I’ve long been a fan of a simple G&T and have only lately moved up the gin ladder to gin-based cocktails. I was a tad late for the onset of the gin revolution but am now happily making up for lost time. I wrote a while back of an eventful meal where gin replaced wine with a new one coming with each course. I’d highly recommend the experience .
Since that memorable evening, my holiday shopping has moved from jewelry shops (my travel bracelet won’t take any more charms) to the booze shelf at the local supermarket or the native equivalent of an off-license. I can lose an hour or so checking out the local gins, taking note of names to try at the local bars before deciding which to bring home with me. I enjoy the research. I was quite taken recently to see that my Dublin local is now stocking a favourite from Wisconsin – Death’s Door.
I’m quite a fan of Spanish gin after my first introduction to it at AkaBar at Baraka in Budapest – the place to go in Budapest for a decent cocktail. Since then I’ve tried the Ginebra Petra Mora (a birthday present) with an international list of ingredients that would keep you in food for a week: wild celery from Belgium, bitter almond, coriander from Bulgaria, more coriander from Morocco, juniper berries, bark of cassia, lemon peel, licorice root, orris root, orange peel, grapefruit peel, ginger, and a touch of cherry. Lovely – but don’t scrimp on cheap tonic. Invest in the good stuff.
This week, I got a belated birthday gin – another Spanish one, that came in its own lantern, stylishly packaged. The gin game is getting serious. Some I’d be tempted to buy just for the bottles. I happened across a 2013 review of this one in Gin Foundry, and was highly amused. The wine narrative is losing its hold and has competition. You could have hours (well, minutes) of fun trying to pick out the herbal tastes.
It smells herbaceous, with resinous juniper and thyme dominating. Olives are also apparent. To taste, more juniper with a burst of basil, rosemary and thyme emerge as well as coriander. The combination feels savoury and different to other gins on the shelf, marking Gin Mare as both authentic and original. It can be considered as being part of a very short list of “Herbal” gins, and when served with the right tonic, makes for a delightful aperitivo.
But as with wine and art, I don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about. I know simply what I like and what I don’t. Whether Gin Mare is authentic or original is beyond me. But it rates on my list. Like perfume, sometimes the appeal fades – I’ve gotten over Bombay Sapphire and Gordons. I’ve moved beyond Hendricks. I’ve lost my taste for Dingle (but it had a good run). I never acquired a taste for Sipsmith. Right now, I’m in Spanish mode. And lovin’ it. To MD and JF, thanks, lads. Lots of gin gratitude spinning its way towards ye.