Gin embodies the allure and sophistication of the British gentleman. If you plan on traveling to the UK, knowing how to taste and appreciate gin as an alcoholic beverage is a must!
Gin has complexity, refinement, an air of mystery, and a touch of ruggedness. Picture James Bond in Casino Royale or Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby — both avid gin enthusiasts.
We share 3 important facts to know about gin before buying gin online or ordering it at a local pub when you visit the UK.
How is gin crafted?
The gin-making process begins with a neutral spirit, typically distilled from grains like wheat or barley. This base is then combined with water and infused with botanicals, mostly juniper berries — this is what gives gin its distinctive flavor.
Gin comes in various flavours, each distinguished by the infusion of different herbs, botanicals, spices, and citrus.
What are the different styles of gin?
The term “gin” originates from the Dutch word “jenever,” meaning “juniper.” Below, we give a list of gin styles that cater to diverse palates:
London Dry Gin
The most popular style of gin available in the UK, which can be produced anywhere globally, not exclusively in London. It’s crafted from a pure grain spirit, with flavour derived from natural ingredients through re-distillation, adding only water. London Dry Gin has three primary flavour profiles: citrus, herbaceous, and peppery.
As the name suggests, these gins were developed by sailors in the British Navy. They have an alcohol by volume (ABV) of at least 57%, so expect a slightly “wavey” experience after consuming a shot.
This type of gin is for those of you with a passion for strong alcoholic contents but it can be used in cocktails too.
These gins precede the creation of London Dry Gin and are made from a malt wine base. Their history dates back to as early as 70 A.D. Traditional Genever gins contain 15% to 50% malt wine, while newer styles contain up to 15% malt wine which gives a nice variety to any drinker to appreciate.
How to properly appreciate gin?
Like all things in life, gin can be savoured in many ways — it’s a versatile beverage that lends itself to solo consumption or as part of a mix (shooters, cocktails).
Gin & Tonic
This classic combination traces its roots back to history. In the 16th century, gin was often prescribed by doctors. Tonic water — a blend of water, sugar, and quinine, emerged as the perfect companion, offering a distinct bitter aftertaste.
Even after four centuries, the Gin & Tonic remains the most popular way to enjoy gin. Our personal recommendation for the best garnish is a squeeze of lime.
Gin & Cucumber slice
A classic and delightful pairing — cucumber perfectly complements gin, accentuating the botanical flavors of juniper, pepper, and citrus. This combination creates a wonderfully refreshing treat, especially suitable for the heatwaves that we see in the UK.
A sophisticated approach to savouring gin, much like James Bond’s affinity for “vespers” and dry gin martinis. These martinis are typically crafted with different vermouths, citrus, brine, and olives.
This is the best way to appreciate high-quality gin. For the ultimate sipping experience, enjoy it straight up with a few ice cubes and a hint of lime.
There we have it, our complete guide on how to savour and appreciate a gin drink when you get the chance to visit the UK and try out their vast range of this alcoholic beverage. Gin is available in all pubs and breweries throughout the country and it’s a great way to experience the authentic British drinking culture up close and in person.