How to Taste Gin
Learn how to taste gin, the right way...
The core taste of gin is familiar - bitter, herbaceous, juniper-forward. But different gins have various and complex undertones, that not only distinguish one from another, but lend themselves to different uses.
And while gin is often used as a constituent part in a more complex drink, tasted alone, the notes in different gins can vary hugely, and can be absolutely delicious. So how best to appreciate these flavours? And how to know what you're looking for?
A Simple Guide
• First, establish what it is you're looking at. What is it called? What style is it supposed to be? Where is it made? What ABV is it? What should I expect from it? These aren't leading questions, but rather a map to what you're looking for in the glass.
• Drink it neat! A huge fan of cocktails though I am, this is about the gin and the gin alone. Use a curved glass to direct the aromas upwards, such as a copita, or one of our tulip mixer glasses, and take your time.
• Swirl the glass to allow the air to meld with the spirit. Breathe it in gently - the alcohol content in the gin is high, so you'll need to tread delicately to avoid getting simply a lungful of alcohol fumes. The top note will appear first - juniper, citrus, the classic flavours you associate with gin. Beneath this will emerge your secondary notes - herbal, spicy, woodsy and the like.
• Take a sip and let it sit on your tongue briefly. Look for those notes you first detected with your nose. Swirl the gin around your mouth, where the secondary notes should become more apparent. Then swallow and pause to appreciate any lingering echoes.
• As you finish your sip, remind yourself of what transpired over that period of time. What appears at first? What appears in the mouth, and what remains after it's finished? The journey is what makes gin a truly enjoyable, and is the way to find the things you most like about them.
Remember, an appreciation of every single botanical that goes into a good gin is, of course, not essential to enjoy it. But next time you pour a glass of your favourite, maybe linger over it a little longer, and try to locate exactly what blend of flavours you're enjoying. It's bound to deepen your love of it.