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
• 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.