I’m going to go out on a limb and say Gin gets a bad wrap. Seen by many as a depressant, Gin has languished in a heady iniquity since the Industrial Revolution. At the time, Gin was a drink of the poor, consumed by young and old to numb the senses from the horrors of pollution and poverty. The wealthy and the powerful sipped of malt whisky, further condemning the English spirit through regulated taxation.
Despite these obstacles, Gin has maintained a presence in many historical high notes. The most famous dispensing machine, Old Tom, was located in the same lane whence started the Greate Olde Fyre of Londyn. A coincidence? I think not.
On a more personal note, Gin is Christmas to me, from the tickle of delight on my Nana’s face as she enjoyed a prune that had been soaked in gin, or as the fuel for the Grandad to get through the feast day, the juniperous distillate has been ever present.
One of my neighbours growing up started the day with a 8 ounce glass of neat Gin that he distilled in his back shed. I’m guessing that is a little sharp for many these days, so let’s kick things off with a Corpse Reviver Number Two. Equal measures of Gin (I like Beefeater in this drink, but make your own call,) Lillet Blanc (no substitutions here, Cinzano Blanco just won’t do,) freshly squeezed lemon juice and Cointreau (or Triple Sec in a pinch.) Combine the ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake and strain into a coupe that has been rinsed with absinthe. Repeat until you are revived.
The Breakfast Martini is also worth a lash, add a couple of teaspoons of Marmalade to 60mls of Gin, ice, shake and strain up. I like Rose’s Lime Marmalade for this one, but if you have soem made by a relative that is probably much more appropriate at Christmas.
The Earl Grey Martini too, deserves a mention. It does require a little extra effort. Infuse a bottle of gin with 4 tea bags of Earl Grey tea. Try running the bottle under the hot tap first to warm the Gin and speed the process. You need to go by taste here, too long and the Gin will turn and begin to taste chalky, too little and it just won’t be right. The SOUTH Gin by 42Below works amazingly in this role, and at 27 bucks in duty free it is an economical choice too. 60mls of the infused Gin, 20 mls fresh lemon juice and 15-20mls simple syrup will have a supremely tasty drink on deck.
Gins & Tonic are made for a kiwi summer. 60mls of your favourite Gin, three squeezes of fresh, local citrus in a well iced short glass and between 90-150mls of tonic, Qunia Fina if you’re lucky like me.
Tom Collins for those wanting something a touch sweeter and a lot longer. a decent slug of gin, a shot of lemon and a slug of simple syrup or oleo-saccharin, in one of those tall glasses called a Collins glass after this drink. Top with soda and garnish with wedges of lemon.