Having been called everything from ‘Mothers Ruin’ to ‘Kill Grief’ and ‘Poverty’, you’d be forgiven for thinking gin would have retreated to the shadows of dingy bar shelves a long time ago.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s how to get involved in the gin revolution, according to The Gin Shelf blogger Matt Burton.
Where to start
There are a number of different styles of gin, from barrel aged and Old Tom to Sloe gin (I really would recommend ‘Sloemotion’).
The best advice is to pull up a bar stool, pick your poison and dive in.
A great tip when ordering a new gin is to ask the barman for a small amount to sample neat. Nine times out of ten they will help you out, no questions asked.
How to serve gin
Gin’s versatility lends itself to a number of options. From the classic Martini (three measures of gin to three measure of vermouth) or Vesper (introducing gin to its partner in crime, ‘vodka’) made famous by James Bond, to the classic aperitif ‘The Negroni’, which balances gin, vermouth and Campari.
An absolute must for your gin cocktail repertoire is ‘The Aviation’, which is sublime.
The cocktail list continues, but the quintessentially British way to serve is, of course, as a Gin and Tonic.
Getting this right can make the difference between a ‘good’ or a ‘great’ gin and tonic.
Don’t think that throwing the entire fruit bowl at your glass will help.
If in doubt, ask for your gin’s ‘perfect serve’, or Google it.
The best gins around
With huge aromas of grapefruit, lemons and oranges, I’d happily drink this neat. But there’s only one way to serve this gin; with a premium tonic, poured over a fistful of ice, garnished with orange peel. Perfection.
Where to buy: Most supermarkets, nationwide.
Price: £26 (Note: Westbourne strength available at Master of Malt, around £32)
Masons – Yorkshire Tea
This isn’t a gimmick. The tea provides a slightly drier finish, and tones of ‘Rich Tea Biscuits’. With strong layers of citrus, it’s perfect with lemon peel and makes a fantastic Gin and Tonic.
Where to buy: Visit www.masonsyorkshiregin.com for a full listing of UK retail outlets and websites.
A relative newcomer from Down Under, its fresh herbs and spice initially suggest a great winter warmer. But when tonic and a generous chunk of blood orange are added, this becomes summer in a glass.
Where to buy: Master of Malt
Price: Around £40