I never understood the national obsession with gin, especially among my mum friends. As my friends filled their social media timelines tagging each other in meme after meme about how much they love gin, and all manner of gin-based recipes, I would inwardly roll my eyes and think to myself “how can you like this stuff?! It tastes disgusting!”
But then last weekend, I went out with some fellow mums… and my friend Aimee was drinking this gorgeous looking cocktail, gin-based but filled with all sorts of fruity flavours and topped up with a squirt of soda water. She gushed about how tasty it was and urged me to try it. I could have said no; I could have turned my nose up. But I remembered the advice I give to my children about how they always need to keep on trying things because one day they might like it… and so I tentatively had a sip. And it was lovely! So lovely in fact that I ordered one myself. The first gin drink I have ever consumed in its entirety.
I’d thought it was a one-off; that it was the various ingredients drowning out the taste of the gin that made me like it. But then I went out last night (I know… check me out with the social life going out two weekends in a row. Things haven’t been this exciting since 2008 pre-kids.) and had another gin!
I started off with a white wine while Aimee and Laura sipped huge goldfish bowl style glasses of gin and tonic… and they persuaded to give it a taste. All three of us were surprised that I actually liked it. And so I ordered one myself! The two of them almost fell off their chairs in shock.
As we chatted about it, it seems my whole opinion of gin has been based on the bog standard gin I used to serve during the six years I worked as a bar maid. The stuff I would refer to as smelling like paint stripper. The stuff topped up with cheap tonic.
As Aimee and Laura pointed out, things have changed massively when it comes to gin. These days it’s all about craft gins, infused with different flavours. And mixed with fancy tonics such as Fever Tree, with its range of flavoured carbonated drinks.
A far cry from the run-of-the-mill bar staples of 15-20 years ago.
And this stuff isn’t just available in fancy cocktail bars. We were in the New Inn, an unassuming pub on Caerphilly Road which has just been reopened and refurbished. They had a whole gin menu with various types of gin all with detailed taste descriptions.
I opted for Adnam’s Copper House, voted World’s Best Gin a few years back and “rich with floral, juniper and citrus notes from a blend of six botanicals including sweet orange peel and hibiscus flower. I found the ginger in Laura’s Warmer Edwards Rhubarb too dominating but Aimee’s Brockmans, blended with blueberries, blackberries, coriander and liquorice was good, despite the latter ingredient, which I don’t usually like.
“It’s a new one for my Ginventory,” she told me. “Ginventory?!” I asked. “Ooh you need to download it! It’s an app with all the different types of gin on and you can mark them off as you try them.” So not only did I try gin twice, I now have an app to chart my gin discovery. Admitedly with only one type ticked off, but you have to start somewhere!
I never thought of myself as a gin drinker but it turns out I was wrong! Just don’t give me the cheap and nasty stuff… it seems I am a gin snob already.
In the words of one of my favourite bloggers Hurrah For Gin indeed!