This week in globally celebrated dates we’re not sure need to be a thing (but we’re happy to indulge in), World Gin Day is fast approaching.
June 12 is the global date where we raise a glass to the widely-adored spirit that brings us classic drinks like the Negroni, the Southside and, of course, the G&T.
When we talk about gin, our minds usually rush to a handful of foolproof flavour combinations; tonic, lime and cucumber being at the top of that list. But in sticking to those few options (which are damn tasty, admittedly) you’re cutting your gin off from a whole world of opportunity.
I chatted with Loy Catada, Brand Ambassador for Bacardi-Martini Australia, about some less conventional pairing options for gin that are worth a shot.
Flavours you should be pairing with your gin
When it comes to crafting cocktails at home, Catada explained over the phone that there are loads of options available to you. If you’re pulling together a gin and tonic at home, “You can easily spice that up” he said.
Catada suggested using household spices that you’ll find “in your cupboard at home” like cinnamon or cloves – which he shared are especially good in the winter months.
“…instead of having a tonic water, why not use soda water and do something like a beautiful spritz with a little bit of flavour in there like elderflower …a nice London dry gin like Bombay Sapphire, with a little bit of soda water,” he said.
The key here, he stressed, is ensuring you’re using a London dry style of gin with a lot of versatility, “so you can create that flavour experience of what you want”. Catada explained that some gin varieties will have specific flavour profiles to them that are delicious, but won’t work with as broad a selection of ingredients as a London dry style will.
Personally, I tried a gin and tonic with Hendrick’s Lunar Gin recently and it had been topped with pepper: the added spice completely changed the drink. It was delicious. (Raid your pantry, people!)
Can you pair your gin with food?
Absolutely. As you may have seen with our recent piece on pairing whiskey with food, it isn’t just beer and wine that can be matched with foods for a heightened flavour experience.
Again speaking about London dry styles, in particular, Catada shared that there are some simple combos you should keep in mind.
“A really unusual pairing is Indian cuisine,” he said.
“…because of the spices that you have in there” the food will align really well with your gin.
Catada also pointed to aged cheeses like pecorino or even blue cheese varieties as a nice partner to your gin and tonic of an evening.
Lastly, he suggested marrying seafood with a gin and tonic or even a gimlet cocktail.
“Seafood is an unbelievably great pairing with a gin and tonic for example, because you’ve got all those citrus notes in there, you’ve got some floral notes and some herbaceous flavours coming through that goes really well with it…”
When building a gin and tonic, however, pay attention to the tonic
We’re chatting a whole lot about crafty flavour combos here, but one of the more simple approaches to gin can get very different results based on the tonic you use.
Catada explained that if you’re using a premium gin, you want a premium tonic to match. And more than that, you need to have an understanding of the types of tonic, and the flavour profiles to expect from them.
“Indian tonics [are] more bitter and a lot more has a lot more of that quinine flavour compared to a say a Mediterranean tonic, which is… a little bit less intense; lighter.”
If you’re not a huge tonic fan, you may be better off with a Mediterranean option.
Now, go forth and enjoy your gin in a multitude of new ways.
Oh, and if you’re in need of a new go-to gin, Dan Murphy’s has announced they’re adding 42 new Australian gins to their list of options. This includes boutique creators like Bass & Flinders Distillery’s Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin, Heathcote Smokin’ Chilli Gin, Knocklofty Garden Party Gin and Never Never Ginache.
The booze retailer has also revealed it has opened its first Gin Superstore in Brighton, Melbourne that stocks over 290 gins. It’s planning to have more Gin Superstores follow soon, so watch this space.