We could stand and talk to you about gin all day long. Partly because, well, most of us are more than a little partial to a glass or 5, and partly because we work with some pretty amazing local suppliers to bring you the best locally produced gins and liqueurs, and we like to know what we're selling. (Therefore, we drink to research, honest!)
So we get asked quite a lot about gins and we thought we'd share some of our knowledge with you.
Undoubtedly the question we get asked most frequently is
What's the difference between gin and gin liqueur?
The simple answer is the strength. A full strength gin is typically around 40% (it must be above 37.5%), whereas a liqueur is usually closer to 20%. (So one could reasonably assume that we can drink twice as much liqueur, right?!)
Although you can get sipping gins, which can be enjoyed neat, especially if kept in the freezer, most of us prefer our gin with some kind of tonic. Liqueurs, on the other hand, are a little more versatile. They can be enjoyed on their own, with a mixer, or even added to a gin and tonic.
Which brings us on to another commonly asked question,
What do I mix it with?
How to enjoy your gin, or gin liqueur depends on your personal preferences as well as the strength and flavour of the drink. Many full strength gins will recommend tonics and garnishes to best bring out the flavours and botanicals. Others will leave it more open to the consumer. For example, the classic gin from The Lakes Distillery, suggests topping it up with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water, plenty of ice, and a slice of pink grapefruit to complement the citrus botanicals in the gin.
Liqueurs often offer a bit more choice. For example, for this Herdwick Brambleberry Gin Liqueur, enjoy it on its own (try frozen berries instead of ice,) top it up with lemonade for something long and sweet, or with prosecco for a Summery garden party drink, or even with elderflower tonic. You could even try combining it with another favourite liqueur flavour!
For something less fruity, our exclusive Chocolate Orange Gin Liqueur, for example, you could add it into a hot chocolate or latte.
As a general rule of thumb, fruity flavours work great with lemonade or prosecco, and richer flavours are often lovely with a hot drink or a baileys. But there are no hard and fast rules, have fun and come up with your own!
What botanicals are in gin?
All gin contains juniper berries. In fact, the primary flavour must be of juniper or it can't legally be classified as a gin. Beyond this, there are hundreds of different botanicals that can be combined in different ways to give a unique flavour to each gin. Common botanicals include cinnamon, star anise, coriander, orange, lemon, cardamom, angelica root, and nutmeg.
What is a London Dry Gin?
There are three traditional types of gin
London Dry Gin - This term refers to the production process, rather than the location! To be classed as a London dry gin, the botanicals must be added during the distillation process and must all be natural. No synthetic flavours or artificial sweeteners can be added after distillation.
Plymouth Gin - slightly sweeter than the above London Dry, the focus is usually on 'root' botanicals with a more earthy aroma, such as star anise, angelica root, liquorice and orris. Contrary to London Dry gin, this style must be made in Plymouth.
Old Tom Gin - Much sweeter than the aforementioned varieties, this style of gin has seen a revival recently with bartenders favouring the sweeter edge is adds to gin cocktails.
So pop into store and ask at the counter, we'll happily chat to you about our range of gins and other spirits and liqueurs, where and how they're produced, and how best to enjoy them, and you can even try them too! Cheers!