A Man’s Primer on Gin

by A Manly Guest Contributor on February 5, 2014 · 60 comments

in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

sinatra

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Joe Maiellano.

Gin is perhaps the most versatile of the distilled spirits. Sure, whisky is delicious. With a world full of smoky single malts and spicy ryes (not to mention bourbons, and the underrated yet very fine selection of Irish whiskies), who would need to stray? But gin has a wonderfully complex flavor profile that is unrivaled by any other spirit.

At its core, gin is a neutral spirit that has been flavored with juniper, and often a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, citrus, and other flavors. Lemon, orange, and lime, as well as coriander, cardamom, and allspice, are all common. Right from the get go, gin is gifted with an almost infinite range of possible flavors and profiles. Enjoy citrus? Rose and cucumber? Oak and malt? Rosemary and thyme? There’s a gin out there to match your taste. And, for the same reasons, there is a perfect gin for every cocktail, liqueur, and mixer.

Many great men through history have enjoyed gin: Winston Churchill, FDR, Ernest Hemingway, etc. Read on to discover what they already knew, and how to become a gin aficionado yourself.

How Gin is Made

gin1

James Cagney making bathtub gin in The Roaring Twenties

The final flavor of gin, unlike most other spirits, relies less on the base spirit or the aging process than it does on the additions made by the distiller during production. Let’s take a stroll through the process of how gin is made:

1. Obtaining the neutral spirit.

Some distilleries will actually just source an already-distilled base spirit from another distillery. Others will use leftover base spirit from other liquors they make in-house. And still others will go through the process of creating their own from scratch. As with other liquors, the basic process consists of:

  • Creating a mash. Grain, water, and yeast are combined and heated, then allowed to ferment to create a low-alcohol “beer.”
  • Distillation. The “beer” is strained, put into a still, and heated. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the alcohol will turn to vapor while the water and other byproducts are left behind, so long as the proper temperature range is maintained. The alcohol vapor condenses (either through coils in a pot-still or on plates in a column still), and is collected as the pure, neutral spirit.

2. Flavoring with botanicals.

Next, herbs, spices, citrus, flowers, and other flavorings are added to the neutral spirit to steep in a kind of boozy tea. All gin contains juniper berries (that’s what makes it gin, after all!), but the unique recipe of other botanicals is what makes each gin special. The time and technique vary – some distillers just dump everything in and strain it out later, others create mesh teabags, and still others will actually hang the botanicals inside the still to allow just the vapor to pass through. No matter how they accomplish it, what the distillers are doing is allowing the alcohol to strip out the essential oils and retain the flavorings.

3. Final distillation.

Most commercial gins undergo a final distillation at this stage. They’re run through the still one more time, which allows the spirit to retain the flavor of the botanicals, while getting rid of any color that it has taken on. Gins that skip this step, such as homemade gin, are referred to as “compound gins.”

 The History of Gin

ginlane

William Hogarth’s “Gin Lane”

Italian monks in the eleventh century produced an elixir of juniper berries steeped in alcohol to combat the Black Death (while not particularly effective, one would think that sipping a martini while dealing with the plague might have at least taken the edge off a little). The Dutch were distilling genever by the mid 1600s, and shared it with their British comrades in the Eighty Years’ War (where it was known as “Dutch Courage”).

As happens with many battle-born food and drink proclivities, the British soldiers brought their taste for the Dutch gin back home with them, where it soon caught on like wildfire. The Dutch-born King of England, William of Orange, relaxed restrictions on home distilling, and increased tariffs on imported booze, leading to a meteoric rise in gin’s popularity. Low prices and widespread availability (fully more than half of the drinking establishments in 1730s London were “gin joints”), coupled with lax oversight, meant that London’s poor were in a perpetual stupor. William Hogarth famously captured the scene in his engraving, “Gin Lane.” The mid-1700s saw quality controls enacted, and the invention of the column still led to the refinement of the spirit into the gin with which we are familiar today.

Fast forward to Prohibition in America, and bootleggers found that the easiest spirit to emulate was gin. By steeping juniper, herbs, and spices in “alcohol” (whether actual moonshine, rubbing alcohol, medical alcohol, or even petroleum products) in a tub, bootleggers made bathtub gin. They often combined bootleg spirits with mixers (juice, soda, sugar) to cover up their horrendous flavor, and so was born the modern cocktail.

Men and Gin on the Silver Screen 

bogart

It’s said that everyone in the cast of The African Queen got dysentery except for Humphrey Bogart due to his copious consumption of gin.

There has long been a special place in popular culture for gin. There’s something about it that is gentlemanly and civilized, yet, a bit dangerous. It’s no wonder that some of the most iconic and manly characters ever to grace the silver screen, or the pages of western literature, have done so with a gin cocktail in hand.

There’s Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, engaged in a high-stakes game of seduction over a cooly-ordered Gibson in the dining car in North by Northwest.

There’s Bogie as the proprietor of Rick’s Cafe Americain in Casablanca – the most famous of “all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world.”

Or Mad Men’s Roger Sterling ordering simply, “Gibson, up.”

Before film and TV, gin had a starring role in the literature that shaped our culture. It was fitting that Fitzgerald’s anti-hero, Jay Gatsby, was a gin-slinger.

Hemingway wrote, in a case of art imitating life, some of the best prose ever conceived about gin – in A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry says, of drinking martinis, “I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized.”

sean-connery-martini

And of course, Ian Fleming’s iconic creation, James Bond and his Vesper martini.

Speaking of Martinis…  

martiniquestion

Martinis really are the quintessential gin drink. Heck, they’re the quintessential drink. Period. Their beauty is in their simplicity. H.L. Mencken called the martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.” But this almost Zen-like elixir still manages to stump many mixologists and imbibers alike. How much vermouth to use? Shaken or stirred? Olives or twist?

The simple answer is, there is no right answer – it’s all a matter of preference. Everyone has their own take, and I’ll humbly offer mine.

In Across the River and Into the Trees, Hemingway describes the Montgomery: a very dry martini that is 15 parts gin to one part vermouth. Old recipes dating back to the 1800s call for as much as equal parts gin and vermouth. If you use a good vermouth such as Dolin or Lillet (not just the bottom-shelf stuff), you’ll want to taste it as a complement to the flavor of the gin. Personally, I like a ratio of 4 or 5 parts gin to 1 part of Dolin dry vermouth. Swap out the dry (white) vermouth for sweet (red) vermouth in the same amounts, and you have a Martinez.

To answer the big question – shaken or stirred? – we need to look at both physics and chemistry. Shaking a cocktail will make it colder, more quickly, than stirring. In addition, the added agitation will break up the ice into little shards that, with less surface area, melt quickly and dilute the drink. So, it depends on whether or not you prefer your martini ice cold and a little watered down (in which case, make like 007 and shake) or not as cold but a more pure product.

As to garnish: I’d argue that the proper garnish is dependent on the exact type of gin you are using. An olive is perfectly acceptable if you’re using a very dry gin, such as Gordon’s or Beefeater. In fact, Sinatra advised that you should always order two olives, so you’ll have one to share with a friend. However, if your martini is made with a particularly complex gin – say, Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire – you’re going to want to compliment some of the citrus and floral notes with a lemon twist. A cocktail onion generally follows the same rules as an olive, although then you’re not drinking a martini anymore, but rather a Gibson.

New Trends in Gin

gin

While the martini may be the quintessential gin drink, gin is far from a one-trick pony. In fact, there are many exciting trends happening right now in the gin world. Take for example small-batch distilleries. Much like the micro-brewery movement of the 1980s and 1990s, America is seeing a surge in local micro-distilleries.

In the not-too-distant past, there were few options for the gin drinker. Your local bar would have Seagrams or maybe Beefeater, and that was all there was. Now, we live in a time and place where there are literally hundreds of different gins that all taste different, and that are accessible with a few strokes of your keyboard. Death’s Door in Wisconsin, Bluecoat in Philadelphia, Green Hat in DC… all are turning out world class gins right in our backyards. It’s a great time to be a gin drinker!

Many of these local distilleries (and some of the big guys, too) have begun tinkering with seasonal and other limited-run batches. Green Hat has put out a winter blend that is distilled with caraway seeds (among other botanicals) in the style of an aquavit.

Ransom out of Oregon has a barrel-aged gin that has a mellow amber color and pleasing oakiness that works amazingly well in a Martinez.

Even Plymouth, one of the oldest commercial gins going (since 1793!), has gone back to releasing its Navy Proof offering – bottled at a whopping 114 proof in order to last on long voyages. Come to think of it, if you like shaken martinis, that might just be the way to go…

Recipes

Once you’ve sampled enough gin, and found some favorites, give a few of these recipes a try:

Negroni

ginnegroni

Italian amari, such as Campari, are excellent at reviving one’s appetite and settling nausea after a night of over-indulgence. When married with the healthful qualities of gin, the coating properties of Italian-style vermouth and the added protein from an egg white (which also lends a silky texture), we enjoy an elixir without equal for righting oneself – the Negroni.

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 1.5 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 egg white
  • Orange twist

Combine gin, Campari, vermouth, bitters, and egg white in a cocktail shaker (no ice). Shake well for 30 seconds (this is called dry shaking; it helps integrate the egg white). Add ice to shaker. Shake again for 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Using a vegetable peeler or zester, cut a very thin strip of orange peel (avoid the white pith), squeeze the twist over glass to release its oils, run the peel over the rim of the glass, and drop into drink.

French 75

ginfrench75
This cocktail traces its roots to Harry’s Bar in Paris in 1915, where a WWI veteran wanted a little more kick in his glass of champagne. Legendary barman Harry MacElhone mixed this up for him, and the vet declared it packed a wallop like a French 75 (the Model 1897 75mm Howitzers he knew all too well from the war).

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • Champagne (or other dry sparkling wine)
  • Lemon twist

In a shaker with ice, combine gin, syrup, and lemon; shake well. Strain into a chilled flute or coupe, and top up with champagne. Serve up with a strip of lemon zest as garnish.

Gin Rickey

ginrickey
The Gin Rickey is Washington, D.C.’s native cocktail, invented by Col. Joe Rickey at a bar mere steps from the White House. Crisp and refreshing, it’s the perfect cocktail for the south’s swampy summers.

  • 3 oz gin
  • ½ fresh lime
  • Sparkling mineral water (such as Apolinaris or Acqua Panna)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Squeeze lime half into a rocks glass or large wine goblet and drop hull in as well. Fill glass with ice. Add gin, bitters, and mineral water. Stir to combine.

Shaken or stirred, traditional or small batch, gin is the elixir of men and gods alike. Whether you’re a gin fan who might have discovered a new trend or a novice who was afraid to delve deeper, I hope you’ll join me now in raising a glass to this finest of spirits: gin.

______________________________

Joe Maiellano is co-founder of The HomeMade Gin Kit. He has been described as a spiritsmith, alcohol enthusiast and drunkard (though only the latter by his mother-in-law). He’s also been trying to single-handedly bring back the three-martini lunch.

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zachary February 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Loved the history and the article as a whole…but…egg white…in a negroni? For the cocktail that has been described as a “model of elegant proportionality,” all you need is 1:1:1 campari:sweet vermouth:gin. Keep the egg white or anything else out. Put in an orange twist if you’d like. Egg has no place. Otherwise, spot on all around.

2 Felix February 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Awesome article! Great insight on how it’s made and the history of the various cocktails. I like how Gin can vary according to the location… Each little place can have its own variety. We have the “Ungava” dry gin in Quebec which has been flavored with different plants and flowers from the boreal forest. It’s delicious!

3 Shane February 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Any time I take my mother out for her birthday, she always tests the bartenders with a Ginz Fizz… sadly no one seems to know the recipes from 30+ years ago anymore.

4 Nick February 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Why are we putting Bond on here? He drank vodka martinis…NOT gin.

I prefer a Churchill…. If remember right, he could see the vermouth from across the room. That was enough for his martini.

The first thing I enjoyed after kissing my lovely wife was a Hendrick’s gin martini… shaken-not stirred. I knew the local liquor store carried vermouth. That was enough for me.

5 Albert February 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I’ve never liked gin. I can, and will drink nearly any other spirit straight, on the rocks, mixed whatever, but I just can’t get over the juniper taste. I grew up on five acres of juniper trees in California and as much as i liked the smell, it never converted to a taste that made sense to me. I can deal with the occasional gin and tonic, but that’s about it. My martinis are always vodka. And who the hell even drinks “gin and juice”??? After the Snoop song I gave that a shot in college and, mein got, that was the worst thing I’d ever tasted. Are (lol time escapes me, were) rappers actually enjoying that taste?!

6 Rex February 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm

An interesting article, and I appreciate the science behind gin, but about the only things I can agree on are that Irish whiskeys are very underrated, and 007 was a wimp. Personally, I can’t stand the smell or taste of juniper.

7 William February 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Should’ve added the Ramos Gin Fizz to the list.

8 Paul February 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Great article, but how could you not mention gin and tonic?! The perfect drink for hot summer days (or anytime).

9 Brian February 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm

The best summer drink? A sloe gin fizz. And don’t get a cheap base spirit gin, spend a little bit of money and get a good sloe gin such as Plymouth. Sloe gin, a squeeze of lemon, some simple syrup and top it off with a quality club soda, stir gently and pour over clear ice. Goes great with a barbeque in the backyard or the country club summer social…

10 Chris February 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Zach has a point. If you put anything else besides the liquors. It’ll become something more besides a Negroni, but no less delicious. You can count I’m trying one with egg white as soon as I arrive home. mmm… Could we make a…? Dare I try it? Negrony Sour?

11 Mitch Skool February 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Agree on the Negroni comment, it should only be gin, campari, and rosso. 1:1:1 is sweet to many gin palates, I prefer 3:2:1 above, respectively.

12 Pike February 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Great article. Gin is my summer drink. Bourbon (notably Knob Creek) is my brown liquor for the winter.

I have to agree about keeping egg whites out of negronis. No need for the foam or thickness.

For those of you who don’t like gin but like the idea of a negroni, be sure to try a boulivardier. Just replace the gin with bourbon. Still 1:1:1, and hold back on the egg whites.

13 Douglas M. February 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm

While Bond is known for the vodka martini, the real Bond martini is the Vesper Martini which is made with vodka and gin. It’s the first one he mentions in the books and only one he says he invented himself. In Casino Royale, he says:

‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Oui, Monsieur.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

14 Jarrod CL February 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Awesome article. For me, the best summer drink with a gin is a Southside. I use the recipe on Diffords. Gin, mint and lime juice are incredibly refreshing. Charlie Chaplins are nice too…they use Sloe Gin though. Having said that, it’s about gin-o-clock here in Australia. Time for a Bombay Saphire with Tomrs Tonic.

15 Andre February 5, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Interesting article. I’m a big fan of gin.
I think Seagram’s turned many people away from gin – it is terrible.

16 Ken February 6, 2014 at 1:35 am

What would you all recommend for someone who never had gin before as a good starter? I never been a big drinker, and only have the occasional margarita. But I would love to try something new.

17 MaryAlice February 6, 2014 at 1:36 am

No egg in Negroni. Heavens!

West Coast gins: 209, Junipero.

18 MTAmerson February 6, 2014 at 1:43 am

I live in East Africa where Ugandan Waragi (African gin) is popular because it is cheap and can be mixed with anything because of its neutrality. I swear it’s bathtub gin, though. It tastes like rubbing alcohol and Lysol.

19 Metabeard February 6, 2014 at 7:08 am

I’m a fan of the Moulin Rouge in the summer. 1 part gin (I use Bluecoat), 1 part brandy, 1 part lemon juice and a splash of grenadine. Shaken over ice.

20 Rich February 6, 2014 at 7:23 am

A couple of points:
There is no such thing as a “Vodka Martini”. A Martini can only be made with gin. Just because you put it in a Martini glass doesn’t make it a Martini.

Also, no collection of Martini recipes is complete without the “Perfect Martini”, .5 oz each of sweet and dry Vermouth and 2 oz of Gin.

21 Mark G February 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

How can you talk about gin without mentioning gin and tonic? A very, clean refreshing drink in the summertime. Or any time.

22 nate knopf February 6, 2014 at 8:01 am

I love a good dry martini. For a good dry martini you’re supposed to swirl the vermouth in the glass and toss it out, but I’ve found another way is to a mini-spray bottles (they’re used for fruity drinks but you can put vermouth in them) and spray your glass with a few hits, then add Blue cheese stuffed olives (go great with a nice dry gin) and serve that puppy stirred, not shaken (cause JB was ordering a weak martini, in case anyone ever thought that through).

23 Guilherme Richter February 6, 2014 at 8:25 am

what, no gin tonic?

24 James Jenson February 6, 2014 at 8:34 am

Why shaken / not stirred

According to a study at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada to determine if the preparation of a martini has an influence on their antioxidant capacity, the shaken gin martinis were able to break down hydrogen peroxide and leave only 0.072% of the peroxide behind, versus the stirred gin martini which left behind 0.157% of the peroxide.

25 Louie February 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

My favorite gin drink is “The Traitor”. My wife loves it even though she isn’t normally a gin fan.

- Orange Juice
- Gin
- Nutmeg
- Honey

The 4 ingredients should “disappear”, i.e. Orange Juice and Gin
should annihilate, and Nutmeg and Honey too.

The perfect “Traitor” is a masterpiece of balance between the 4 ingredients. Experiment until you get it right. :D

26 James Baggett February 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

My stepfather introduced me to gin the year before I graduated college (I was 25) and as someone who loves studying mixology and bartending as a hobby I loved how simple it is. My go-to-drink is still a plain Gin and Tonic: 1 shot of Bombay Extra Dry (or Gordon’s..users choice), 2 shot of Tonic Water. Splash of Lime or Lemon juice for added kick, add ice and stir in a rocks glass.

27 Alec February 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

A great small local gin distillery is Caledonia Spirits in Vermont. They make an amazing gin using local honey and corn.

http://caledoniaspirits.com/

My go to for gin and soda water in the summer. I can’t drink any big name crap anymore after drinking their gin.

28 Rich February 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

Alton Brown’s rationale behind stirring a dry martini is that shaking it will often give an extremely cloudy drink whereas stirring it will ensure it remains crystal clear. If you want it ice cold, then fill the glass with ice and a little cold water while mixing the cocktail. It’ll be very chilled and still look pristine.

Also, aren’t you supposed to have only an odd number of olives in a martini? I’ve heard forever that an even number is bad luck. Obviously, there’s nothing to this, but it’s a drinking ritual.

29 Tom February 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I’ve always liked the Gordon Bennett. Mix 1 oz. of Gin with 1 oz. of Triple Sec (Cointreau). Add a lime-twist and stir it all over lots of ice. then top it of with a really sparkly mineral water. It’s not too heavy and fruity in a really subtle and nuanced way. Bottoms up!

30 Eric February 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Ken, I’d recommend Plymouth as a good starter gin. I’m also a fan of Tanqueray because of it’s pronounced juniper flavor. Hendrick’s is a great summer gin because of it’s lighter flavor.

Having done a side by side comparison of a shaken vs stirred martini, I prefer the stirred. Just chill your glass and you’ll have a perfectly chilled martini.

31 chad February 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm

seems like we’ve got some gin purists here…

figured I’d be in good hands asking if anyone can recommend a brand of gin that is not laced with corn syrup or other such sweeteners/fillers? corn and I…are not friends. would love to get back on the gin wagon if I could find something maize-free!

thanks all.

32 AM Trausch February 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I keep a bottle of Beefeater in the freezer. When I want a martini I rinse out a glass with a splash of vermouth, and then pour in the gin. Ice-cold and perfectly clear. The first sip is terrifically bracing and soon the world starts glowing with benevolence . . . I’ll be right back.

33 Andreas B. L. February 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

You guys rock! Another fun, useful article. AoM is now the only “men’s” related website I need.

34 Andrew February 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm

The worst martini I’ve heard of is the Christini. I’ll let you figure out what it’s made from.

35 JWH February 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Both James Bond, and Roger Sterling of Mad Menm drank vodka martinis, not gin, just FYI.

36 James February 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee has a great small batch gin with basil and ginseng.

37 P.M.Lawrence February 7, 2014 at 3:56 am

Just one small point: in 1915, there weren’t yet any WWI veterans apart from those already invalided out.

Rex, Albert, to minimise the juniper effect, try sloe gin, which has already been mentioned here.

Finally, I once knew a little old lady whose favourite tipple was gin and ginger wine with a dash of lemonade. It smelled just like eau de cologne. She went by the masculine name of Mick, so the drink was known as a Mick’s Special.

38 Nikola Gjakovski February 7, 2014 at 5:30 am

I was living in illusion this whole time with my vodka! Next time going to make the following which you preffer

3 oz gin
½ fresh lime
Sparkling mineral water (such as Apolinaris or Acqua Panna)
2 dashes orange bitters

39 Matt February 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm

This was a great article! It is literally making my mouth water. I was wondering if anyone has found a site on the internet that rates gins on their flavor. Being a man of very modest means, I only buy a bottle once in a blue moon….so I would prefer to put the investment to effective use.

40 jerry February 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

While a Marine on r/r in Hong Kong from Vietnam I sat in my first tub of hot water in months and drank several Tom Collins in frosted glasses……I had to have help from the tub…what a great memory.

41 Robert February 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm

My preferred martini uses Hendricks with a cucumber slice as a garnish. I don’t know what the bartender at my local joint does, but she makes it better than any I’ve had anywhere else.
And I agree with everyone else, no mention of the gin and tonic? Travesty. That’s my go-to summer drink for sitting on the back patio after a long week. I’ve found that its perfect when matched with the right cigar.

42 Glenfilthie February 8, 2014 at 2:59 am

Bah. Gin is like vodka and can be the drink of kings and peasants alike. I goes down easy and friendly and then strikes with the hell and fury of a woman scorned.

I will stick with my elegant single malts, gents. I like my spirits, distilled and otherwise – friendly.

43 Alyster February 8, 2014 at 4:48 am

While I do love a Negroni (I’ve always said it takes a real man to drink a pink drink) I really love Genever Old Fashioned (made with grapefruit or lemon bitters) arguably the oldest cocktail on record or a Classic Martinez (think Martini with sweet vermouth and bitters). Genever combines the wonderful freshness of the juniper with rich warm notes of malt spirit and very often richer “earthier” spices like ginger and orris. (think of a light Scotch with botanical attitude) Bols Oude Genever is a good place to start although I have a special love for Van Wees range of aged Genevers – if you can get them!

44 Philip Quim February 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Use cognac instead of gin in the French 75. Better drink.

45 Daniel Nanney February 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Interesting post. I was a very big fan of gin in my high school years. Any more, I can’t really stomach the smell of it. Perhaps it was the poor quality of the libations I partook in. I’ve been stuck on whiskey for a while, particularly bourbon. Bourbon and domestic beer. Their are a few imports I like, but, I’m not a beer snob. I like my Miller Lite.
Does anyone have any gin recommendations?

46 Michael February 8, 2014 at 9:42 pm

I personally think the wet martini is extremely under appreciated (Possibly due to all the witticisms about dry martinis?). I’ll make mine with a 2-to-1 ratio if I’m in the right mood and I think they’re pretty delicious, although they do give me a bit of heartburn.

47 Jennifer February 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

French 75s are DELICIOUS. And every bit as potent as the name implies.

48 Steve February 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

Umm, Apollinaris is sparkling, Acqua Panna is still. Maybe you meant S. Pellegrino in stead of Acqua Panna?

49 Heath February 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

No mention of M*A*S*H 4077?

50 William February 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

What about the Gimlet? I love this drink!! Thank you Raymond Chandler

51 Jacob February 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

James Bond ordered his martinis shaken because they contained potato vodka, which can be oily if not stirred. He also started that he prefers grain vodka, presumably for this reason. Although, he also wants his drink ice cold, so there is that reason as well.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaken,_not_stirred

52 spencer February 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

AOM love you guys and love this article, but how do we not have the Tom Collins on here! But I will definitely be trying that French 75.

53 Rob February 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Martin Miller’s gin is sublime.
And so is Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub.
For me the best Martini is very light on the Lillet Blanc – capful at most – and 2 large measures of one of the aforementioned gins.
Stirred. Serve with one huge, green spanish olive, unstoned.

Negronis have no eggwhite. They are 1:1:1 gin, red vermouth and Campari.Over ice with an orange twist.

54 Jeff February 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

Love gin in a lot of ways. First, a few notes. A “martini” without vermouth is not a martini, it is a cold glass of gin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’ve enjoyed many cold glasses of gin in my life.

Gin & juice – try gin and lemonade or limeade, this is a a great summer drink.

Third, for those who like their “martini” sans vermouth, try it with the vermouth and a dash of bitters. Use angostura with dry vermouth & olive, and orange bitters with sweet vermouth & cherry. The bitters seems to blend the flavors better, and make even cheap vermouth unobjectionable.

I saw some mixologist on line talking about cocktails that were originally a Spirit, Mixer, & Bitters. Mixers would be wines (vermouth), juices, etc. His theory was that the martini would have originally been Gin, Vermouth & Bitters, like the Manhattan is Whiskey Vermouth & Bitters. He also mentioned that back then there were several different kinds of bitters, and it was understood that sweet vermouth went with a sweeter bitters (cherry, orange, lemon) and dry vermouth went with angostura. Do yourself a favor and get some orange bitters to use with your sweet vermouth. It greatly improves Manhattans and sweet “martinis”

jeff

55 Tyler S. February 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Something to note that I was taught in bartender school and know to be true as a Martini is my drink of choice next to Onyx Moonshine (80 proof product of CT, enjoy the American history and connection to the founding fathers) IS THAT gin should be stirred in a pint glass with ice. If it is stirred in a shaker, or worse yet shaken in a shaker, it will take on a subtle flavor of the metallic of the shaker…if you want a good martini, get it stirred in a pint glass. Cheers.

56 Luke February 12, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Fun fact, “Gin Lane” has a companion piece called “Beer Street” that depicts a happy and healthy population of English ale drinkers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Street_and_Gin_Lane

57 Rob February 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Gin and tonic w/ lime or olive is my favorite esp in summer. Prefer Tanqueray No.10, but reg Tanqueray is good to go too.

Hendricks with cucumber is good too. Those are the only two gin drinks I do except if I go out, I’ve been known to order a martini. .. heh

58 Paul February 17, 2014 at 6:29 am

Hello Bret,

Great artical as always, really enjoy reading AoM since i discovered it a year ago.

Just wanted to point out
“Even Plymouth, one of the oldest commercial gins going (since 1793!), has gone back to releasing its Navy Proof offering – bottled at a whopping 114 proof in order to last on long voyages”

Having been a resident of Plymouth and been on way too many tours of the distilery there (great bar) I can correct you the navy strength Gin was called this and so used because it could be stored in the gunpowder store in ships and even if the barrels leaked the gunpower could still ignight.

Many thanks and Keep it up!

59 jd February 17, 2014 at 11:38 am

Shaking vs stirring has no effect on either strength or temperature. To cool a drink a certain amount, you will have to melt a given amount of ice. So says science. (The tiny amount of shards that make it though the stainer into the drink would have a negligible effect.) If stirred drinks are typically stronger and warmer, it’s due to impatience rather than the method.

So why stir then? Air. Pour a shaken and a stirred martini side by side and you will notice that the shaken drink has a surprising amount of air bubbles, and that they take an equally surprising amount of time to dissipate. Not only does this make the drink cloudy; it also makes it taste sharper.

The problem with stirring, however, is that it’s a real pain in the ass. But you can get the best of both worlds be simply making the drink in a shaker, and instead of vigorously shaking it, just roll the contents around gently until it’s cold enough. You can even give it one or two good shakes at the start if you’re the type who likes a few ice chips in your drink.

60 Al February 20, 2014 at 7:05 am

I got turned on to Chef’s martinis about 10 years ago…mmmm, excellent.
1 part Bombay Sapphire
1 part Blue Curacao
1 part Cointreau
served over some clear cracked ice
with a twist of lemon and lime

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