For years, the “it” drink has been Vodka. Nineties chic flicks and television shows showed women sipping on a variety of multi-coloured cocktails making vodka the perfect girls night out bevvy. Men enjoyed ‘Bond’ styled martini’s shaken not stirred where the bottle of vermouth was waved above the glass.
In the late noughties, the distillation of vodka was the goal, purity the precipice. Vodka was triple distilled using water that had been filtered by osmosis techniques. Essentially making the spirit tasteless.
Individuality was lacking.
Men have the luxury of microbreweries and real ale to keep their taste buds tantalized. While I can hear the feminist movement getting their poisoned pens ready for my next statement- women don’t drink pints the way men do. Seriously, how often do woman share their troubles over a pint of beer? Perhaps if pubs served it in smaller (yes I mean smaller than a ½ pint) glasses like they do in Europe it would be different.
Now, gin is making a come back. Small batch brews made with different varieties of botanicals and infusions are gaining prestige. It’s far from the gin craze of the 1700s, but it is growing.
Sipsmith gin gained attention with their copper pot “Prudence.” When they launched in 2009, it was the first time in nearly 200 years a new copper still started brewing gin in London.
At a recent Oxford-Alcademic event I got a chance to meet James Chase of Chase distillery. They developed a gin that is a truly single estate from field to bottle.
The interesting thing about gin is the variety of flavours you get from the same spirit. It can be mixed, created into a cocktail, or sipped on its own.
The flavour relies on the botanicals used and the method of distillation. The necessary part of gin is the juniper berry. Hence it’s name derived from the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever meaning juniper. If it doesn’t have the juniper berry, then you might as well call it vodka.
Tim Fitz-Gibbon from Raoul’s says “Gin is the perfect drink for the Jubilee. It is our national drink and a drink that we made our own and exported around the globe. Gin is also a favourite of the Royal family. The Queen's mother was famously fond of a drop or two.”
Friday, June 1, the Feathers Hotel in Woodstock will attempt to break the Guinness book of world records for the largest gin collection. New General Manager, Jeremy du Plessis says, “We have all these lovely things from corners of the world. It’s grown organically over the last 18 months. We believe we have the largest collection on the go.”
The official count starts at 3PM and hopefully by 3:45PM we will know whether the Feathers has the record. I’ll raise my gin and tonic to that!