Gin: To twist or not to twist
This week’s article focuses on the wonder that is gin. Throughout its history, gin has gained associations as being the blight of the urban poor in the United Kingdom or the drink of the Royal Navy Officer Corps.
In Canada gin is the drink of the poncy and the old. Again, we aim to dispel these images and write about what a fantastic drink it is on its own, and what an excellent complement to any cocktail or martini it could be.
Originally made in Holland, the drink was introduced to English soldiers during the Eighty Years’ War. Prior to fighting the Spanish, the English soldiers would often have a quick drink before battle.
This is the source of the term “Dutch Courage,” which in turn is the source of the term “liquid courage.”
This may go some way to explaining the lackluster performance of the English soldiers.
However, the English enjoyed the drink so much that they took it back to their home island, where it became immensely popular. Thus, it was spread throughout the empire.
Throughout the ages, the recipe of the gin has changed and has formulated two distinct items in the market of gin. The two main gins are London and Plymouth.
To make gin, one takes pure grain alcohol and distills it with different fruits and berries, with the main being the juniper berry. Without juniper, it’s not gin.
The main difference between the London and Plymouth gins is the use of bitter botanicals. This makes for two very different drinking experiences.
With the London you will be getting a fairly strong and somewhat harsh flavour. With the Plymouth a rather warm and citrus flavour that is present.
Now this is one of the times that we as writers differ in how we taste the gins. I, Jeremy, prefer the Plymouth gin when mixed in a gin and tonic, whereas Ed prefers the London gin.
This is not a matter of expense, but more a matter of preference. We recommend that you go and try the two and see for yourself. However, as you are some of our more frugal readers, there is no point in trying the Plymouth gin because of how expensive it is.
The best, and most common, way in which gin is consumed is through the gin and tonic cocktail. Gin and tonic is served in a tall collins glass or alternatively could be served in the barbaric red solo cup.
Originally created to combat malaria (one of the many cases in which alcohol has bettered mankind) in India in the 1700s, gin and tonic later took a hold around the rest of the world.
Its fantastic taste, easy accessibility and the fact that it was an acceptable drink to get smashed off of at two in the afternoon led to its popularity in the Western world. With fantastic historical analysis like that, it’s a wonder that the university hasn’t offered us a chance to teach ALCH 101.
Opinions differ on the best proportions for a gin and tonic but the most accepted proportions are one to one. Needless to say it is a mark of utmost barbarism to serve a gin and tonic without ice or lemon and lime.
That’s pretty much it when it comes to serving; just make sure to avoid drinking it warm or allowing the tonic water to lose its fizz.
When it’s warm it gives off a bit of a bad taste that lingers in the back of the mouth, and if the tonic isn’t fizzy enough it makes the drink feel too heavy.
In conclusion, the gin and tonic would certainly take a top five position in our best alcoholic drinks ranking. It goes fantastically well with practically anything or by itself and it is strong enough to be enjoyable but just about weak enough to be enjoyed at lunch.
Gin on its own is a fantastic component for any cocktail, but perhaps not the best on its own.
Pure gin can only ever be drunk by mothers in a stairwell. We recommend Gordon’s London gin ($24.75) because of its proper flavour and lower price. Keep calm and drink on, UW.