- Food & Drink
In honour of World Gin Day on the 9th June, I thought it was about time I a) posted something on this sad, sorry, neglected website; and b) drank some gin. I’ve been very remiss on both counts recently, preferring to spend my time hanging out with real people (twitter counts as real life, right?) and not drinking because I thought it was time I gave the world a good, hard stare through sober eyes. Neither the world nor I liked that, so it’s back to the booze.
I already know what my favourite martini gin is: it’s Sipsmith. If Clint Eastwood and The Marlboro Man had a child and, even more incredibly, that child turned out to be an ice-cold martini, it would be made with Sipsmith London Dry Gin. It’s a gravelly, challenging, punchy drink that won’t go down quietly and I like it for that.
But I can’t only drink Sipsmith martinis for the rest of my life. Well, I suppose I can. But that’s beside the point. We’re all here today so I can apply Science to the conundrum of which of the gins I happen to have laying about the house will also make a nice martini.
As this is Scientific, there are rules. All the martinis are being made with 60ml gin (apart from the Plymouth Gin one, because I only had 50ml of that, but I think that’s what Scientists call a Variable. Or an Outlier. Or possibly a Higgs Boson. I’m not really sure) and 15ml Noilly Prat. Gin and vermouth are stirred together in a jug full of ice and left for a highly scientific couple of minutes before being strained into a glass and served with a twist.
Let the experiment commence.
This is made with the Devon distillery’s standard 41.2% English gin. I’m quite fond of Plymouth Gin. It tastes like a cottage garden on a sunny afternoon, and there’s an element of sweet-scented rose petals to the Plymouth martini. It also has a lick of lemony coriander and, combined with the vermouth’s florals, it makes for a fragrant, girlish martini. I can imagine it wandering through a field, advertising yogurt on French TV. 7/10
Gordon’s Special Dry London Gin
The house gin in every pub and a staple in most homes, Gordon’s has a miserly 37.5% vol and it’s not my favourite gin. But at first sip I really liked this. Admittedly I am already one martini down, but still. Perhaps I have been treating Gordon’s unfairly all this time. Trying to prove what a sophisticate I am by abandoning the gin of my
childhood youth in favour of niche, artisan gins.
And then I realise that what I like is the Noilly Prat. The smoothness and hint of crushed blossom – that’s the vermouth. The tingling streak of bitterness that zips across my tongue like lit petrol, the harsh kick in the back of my throat and the burning sensation that drifts down my ribcage with all the gentleness of a napalm shower, that’s the Gordon’s. I am right. Gordon’s is rubbish. 2/10
Sloane’s Premium Dry Gin
Foreign gin alert! Sloane’s is made in Holland and is a dry gin with a 40% vol. It’s a creamy, vanilla-scented drink with a dash of citrus and, in a martini, the vanilla makes it sweetly sippable while the St Clement’s mix of orange and lemon stops it from becoming too sickly.
There’s also an undercurrent of cool, green spice – a touch of eucalyptus that reminds me of mouthwash at the dentist. I like it, apart from the traumatic tooth-pulling flashbacks it induces. 7/10
Bloom Premium London Dry Gin
My final martini is made with a 40% gin that includes chamomile amongst its botanicals, so it must be suitable for drinking directly before bed. I take a sip. It’s both flowery and sour. I find this confusing, so I knock the glass over. This isn’t a problem – the glass was on a tray. I’m able to tip the martini back into the glass and carry on puzzling it out.
There’s an element of chewing on citrus peel to this drink. A hint of sugary fruitiness that’s rapidly followed by a swipe of bitterness. And there’s a delicate dose of perfume – a whiff of lady Lynx that you might catch in the air and follow, stopping to optimistically buy flowers and chocolates as you track it through the streets of London, hoping the perfume wearer will be both attractive and not terrified by you following them home. It’s slightly strange, but not unlikeable. 6/10
At this point, I decided to just drink all the gin direct from the bottle in order to get a proper comparison. Then I fell off the sofa.
Conclusion: I’m drunk. Also, martinis are good.