Finally the day was there! Today, we were organizing an exclusive Gin Tonic tasting and we had been looking forward to it for quite some time. How did we get to this point?
Last summer Helen and Nadine were road tripping through Scotland. In every bar, Nadine tried the local gin and after a couple of weeks, she was convinced he had found her favorite. Therefore, we decided to pay the distillery a visit. On a rainy morning, five minutes after the Persie distillery opened for business, we were standing on their doorstep. They welcomed us enthusiastically (and slightly surprised) and gave us a tour. Nadine took her time with the tasting (Helen skipped this part, that is what you get with a road trip), and hours later we were standing outside with a large supply of booz and a slightly intoxicated Nadine.
Now you can keep all the gin for yourself and drink it, but we had another plan in mind: we recently came up with the idea to organize a gin tasting (how this idea came to be you can read here).
So there we were and our (not so very) proffesional tasting crew arrived. We started the evening like every tasting should start: with a welcome drink. For this we prepared the Gin Tonic version of a Tequila Sunrise, an excellent drink to celebrate spring with. After this first appitizer, we were getting ready for the first stage, consisting of the tasting of multiple tonics. For this, we obtained several excellent Fever Tree tonics and one cheap supermarket version. The tasting crew were provided with one single assignment: pick the supermarket tonic from the different options. It was a blind tasting and the conclusion was very clear: safe yourself the money and get yourself some cheap supermarket tonic! Not entirely the conclusion we expected…
When we entered the second stage, the real tough job started. We opened the first gin and poured a glass. At this moment, it was of importance not to add anything to the gin yet (so no ice and definitely no tonic). For your sense of smell gets bored easily, there was a cup of coffee beans waiting for you: one quick sniff and you were ready for the coming explosion of scents. It is rather difficult to name the exact ingredients of a gin, and therefore the assignment was to associate the gin with a particular color. The yellow/ orange impression was understandable, because the first gin was the Zesty Citrus Gin. After the initial tasting, the crew could build up the Gin Tonic by complementing the gin with the right tonic and garnishment. Fun fact: different gins require different garnishment to create the best Gin Tonic. You can google overviews to see which tonic and garnish fits your choice of gin. Of course we offered a bite with the first Gin Tonic, in citrus style (puff pastry from the oven with an almond topping and a piece of orange inside).
The intermezzo was a Gin Tonic quiz, which showed you should not listen to your girlfriend for the right answers. But fear not, the sadness of your loss could be drowned by the second gin of this evening. The green/brownish impression provided by this herby gin showed us that there are big differences between gins and their taste. This Herby and Aromatic Gin did not require citrus garnishment but preferred the classic garnishment. The associating bites were also real classics (several bruschetta’s) and really fit the gin: both were gone in an eye-wink.
On to the third gin, this time a nutty gin and our absolute favorite. This was the only Old Tom Gin in the tasting. Old Tom Gin is a gin recipe which was popular in the 18th century and the gin tastes between London Dry and Dutch Jenever; therefore this type of gin is a bit on the sweet side. The Sweet and Nutty Old Tom Gin was received by a cheerful audience and could also act as a stand alone digestive (so without the tonic). Of course it was more fun to conclude the gin tasting with a third perfect Gin Tonic. By doing so, the crew was introduced to the classic nutmeg (so not from a sachet but freshly graded). Also, cinammon and ginger disappeared into glasses together with the Fever Tree Ginger Ale. We did not forget the bite for this third stage, this time it was a lovely desert consisting of yoghurt, pineapple and chocolate flakes on top.
The bottles of gin emptied at a fast rate, but nothing to be sad about, as there was an extra bottle waiting. This way our professional tasting crew could continue making their own Gin Tonic creations.
This Gin Tonic tasting definitely gave us the feeling that spring was in the air!
Helen and Nadine
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