Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gin tasting!

Photo by Paul Sciandra

So. Summer is long gone, but some of us are not ready to give up drinking gin.

Recently, friend Judy’s gin-loving parents, Patricia and Paul, came to visit from out of town. We decided it would be fun to line up a bunch of different brands and render opinions on them. We set up three flights, ranging from absolute crap to the classiest stuff we usually buy.

We tried each gin first neat and then with a splash of tonic. Here are our notes. Enjoy!

Flight #1: Trader Joe’s Jail House Gin
All of us were apprehensive to try this one, but it was cheap and on sale so we figured we'd risk it. Years ago, Judy's parents and I both got tricked by an unreliable recommendation for a new gin. We are still bitter about how good New Amsterdam isn't.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. This was the only one we dumped in the spit bucket instead of finishing.

Pat: “I think it smells like gin… of course, years ago I thought gin just smelled like flower water.”
Judy: “It smells like Lake Street.”
Amy: Antiseptic, no evidence of botanicals, rubbing alcohol follow-through.
Paul: “It kind of warms you.” After adding tonic water: “Now it smells like Purell.”

Flight #2: Tanqueray London Dry Gin vs Tanqueray Rangpur
London Dry:
The regular Tanqueray in the green bottle is a favorite for most of us. It’s Amy’s go-to gin.

Amy: “Aaah. Real gin. You can smell the botanicals.”
Pat: “I always flipped between Tanqueray and Beefeaters, but tonight the Tanqueray is sitting better.”

LI-HI-HIIIIIIIIIME. Super smooth, but too much lime. Tonic made it worse.

Amy: “Oh my God, it tastes like Kool-Aid.”
Judy: “Highly drinkable. A kid-friendly gin.”
Pat: “I like it quite well without the tonic.”
Everyone else: Disagreement, laughter.
Paul: “Peel off the label and put on a lime liqueur one.”

Flight #3: Beefeaters vs Bombay Sapphire vs Hendricks
The high-class dames of the gin we can afford.

Amy: “Smells just like that cheap shit!” Taste: Definite juniper, harsher, but better finish than the swill. Tonic makes the botanicals come out! More floral.
Paul’s #3 choice.
Judy: “I like the Beefeaters and tonic. It’s easy. It’s educated but not worldly.”
Amy: “F*** you.”

Amy: Smooth with a botanical flavor. Oh… tonic makes it harsher.
Paul’s #2 choice.

Not many notes are written down about this one because a) by this time, everyone had had 4 shots of gin; b) everyone was so busy nursing their taste of Hendricks.
Amy: “Aaah.” Smooth, with the smell of rose petals.
Paul’s #1 choice.