Forget ‘ice-and-a-slice’ craft gins demand a little more creativity.
Before deciding how to fabulously accessorise your gin, taste it neat, but don’t sip the stuff, you’ll be assailed by alcohol (and a lot of these babies have a fair bit), and be taste blinded to any subtleties. Pop a bit into a shot glass and dip your finger in. Between the glass and your mouth, the ethanol will have started to evaporate, leaving you with the true taste of the gin.
There are several styles of Gin, ranging from balanced, well-integrated Gin, floral, spicy, savoury and ‘shouty’.
Shouty Gins are probably the best to practice with as they have some big up-front flavours with which to play, so try to identify botanicals, then you can begin to experiment with your garnish. So if you try The William Chase GB Gin, initial flavours are gingerbread, nutmeg and a touch of marmalade. Try this with star anise to plump up those spices, orange zest to add warmth, then rhubarb to add restraint and a bit of acidity.
Poetic License Gin from Sunderland, has a much more floral profile and we like to up this whilst keeping balance, with a scented geranium leaf, but you could always calm this aspect down with a sliver of cucumber and a raspberry.
We love Da Mhilé Seaweed Gin. While it doesn’t scream SEAWEED, it does have a light iodine quality and a quite floral tone. You can up the savoury with this one with a touch of sea-salt flakes and a mint leaf, but we love the balance given by a slice of watermelon.
Play! Have a party, get a garnish board made up, get your finger in and decide for yourself what works. The only must, really, is good tonic.