then, is probably coming out of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, too. Seagram's is no more so I'll assume Boodles is owned by Diageo now. If all that's the case, then Boodles Gin along with Seagram's Gin are probably the best bets in an inexpensive domestic gin, because at least they infuse.

    Inspired by this thread, I had a Tanqueray martini last night (M&R dry vermouth), with two olives because I was living on the edge (garnishes in even numbers are supposed to be bad luck). Tanqueray has a strong lime note, as does the Tanqueray Ten.

    Many of us believe American colonial rye whiskey was as much an unflavored genever as it was descended from Celtic whiskeys.

  10. #10
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    Re: Let's Talk About Gin

    I can vouch for Seagram's Distillers Reserve on the low end of the price range. However, I'm partial to Booker's and Beefeater, generally, for most gin drinks. As for coriander, I'd avoid Tanq 10, Bombay Sapphire, and Citadelle (all of which I like) if you're not a coriander fan. Many citrus-accented gins use coriander to push forward the lime/orange/grapefruit flavor even more.

    Chuck, I have read some of your posts on the genever-American whiskey link before. I definitely note some connection between oude genever (current production) and young bourbon (current production), so I see where you're coming from. Have you tasted Kensington oak-aged gin? It's pricey, and I haven't found it in my area, but I'm intrigued. Also, how familiar are you with the gin-like but caraway-dominated aquavit category? I've had only a couple, including Linie, which sees barrel time. Obvious oak flavors in common with bourbon, but there seems to be something else, an absence of the spirity flavor that I find in some Canadians. I know many gins and some aquavits are distilled to a high proof, but perhaps it's the lack of several distillations that allows some grain character to come across?

 

 

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