Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | February 4, 2009

On Gin

My immersion in the cocktail world, especially through this blog, has lead me to find many new recipes and spirits that I never had tried or in some case heard of before. I’ve evolved my palate substantially over the last year or so. But the start of this blog really kicked things into overdrive.

When I started A Jigger of Blog, I was very inclined towards rye and bourbon cocktails. The Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, and the Sazerac were probably my three favorite cocktails and when in cocktail bars, I tended to order drinks with rye or bourbon as a matter of first recourse.

Yet as I’ve explored craft cocktails and done heavy reading of cocktail books and blogs, something has changed. I still love whiskey cocktails and no doubt the three drinks listed above still rank high on my go-to list. But without even noticing it, I’ve become a gin guy.

I have far and away more different types of gin than anything else in my liquor cabinet. I’m more inclined to try new gins and see how varying the gin in drinks changes the taste (though this is something I’m doing extensively with vermouth as well).

The Martinez proved to be a gateway cocktail for me. I’d never been a Martini fan before I had a Martinez. Learning to enjoy the combination of gin and vermouth (with their good friends maraschino and orange bitters) opened the door, though. I would now say that the Martini is in my top three favorite drinks. What really opened the door for the Martini was getting over a fear of vermouth that came from growing up drinking as an American in non-cocktail culture. Now I drink Martinis and when I drink Martinis, I drink them 50/50. As far as I’m concerned, it’s really the only way to have a Martini, though we’ll see how my tastes continue to evolve.

It might be somewhat ironic in a post about my newfound enjoyment of gin to say that I think a Martini should be equal parts of gin and dry vermouth. After all, if I like gin so much, why would I want to sully it with vermouth? Well in my mind the virtue of gin is that it’s so well suited for cocktails. And cocktails aren’t about packing as much straight booze in a glass as you can. Taste matters, complexity matters, and creativity matters.

With that in mind, here is the current list of gins that I’m working with at home. It’s a list that has expanded a lot over the last couple of months and will probably continue to expand.

  • Plymouth Gin
  • Martin Miller’s Gin
  • Broker’s Gin
  • Boodles British Gin
  • Junipero Gin
  • No. 209 Gin
  • Hayden’s Old Tom Gin
  • Bols Genever

I don’t know when I’ll next be adding to my collection, but I have my eye on Aviation, Hendrick’s, and Tanqueray No. 10.

Which gins am I missing out on?

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Responses

  1. Tanqueray 10 is a fabolous choice for a great dry martini (I would use lillet blanc for vermouth) and I would recommend the aviation with regular tanqueray. Great selection though!!!

  2. Tanq 10 was the first gin I ever really liked. I just haven’t gotten around to getting a bottle for my current bar, but thanks for the vote!

  3. If you want to try the Anchor Genevieve, let me know. I have almost a full bottle and would gladly share some with you.

    Cheers!

  4. I am a fan of Dogfishhead Jin but it’s hard to come by without a trip to Rehoboth beach.
    http://www.dogfish.com/spirits/Spirits/Dogfish_Jin/5/index.htm
    Very tasty but I haven’t really had a chance to mix with it much.

    Also In addition to the Bols Genever I am also playing with the Damrak Amsterdam Gin

  5. Thanks Marshall, I may take you up on that. What’s it like?

    Tim – I’ve heard of the Dogfishhead Jin, but have never tried it. Is it not distributed outside of their distillery?

  6. I haven’t seen it outside of the Rehoboth brewpub. But according to their site its avalable in select Liquor stores.
    http://www.dogfish.com/spirits/distributors.htm

  7. I would add Bluecoat Gin to your list. An American Dry gin from Philadelphia, its getting a larger distribuation now. -Tom

  8. Bulldog Gin is another fun gin.


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