Gin: Summer in your glass
It is the ideal company while at the beach, or by the pool at a party, or during happy hour after a long day at the office, or even during those lazy nights at the veranda. We usually enjoy it over ice, with lime and soda, or we “paint” it pink – a new trend that emerged last year and is still holding up– by adding pink grapefruit soda. Gin is without a doubt, the king of summer among alcoholic beverages!
The aromas of the herbs emanating from a glass of gin have fascinated many around the world, except from the English, who first began consuming it as a beverage in the 17th century. Gin used to be a medicine called Genever, which was used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and various stomach and bile problems. Genever was the result of Francisco Sylvie’s experiments, a Dutch professor of medicine, who was trying to make a stomach medicine, by making use of the diuretic properties of juniper berries.
The English got to know and love Genever during the Thirty Years’ War, and managed to transport it to England and rename it to gin, rebranding it as a drink. Gin initially became popular among the lower classes, while with its price increase in the mid-18th century and improvements to its distillation, by the 19th century it had become a high-quality drink, especially popular among high society.
Gin is the result of the distillation of cereals and the addition of juniper berries and various aromatic herbs and spices during the second distillation. The secret of every producer is the selection of herbs, which give every gin a different aromatic profile. High quality gins usually contain 6 to 10 types of herbs. Some of the aromas you may find in a glass of gin are coriander, cedar and various citrus fruits and flowers.
The differences in herbs, intensity and aromas, are the reason why gin is an especially popular drink among mixologists, who incorporate it in various cocktail menus, adding a different character to each of their creations. Some of the most famous cocktails that contain gin include the Negroni, which consists of a third of Campari, a third of sweet vermouth and a third of gin, as well as the famous Dry Martini.
To avoid seeming clueless on the subject, you should also know that there are four basic types of gin; London Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin, Old Tom Gin and Genever or Holland. Whereas, if you want to appear even more… sophisticated, you can point out that gin was the favourite drink of Lord Byron, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway.