The Gin Craze Continues

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Plus a description of the different types of gins

I’m still on my gin kick. Heck, it might just become a regular thing, though beer is beginning to sneak back into my repertoire.

I might get acupuncture. It supposedly can treat gastritis, which is why I can’t drink beer. If acupuncture can cure gastritis, enabling people to drink beer again, I’m guessing the acupuncturist charges $10,000 an hour.

But until then, I’m staying mostly with gin.

I just really enjoy its subtle flavor differences, which is something I didn’t get when I was on my vodka kick.

I believe the vodka enthusiasts when they say there’s a difference between, say, Grey Goose and Smirnoff, but I can’t taste it, even if I sip it neat. I think I could detect a little grape in Ciroc, but I’m not sure. In order to get a “tasting experience” from vodka, I had to use a variety of bitters, which is a hobby I enjoy and will continue to pursue.

But for mixing a simple cocktail? Gin and tonic is great. It tastes good and you can taste the difference among the gins, even if the difference is pretty subtle.

Rolling Stone just released a list of “Gins to Try Now” article. It notes that the gin craze is still going strong, explains why, and lists several high quality gins (number one is Hendrick’s, which is a solid choice, especially its Midsummer Solstice, which is probably the best gin I’ve ever tasted, though a pink gin I tried at the Eagle and Child in Oxford, England, really blew me away).

The article also contains highly useful introduction to the different types of gins, though it omits “western” gins (which are “fruit forward” gins, which push different aromas over the juniper base).

“London Dry: London dry (sometimes just called ‘dry’ gin) is the most classic and most popular type of gin. Despite the name, London drys don’t need to be made in Britain and are distilled all over the world. These traditional gins are characterized by a crisp, clear taste that puts the juniper front-and-center and foregoes most sweetness. Flavor notes are therefore very woodsy – something like how you wish a Christmas tree would taste. The vast majority of gins fall into the London dry category, so they should take up the majority of your gin tastings.

“Plymouth: Plymouth gin is the only regionally-restricted type of gin, and must be made in Plymouth, England. However, there is only one gin distillery and one brand left in the Plymouth region: the simply-named Plymouth gin. This gin variant uses slightly more botanicals than traditional London dry gins, giving Plymouth a sweeter, more earthy flavor.

“Old Tom: If you’re looking for an even sweeter, easier-drinking gin than Plymouth, go with an Old Tom. Old Tom gins typically use more ingredients for a more varied flavor and less bite. This mildness and added flavor make them ideal for mixing cocktails. The name supposedly comes from the black cat (old tom) signs used by underground gin pubs in 18th-century England. While the government curbed gin sales, in-the-know drinkers would approach these black cat signs, insert money into a slot and receive a shot of Old Tom gin through a tube in the wall.

“Navy Strength: Navy Strength gin is for the times when you want to, well, drink like a sailor. The liquor is essentially an over-proof London dry that typically packs 57% ABV. But Navy Strength gin isn’t just manly fun. Brands who make the extra-strong stuff usually compensate for the added ABV with big, bold flavors to compete. It might not be your nightly go-to, but we think all true gin fans should give Navy Strength gin a shot.”