Did you know that 8 June is World Gin Day? Seems like a pretty good time to talk about some gins from around the world you should sip on, but first, let’s take a stroll down History Lane and discover how the gin and tonic came into being…
The Ginnish Empire
In the late 1600s, there was an explosion in the number of gin distilleries in London. This was due to the UK government putting heavy import duties on French spirits, like brandy, while also allowing unlicensed gin production. From this point on, gin was a firm fan favourite for Brits.
150 years later, the British had taken their gin across the world, including to India. In an effort to combat malaria, they’d turned to the local remedy - bark from the chinchona tree, or ‘fever’ tree. But the quinine in it was horribly bitter to British taste buds. What to do…?
In true pioneering spirit (aren’t I punny…), they added sugar, lime, ice and gin to the ground up bark. This created a drink that helped them stay malaria-free, cooled them down in the heat, and had the bonus side-effect of keeping them ‘refreshed’ (tipsy).
So, there’s a little titbit for the next dinner party or barbeque you attend. But enough history, let’s talk about those world-class international gins!
If you’re after an aromatic gin, then try Xorigeur. This gin is also steeped in history – British soldiers were craving a taste of home when they were stationed on the Spanish island of Menorca.
The locals repurposed some wine and let it rest in an oak barrel, giving Xorigeur a unique and smooth flavour.
While Scotland is better known for whisky than gin, but still has a few gems to share with the world. Eden Mill’s bold, floral flavouring comes from being infused with rose petals and hibiscus flowers. For the full experience, have it with an elderflower tonic, or use it to spruce up your martini.
Plus, just look at that bottle!
Born in the USA
Heading to ‘the new world’, we find a gin named after a writer known for her ‘biting humor [sic] and widely quoted quips’. Dorothy Parker Gin hails from the fair city of New York. Its flavours of cinnamon and citrus put it as a great choice for a number of cocktails, from an Aviation to a Tom Collins.
Juniper heads east
Going a bit further afield, we find Kokoro, a gin made in Japan. James Nicol and his brother-in-law set their distillery up after visiting his uncle, who was restoring neglected woodlands. Uncle Nic introduced James to the Sancho berry, and James saw an opportunity.
This is definitely a gin you can try neat, if that’s your style, as the botanicals are kept in the single digits, letting the Sancho berry slip to the fore.
A fine Finnish
If straight gin isn’t really your thing, then this is the perfect drop for you – Napue, from Finland, and was awarded ‘The best gin for a G&T’ (yep, that’s an award) at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2015.
By adding different botanicals at certain times of the distilling process, Napue is able to make sure each flavour is represented the way they want it to be. The hints of cranberry and after-taste of pepper make this a great tonic accompaniment. Just make sure it’s a nice tonic ?
Blog written by James Walters