As evident in the quote at the top of the page ("In the absence of anyone to be rude to, i'm going to the pub for an unspecified number of gin and tonics." Captain Stephen Peacock, Are You Being Served?), i am a gin drinker. Generally, i find people either love it or hate it. There's not much in between. I also find that gin drinkers are some of the most loyal to their brands. I'm certainly not above the occasional Bombay or Beefeater, but i'm first and foremost a Tanqueray lady.
Gin, as most alcoholic beverages, has a long history. It's stock really rose circa 1700 when it got quite popular in England (the country it is still most associated with). Of course, not everybody was thrilled about that back then and gin got labeled with a low-class-inebriate's reputation. Gin fell out of favor rather quickly after that, but it was back again by the Victorian era, and like most things popular during the Victorian era, it had come back with a major style upgrade.
Alas, the whole Prohibition thing knocked gin back down a peg or two, particularly that "bathtub" bit. But once again, gin recovered well enough.
Read on for more....
Gin is easy. It's difficult to mess up a gin cocktail. All you have to do is not put much else into it. Gin and tonic is tops for a reason - uncomplicated. Only slightly more "jazzy" is the Gimlet - gin and lime juice (Rose's, please). Another basic favorite that i had until recently almost forgotten how much i enjoy - the classic Martini. I believe it was Churchill who was said to make a Martini by pouring a glass of gin and whispering "vermouth" to it.
Of course, if you like things a little more complicated there's always Tom Collins, an old friend of mine from way back. He stays at home a lot these days, though, and generally only goes out to nicer establishments - in other words, at least 90% of the time i've asked for a Collins in a bar, i've heard the same response: "what's in that again?" (2oz. gin, juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of powdered sugar, shaken and strained, fill with tonic or soda water. Got that?)
Probably the most complicated gin drink i've had is called a gin blossom at the Diamond Market, a little diner-esque place in Pittsburgh's Market Square. It's a bit different from other gin blossoms though, which are usually gin and grapefruit juice (which i love) with elderflower (St. Germaine). This one is gin and elderflower, sans grapefruit, with cranberry juice and muddled cucumber. Now if that doesn't sound like a summer evening out in the garden, what does?
Don't think i've left out the Pimm's Cup, though! I would argue that the gin blossom described above is still more complicated than a Pimm's Cup because it's got some different, refined stuff there (particularly the elderflower liqueur and muddled cucumber). Pimm's just has loads of stuff tossed in, cucumbers, melons, apples, berries, citrus, field greens, iron ore, loose change, jam, radiators, grans.... And some champagne if you want to be fancy.
Well, that's it for this month's Aliments installment. Pour yourself a Collins and watch for our next update!