With a colourful past and links to English nobility, Gin is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity on the back of revived interest in iconic cocktails and famous brands. Gin gets its name from the Dutch word, jenever, or the French, genièvre, both meaning ‘juniper’. A distilled neutral spirit, Gin derives its distinctive flavour from the addition of juniper berries and other botanicals including any of anise, liquorice root, cinnamon, lime peel, saffron, coriander and many others.
Originating from Holland when Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius re-distilled malt spirit or wines with juniper berries, it was discovered by English troops fighting in the Eighty Years War, who took it back across the English Channel. The English simplified the distillation process and the resulting ‘London Dry Gin’ is the most popular version available today, although Dutch Gin or Old Tom Gin is still produced. Another form is Sloe Gin where the fruit of the blackthorn (Sloe) is infused into the gin.
Gin can boast two of the most famous cocktails known around the world today. Gin and tonic (G&T) and the Martini. Now ingrained into modern culture, the G&T has its roots as a medicine used to unsuccessfully fight the bubonic plague. Quinine was the ingredient thought to have curing properties and was diluted with carbonated water to create Tonic Water. To mask the unpleasant flavours, Gin was added and the famous cocktail was born. The Martini is thought to have been born in New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel by the barman allegedly named, Martini. Traditionally it consists of 55mL of gin and 15mL of dry vermouth and garnished with an olive.
Due to the Martini’s US origins, western popular culture is littered with references to the cocktail. A favourite of celebrities and political leaders alike, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant, Jimmy Carter and Winston Churchill are thought to be avid Martini lovers. Possibly the most famous Martini drinker is Ian Fleming’s fictional spy character, James Bond. Bond’s “Shaken, not stirred” Martini is widely considered to be a based on vodka rather than gin, Bond enjoyed both kinds and even spawned an original cocktail, the ‘Vesper’ from the Casino Royale novel. Consisting of three parts gin, 1 part vodka and a half part of Lillet Blanc.
Just like Vodka, Scotch, Bourbon and even Champagne, the world of gin is littered with prestigious brands that evoke thoughts of long and subtle flavours of exotic spice with hints of citrus and herbs. Some of the most famous and available at Dan Murphy’s are:
The Gordon's recipe has remained almost untouched since its creation...
A perfectly balanced gin with flavours of juniper berries, coriander and the citrus freshness of lemon and orange.
The incomparable taste of Bombay Sapphire is the result of ten carefully selected botanical ingredients...
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