Beginner's Guide: Gin Appreciation (3 things you need to know before your first sip)
Updated: Oct 1
Gin is like an alluring and chic European man. He is complex, refined, mystifying and a little rough around the edges – think of James Bond in the Casino Royale or Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, who happenstance are also avid gin drinkers. Let GudSht unravel the obscure world of gin for you. Read on for the 3 things need to know before taking your first sip.
1. What is gin made from?
The process starts with a neutral spirit, usually distilled from grain (often wheat or barley). Water and botanicals, predominantly juniper is then added. Juniper is an aromatic berry that gives gin its distinctive flavour. Gin comes in various styles. These can be distinguished from the infusion of various herbs, botanicals, spices, and citrus.
GudSht recommends Roku gin as your first gin to experience a botanical gin infused with 6 very special botanicals sourced in Japan. Its characteristic notes are mainly from yuzu and green tea.
2. What styles of gin are there?
The word ‘Gin’ comes from the Dutch word jenever that means ‘juniper’. Below is a list of gin styles that you can enjoy according to your palate.
London Dry Gin – The most common and popular style. It can be made anywhere in the world, not necessarily London. It must be made from a pure grain spirit, with flavour introduced from natural ingredients through re-distillation and only water added. There are three dominant flavour categories, citrus, herbaceous and peppery.
Navy Strength – As the name suggests, the overproof style gins were created by savvy sailors in the British Navy. They have an ABV of at least 57%, so expect to feel a little “wavey” after a shot.
Sloe – Sweet, fruit infused gin.
Genever – These gins are the predecessors of the London Dry Gin made from a malt wine base. They go back as far as 70 A.D. The traditional ones are made from 15% to 50% malt wine, while the younger styles contain up to 15% of malt wine.
Old Tom – The 19th Century gave rise to the Old Tom Gin, the sweeter and softer style of spirit.
GudSht recommends Sipsmith’s London Dry Gin and Sloe Gin for you to experience the polarising flavour profiles to gain understanding on the entire spectrum of gin styles.
3. How to drink gin?
As with all things, gin can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways. Here is a list of ways GudSht likes to enjoy gin:
Gin & Tonic – This legendary combination has its roots set in history. In the 16th Century gin had its medicinal purposes and was often prescribed with quinine. That is where tonic water comes in as it is a combination of water, sugar and quinine which gives its distinct bitter aftertaste. After 400 years, G&Ts still remain the most popular way to enjoy gin. Our personal choice for the best garnish will be a squeeze of lime.
Gin & Cucumber – This is a classic delicious combination. Cucumber is a perfect pairing with gin as it highlights the botanical flavours of juniper, pepper, and citrus. It creates a really refreshing treat, perfect for Singapore’s long, hot, and humid afternoons.
Gin Martini – A classy way to enjoy your gin, like James Bond who enjoys his ‘vespers’ and dry gin martinis. They are usually made with different vermouths, citrus, brine, and olives.
Drinking it straight-up – This requires a good quality gin. The perfect sipping experience is best with a few cubes of ice and a squeeze of lime.
GudSht has a wide array of quality gins you can choose from to start your gin journey. For more Gin-errific tips subscribe to our newsletter!