- Food & Drink
It has been a while since I did a gin tasting. I’d like to claim this is down to me embracing a more sober, healthy lifestyle. One that sees me knocking back the soda water, choosing early nights, morning workouts and coconut oil. But it isn’t. It’s because no one has sent me any gin. I have a lot of opinions about gin. The most important of them is that gin should always be free.
Fortunately, the Italians have come to my rescue with a jaunty bottle of Malfy GQDI Gin. According Malfy’s distillers, gin wasn’t invented in Holland. No, it was invented in Italy. There is literally nothing edible in the world the Italians won’t claim to have made first.
Italian monks do actually seem to have been flavouring a rough sort of spirit with juniper in the 11th century, which they used to combat the Black Death. That did not work out so well. And it’s debatable whether it was really gin, but whatever. They sent me the happiest looking bottle of gin I have seen in a long time. So saluti the gin-inventing Italians.
Malfy is made in Piedmont and the big botanical in it is lemon peel from the Italian coastline. The skins from the salt-sprayed citrus are used to infuse the gin, along with juniper and five other top secret botanicals. Then it’s distilled in a stainless steel vacuum still, which is meant to give a fresher flavour because the alcohol boils at a lower temperature.
There’s only one way to find out if that is true, though. So I put on my best outfit, set up a striped umbrella, made like I was on a sun-blessed terrace overlooking the Mediterranean and drank some gin.
Day or night gin? 41% ABV, which makes this a gin for long, hot nights falling in and out of nightclubs, racing through narrow streets with the paparazzi, and dancing in fountains.
What does it smell of? Lemon sherbet – in particular, Sherbet Fountains – and the entire Cif range of lemon-scented bathroom cleaners. This is one lemony drink. It practically fizzes on my nostrils and explodes in my mind in great big fountains of lemonade.
What does it taste of? Also lemon sherbets. The sharp, acidic sweetshop lemon flavour is right at the front, followed by a greener, woodier hit. If you were to shin up a lemon tree in Amalfi and give it a big hug (and maybe a tiny kiss), you’d expect the experience to taste like this.
Along with the lemony freshness, there is a bitterness to the drink. A little chew on the pith. I originally thought that it would be too much in a negroni, but the more I consider it stirred up with Campari and vermouth, the more convinced I am that this would make a super punchy, extra tasty fall-off-the-sofa pre-dinner drink. It’d be great in a spritz instead of Campari, and a slug added to a hugo to make a super hugo would be a joyful thing (the super hugo is my cocktail tip for the summer).
Buy it? It isn’t much like a forest floor juniper gin as we know them, but I’ve come round to it pretty quickly. However, whether or not to buy it is a slightly moot point as Malfy isn’t available in the shops yet. Instead, you’ll have to seek it out in the finest drinking establishments. I’d try in a dirty martini, tom collins or depth charged into a hugo. To find out when bottles are likely to appear in the shops, keep your eye on Malfy’s website or follow them on twitter.