In its most basic form, Gin is a liquor around 40% alcohol that is derived from grain spirit, and is flavoured primarily with Juniper Berries. It was invented by the Dutch in the 1600’s and then quickly adopted by the British in the latter half of the 17th Century, this period became known as the “Gin Craze”. As far as the English are concerned Gin was never out of fashion, but in the rest of the world it has seen a massive resurgence in popularity, and we are spoilt for choice here. As well as a huge number of producers, we are also faced with a new raft of flavoured Gins, many of the most interesting from New Zealand. Blush Gin is a triple distilled Gin flavoured with Rhubarb. The Rhubarb works well as it has a tart quality, and marries well with the Gin profile. This can be enjoyed over ice or with the tonic of your choice. Another method that is being used is barrel aging.
While you may think that this is slightly weird, the barrel ageing adds a spice and extra complexity that works well with Gin. The Source Barrel Aged Gin from the Cardrona Distillery has all the hallmarks of a stylish spirit, the flavour profile is underpinned with a sweet red fruit finish. Reid and Reid from Martinborough have also released a barrel aged Gin and it is extraordinary. The barrels are ex Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir French oak, so certainly not lacking in quality! These Gins can be sipped over ice, or in a G&T. With the latter I would advise partaking of a tiny sip of Gin on its own, and then selecting a tonic from there. Here again we are spoiled for choice, but my advice for tonic would be keep it simple. The East Imperial Burma Tonic or the Fever Tree usually work very well. Happy sipping….