How To Taste Gin Like A Pro

Photo: E.Price

Gin is kind of having a moment right now. For distilleries, gin is a lot easier to get started with, simply because it doesn’t require barrel ageing. If you’re a new distillery you can distill a gin and start selling it almost immediately, while a new whiskey distillery might have to wait a few years before it has a product to sell.

You can also get pretty creative when it comes to gin. The botanicals and fruit that a distiller chooses vary from distillery to distillery, making it so that, for the most part, no gin is the same. It is essentially flavored vodka, so there’s a lot of creativity that goes into the process.

I recently visited Four Pillars in Healesville, Victoria and tasted through its lineup of gin (including its super-unique Shiraz gin made using wine grapes). Beyond interesting (and delicious) gin, the distillery also suggested an interesting way of trying it.

First, pour yourself a shot of gin. You don’t need to fill a shot glass up (although you certainly can), but pour yourself enough to fill your mouth.

Smell it and see what botanicals you can pick up, and then take a full shot of gin and let it rest calmly on the top of your tongue with your mouth closed for 15 seconds.

The idea here is literally to sit with your mouth full of gin for 15 seconds. You’re not agitating it our aerating it, just holding it in your mouth.

After 15 seconds, swallow that gin and breathe out. When you do, your mouth will light up with all of the different flavours in that gin.

It sounds pretty bizarre, but it actually works.

I tasted through their entire setup, and the only one I had any difficulty with was its Navy Strength gin, which at 58.8% was a bit… strong. While that one burned, none of the rest did, and the exercise helped me pick out a lot of flavours I don’t believe I would have otherwise, at least not at first taste, so easily.

If you really want to get acquainted with your gin, give it a try.

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Gin - which is traditionally made from juniper berries - has long been noted for its health benefits. According to a raft of scientific studies, it can improve everything from blood circulation to your liver and kidneys. It's also a low-calorie spirit, making it the dieter's tipple of choice.

However, if you're a die-hard G&T fan, you might want to take a closer look at the ingredients in your beverage. Specifically, the sugar levels.

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