Gin has seen its ups and downs over the years, but thanks to the persistence of its fans, this delicious spirit has seen a resurgence in recent years. World Gin Day is a celebration of all things gin and gives us all a good excuse to take a drink.
Here’s a quick tour of what we think of gin and which gins we’ve fallen in love with.
Gin has suffered more than its fair share of hard knocks over the years. You can tell just from some of the names it’s been called. Mother’s Ruin, Cuckold’s Comfort, the Kill Grief… nothing very positive.
In the 1700s, an artist by the name of William Hogarth even went as far as writing a poem and creating this print about gin.
Paints quite the picture. He was more of a beer man it seems.
But all the bad press gin has received over the years aside, there’s no doubt that the carefully crafted spirits coming from tiny (sometimes one-man-band) distilleries across the globe have now started a gin renaissance.
We’re enormous fans of the amazing craft gins being made at the moment – and obviously our hearts have a special place for the little Aussie distilleries doing their best under difficult conditions.
World Gin Day, which is on the 1st Saturday of June each year and has been since 2008, rejoices in all things juniper. It gives every like-minded ginster and craft distiller chance to brag about their love of gin… plus a great excuse to sip a martini or two!
Here are some of our favourite gins, the drinks we like to use them in and the gin experts we rely on:
Our favourite gin cocktails
First of all, I’ve got to say a gin martini is one of our all time favourite cocktails. It’s a drink Mrs Romance and I met over and it’s one we enjoy as often as we can!
We shared our recipe – it’s beautifully simple – here but it can be a pretty steep hill to climb if you’re new to gin.
The negroni is one of the real works of art in the gin world. It’s become probably my favourite gin cocktail after a martini. It’s also very simple to make. Here’s our recipe for a negroni we also included in our first ever ebook about cocktails.
The gimlet is a real classic gin cocktail and one that’s perfect on a hot day. Again it’s really simple but very… shall we say… effective! It’s worth a try but you have to be careful which gin you use. If you use a gin that’s too delicate, the flavours of the botanicals will hide behind the citrus of the lime juice. Here’s our recipe.
Gin and tonic
There are few more refreshing drinks on a hot day than a gin and tonic. More about the tonic than the gin itself, our post about the good old G and T (or ‘GAT’ as we call it at home) looks at how important the mixer is you add to your lovely gin.
Pick your gin
There are literally hundreds of different little distilleries out there at the moment – and I’m not talking about the big guys either. These distilleries are often out in the country run by just one or two people but absolutely nailing it.
We love discovering new gins and distilleries, and learning about their distillers’ toil of passion. These guys work so hard and create some of the most amazing flavours in their gins, it’s really remarkable.
Here are 7 of our favourite Aussie distilleries you should definitely check out:
1. Stone Pine Distillery, Bathurst, NSW – all their gin is good but especially the seasonal special releases. You should also try their rum. It’s amazing.
2. William McHenry, Hobart, TAS – especially their barrel-aged gin, which has a light golden colour and a slight vanilla taste from the barrels – makes an amazing negroni. They also do a sloe gin, which is excellent too.
3. Loch Distillery, Loch, VIC – in particular their new Weaver navy strength gin. It’s incredibly smooth and absolutely delicious. This one could in fact be my new all-time favourite.
4. Poor Toms Distillery, Sydney, NSW – wild, free and particularly Aussie, these guys are really doing great things for the Sydney gin industry.
5. Adelaide Hills Distillery, Adelaide, SA – a beautiful gin called 78 Degrees – cleverly named for the temperature that alcohol boils.
6. Mount Uncle Distillery, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland – a real Aussie gin. A remake of the London dry style gin where the distiller has replaced all of the ingredients (apart from the juniper) with herbs, fruit and spices found in the Australian bush.
7. Ironbark Distillery, Richmond, VIC – the wattleseed and ironbark gin made here is truly unique.
I should also mention Four Pillars gin, which has become almost as well known as Tanqueray and Gordons behind Aussie bars. It’s got a distinct orange taste from the dozen or so whole oranges used in the distilling process.
We’ve also fallen in love with a couple of American gins – Ballast Point Brewery in San Diego, California have called theirs Old Grove. It’s delicate, delicious and well worth buying. The other one is called 209 from San Francisco, CA. Also quite a delicate, smooth gin and perfect in a martini.
Who knows what?
There are few gin geniuses out there now. We have three go-to girls with the low-down on the best gins.
Kath from Nip of Courage knows so much, and helped us write this list of 21 Aussie distillers you should definitely check out. Kath represents a lot of our favourite Australian distilleries – a couple of which are in our list above – and helps them with their distribution, sales and marketing. She’s been in the industry for so long and knows so much.
She can play a mean axe, btw!
Caroline Childerley – or The Gin Queen as she’s better known – is not only a gin addict but a real gin connoisseur. There aren’t many gins out there she hasn’t tried, and has given some amazing insights into what’s good and what’s even better in the industry.
Check out our interview with her here.
Ellie from The Ginstress absolutely loves gin – both drinking and writing about it. Her honesty about the surprises and triumphs she has with all different types of gin is very refreshing and entertaining.
Wherever you are this World Gin Day, we hope you enjoy yourself and tell your friends to join you. If you’re not sure what drink to put your gin in, it’s also World Negroni Week at the same time! Two-for-one gin celebrations – now that’s efficiency for you.
What’s your favourite gin? Do you have a favourite gin cocktail? Where will you be this World Gin Day? Tell us in the comments!