Gin is back in style. We'll drink to that.
After years in the shadow of vodka, gin is enjoying a deserved renaissance.
It’s the tipple of choice in Mishkin’s, the trendy Covent Garden restaurant where gin infusions come in jam jars, and is served with a vintage twist by cocktail connoisseurs at Purl and the Experimental Cocktail Club.
And, if you needed any further proof, sales have shot up by 33 per cent in Waitrose. Here, award-winning barman Tony Conigliaro selects his top gins and shows you how to drink them.
(Top to botton)
1. Beefeater 24
You’ve probably had Beefeater before, but this is a very different beast. Steeped for 24 hours and infused with green and sencha teas and grapefruit rind, the end result is a clean, astringent spirit. “It’s one of my favourites,” says Conigliaro. Try mixing into a gimlet. (£26, thedrinkshop.com)
2. Tanqueray No Ten
Gin and citrus go together swimmingly. Tanqueray get this, hence No Ten uses whole oranges, grapefruits and limes in the steeping process, making it one of the most citrus-heavy gins on the market. It’s also the only gin in the World Spirits Competition hall of fame. High praise. ( £33,tanqueray.com)
3. Bols Genever
Created in Holland in the 16th century, genever is the grandaddy of modern gins. It’s the sweetest going, with a finish more akin to a fine whisky than a slug of Gordon’s. Try a Bols chaser with an ice-cold beer. It’s a potent combo — the Dutch don’t call it “the headbutt” for nothing. (£24, bolsgenever.nl)
4. Both’s Old Tom
Hugely popular in the 18th century, Old Tom is a precursor to the gin we’re now all used to. “It’s sweeter and maltier than London Dry,” Tony Conigliaro says. “This version from Both’s has a really high ABV of 47 per cent, which helps to reinforce its violet and lavender botanicals.” (£35, thewhiskeyexchange.com)
Distilled in a copper still called “Prudence”, Sipsmith is deliciously dry, with a spicy aftertaste. Don’t mix anything too clever with it: let the gin’s liquorice, almond and cinnamon notes come to the fore. In a vesper martini, ideally (made with vodka, Bond style). (£28, sipsmith.com)
“Hendrick’s makes a great gin and tonic, but always use cucumber instead of lime,” says Conigliaro. Distilled in small batches in antique copper stills, Hendrick’s has a pleasantly perfumed taste with hints of cucumber and lashings of rose petal. It’s pretty hard to beat. (£30,hendricksgin.com)