The celebration of gin during the month of January has its own hashtag: #ginuary. Rather than going dry, drink gin …in moderation. Plus, there's no better time than a new year to try something new. Check out some new gin brands or try catching up with a gin-loving friend or blog. And, of course, make cocktails. Because no one needs an excuse for that!
A little history to recap the last 300 years of gin's history. This may surprise some of you, but gin didn't originate on English shores. In fact, if you don't count the Italian monks who are thought to have used juniper berries as flavourings in distilled spirits back in the 11th century, it's Holland that is credited as the birthplace of gin. The word 'gin' comes from the Dutch word 'jenever' which means 'juniper'. The Dutch doctor Franciscus Sylvius de la Boe is the inventor of gin. In the 16th century, he made a schnapps distilled with juniper berries which was consumed for medical purposes. Early gin history is that it was often distilled with turpentine and sulphuric acid. Thankfully, this isn't the case anymore. Interesting fact about gin is that until the mid-19th century, gins were sweeter than we are used to today. However, distilling technology in the 19th century helped the development of London Dry gin — the most famous type of gin. Gin became even more popular among the Brits in the tropical areas of the empire when it was added to the tonic water that contained anti-malarial quinine. Gin in the 21st century is an exciting and innovative drink. The quality has risen, the choice is huge; there will be more change ahead.
Gin is an essential base spirit in many classic cocktails — from the martini to the gin and tonic. Here are a couple I discovered recently that will make a nice addition to your home bar #stircreativity.
Let the gin be-gin!
Malfy is a truly unique super-premium Italian gin inspired by the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast (Italian: Costiera Amalfitana) is a stretch of coastline on the northern coast of the Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea, located in the Province of Salerno of southern Italy. Malfy gins are made in Italy using the finest ingredients distilling with fine ingredients including handpicked juniper, Italian lemons, some Sicilian pink grapefruits, Sicilian blood oranges married with Italian water. Malfy Gin is distilled at Torino Distillati in Moncalieri, Italy. Malfy gin is made using vacuum distillation also called cold-distillation. This uses a lower temperature and is how we keep our botanicals fresh and flavourful. The stopper is made from Italian oak. The glass bottle is decorated with bright and bold coloured rings to represent the citrus fruits in our recipe as well as reflecting the vibrant spirit of the Italian coast. The show-stopping Malfy Gin Rosa is a deliciously delicate fruity gin. It boasts a very pale rose colour that's easy on the eyes. The aroma is bright and gives fresh grapefruit, rich rhubarb, citrus and anise. The flavour is rich, giving notes of fresh citrus, grapefruit, with a rich and long juniper finish. There is no shelf life, however, it is recommended to keep your bottles away from direct sunlight for optimum consumption.
The Bombay Bramble/@bombaysapphire
From Bombay Sapphire comes a bold new gin that's bursting with 100% natural flavour of freshly harvested blackberries and raspberries, and ripe for discovery, with no added sugar! Creating the finest gin possible takes the highest quality raw ingredients. Bombay Sapphire uses up to 12 precious botanicals suspended above the spirit in perforated copper baskets during distillation at its distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire England. That way, as the heated spirit vapours rise, they're gently infused with all the rich aromatic flavours our botanicals release (vapour infusion process). Perfect for cocktail creativity! Bombay Bramble is best enjoyed simply with tonic, poured over ice and garnished with a squeeze of lemon for those who enjoy a touch of fruit in their G&T.
If you'd like to try something new at home, try making the Bramble…
50 ml Bombay Bramble
25 ml fresh lemon juice
12.5 ml sugar syrup
Garnish with lemon wedge and a blackberry.
Build ingredients in a rocks glass.
Top with crushed ice.
Garnish with a fresh lemon wedge and blackberry.
Keep your spirits up! Drink gin! Look out for other brands available locally like The Botanist, Beefeater, Sipsmith to name a few. If you decide to give it a go, post, follow and tag @raihndrops using the hashtag #ginuary on Instagram. Let's lift your spirits!