Craft Beer (and spirits) Corner by Jim Flash Gordon
Gin and tonic is traditionally garnished with a slice or wedge of lime, often slightly squeezed into the drink before being placed in the glass. In most parts of the world lime remains the only usual garnish; however, in the United Kingdom it has become common to use lemon as an alternative fruit, use of both fruit together is known as an “Evans”.Although the origins of the use of lemons are unknown, their use dates back at least as far as the late 1930s. In addition lemons are often more readily available, and cheaper to purchase, than limes. The use of lemon or lime is a hotly debated issue and while many brands, such as Gordon’s,]Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire recommend the use of lime, other industry experts such as the Master Distiller of Beefeater and the founder of Fevertree Tonic Water prefer lemon, although there are some that garnish a Beefeater-based gin and tonic with a slice of orange, to complement the Seville oranges Beefeater uses in its botanicals. A gin and tonic served with Hendrick’s Gin is typically garnished with a slice of cucumber.
Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries From its earliest origins in the Middle Ages, gin has evolved over the course of a millennium from a herbal medicine to an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin was developed on the basis of the older Jenever, and became widely popular in Great Britain when William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, occupied the English and Scottish thrones with his wife Mary. Today, the gin category is one of the most popular and widely distributed range of spirits, and is represented by products of various origins, styles, and flavour profiles that all revolve around juniper as a common ingredient.
The recipe for Gordon’s is known to only twelve people in the world and has been kept a secret for 250 years. Triple-distilled, the gin contains juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel. It takes ten days distillation after receiving the wheat to create a finished product of a bottle of Gordon’s Gin. Gordon’s recipe differentiated from others at the time in that it didn’t add sugar, which other distillers had used to disguise impurities. This made it a “dry” gin.
Cork Dry Gin
Cork Dry Gin was first distilled in 1793 to an original recipe using exotic botanicals and spices brought to the port of Cork by sailing ships from around the world. Cork Dry Gin contains a complex blend of aromatic juniper, tangy citrus fruit and exotic botanical flavours which combine to create its uniquely balanced taste.
No other gin tastes like Hendrick’s because no other gin is made like Hendrick’s.
Hendrick’s is the marriage of two different spirits from two rare and unusual stills: the Bennet still and the Carter-Head still. By combining the two, they are able to create an extraordinarily smooth gin that has the required character and balance of subtle flavours. They infuse gin with the remarkable Bulgarian Rosa Damascena and specially selected. Hendrick’s gin is bottled in a dark blue apothecary-style bottle.
The name ‘Beefeater’ refers to the Yeomen Warders who are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London. Beefeater distillery is one of only five currently still operational in London itself – this includes Sacred Microdistillery and The London Distillery Company.
According to the Beefeater website, Beefeater Gin contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges, and lemon peel. Unique to Beefeater’s production is the steeping of the peel of lemons and Seville oranges, whole juniper berries and other natural botanicals for a full 24 hours prior to distillation. This long process allows for a full extraction of flavour from the botanicals, capturing a wide range of volatile oils. The distillation itself takes around eight hours to complete, overseen by master distiller Desmond A super premium version of Beefeater was launched in Syon House on 30 October 2009. Beefeater ’24’ with its additional botanicals of Chinese Green tea and rare Japanese Sencha was the creation of master distiller Desmond Payne.
Its name originates from gin’s popularity in India during the British Raj and the sapphire in question is the Star of Bombay on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Bombay Sapphire is marketed in a flat-sided, sapphire-coloured bottle that bears a picture of Queen Victoria on the label.
The flavouring of the drink comes from a recipe of ten ingredients (which the bottle’s label boasts as “10 exotic botanicals”): almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb, andgrains of paradise. The spirit is triple distilled using a carterhead still, and the alcohol vapours are passed through a mesh/basket containing the ten botanicals, in order to gain flavour and aroma. This gives a lighter, more floral gin rather than the more-common ‘punchy’ gins that are distilled using a copper pot still.
The drink gained its name from the medicinal effects of its bitter flavouring. The quinine was added to the drink as a prophylactic against malaria, since it was originally intended for consumption in tropical areas of Asia and Africa, where the disease is endemic. The first commercial tonic water was produced in 1858. The mixed drink gin and tonic originated in British colonial India, when the British population would mix their medicinal quinine tonic with gin to improve its bitter flavour.
Now that’s the history of Gin & Tonic. At Revolution & Oskars we are finding that people are more discerning about their Gin – preferring to order different gins in one sitting – like a tasting lesson, sure you just have to! Enjoy you gin, whiskey or craft beer, it’s what it’s made for. Cheers!