Gin has become the “go to” alcoholic beverage, it’s cool and trendy and the drink to be seen with. You can make it look pretty by sprucing it up with berries and slices of fruit and it’s said to be the more healthy and less calorific of all the tipples that you can have.
There are so many different types of Gin on the market now so I’m going to look at three different makes of Gin and let you know what I think.
I am going to try the Angles’ Share Glass Pink Gin Pig, James Bond’s favourite Gin cocktails Vesper Martini and Negroni by Harvey Nichols and Marks and Spencers fabulous light up, Spiced, Sugar Plum gin liqueur, snow globe .
Where does the name Gin come from?
Gin is taken from the old English word “Genever” which is derived from the latin word “Juniperus” meaning Juniper, as Gin is made by distilling alcohol with juniper berries and other botanicals, to release its well know fragrant spirit.
What is the history of Gin?
Gin started off as a medicinal liquor, an Aqua Vitae ( Water of Life) which was made by Monks in the 17th Century all over Europe, especially in France and Holland. It was made from grapes and grains and this was then picked up by companies to make and sell as an alcoholic beverage.
Gin is now made with a wide range of herbal ingredients, spices, florals and fruits which form the different styles and brands that we know today.
What is the difference between a Liquor and Liqueur?
Liquor is a spirit that is alcoholic and made from grains or plants that have been fermented.
Liqueur as basically the same but it has been sweetened with flavours, oils and extracts.
What glass should you use?
Apparently a curved glass is best to drink Gin from, this helps to capture the aroma and enables you to swill around the drink to allow more of the flavour to be released.
Professional Gin tasters apparently sniff coffee in between sips to cleanse their palate !! It is said that you should keep the Gin on your tongue for a while and then swirl it around your mouth, so that you can taste everything infused in the Gin and then swallow, pausing before you take another sip, so that the taste can linger a while.
What mixer should you use for your gin?
Most people mix their gin with tonic water, ice and a slice of lemon (diet tonic if you are watching the calories) but you can mix it with bitter lemon, ginger beer, vermouth, lime cordial, grapefruit juice, pink lemonade, coca cola, cranberry juice, tomato Juice, prosecco, coffee, elderflower, orange juice, apple juice, pineapple juice, fresh strawberries, blueberries and even earl grey tea!!
What are the Health Benefits of Gin?
It is said that having a gin in the summer months can help with the soothing of hay fever. Apparently Gin can help, but Beer and Cider have a higher histamine content so allegedly can often make your symptoms worse.
Juniper berries are full of antioxidants and these can apparently help with a more youthful, healthy looking appearance but don’t quote me on that !!
They can also apparently aid digestion as they are a natural diuretic. It is said that they do not cause the bloating which other alcoholic beverages can.
Is Gin lower in calories?
If you are thinking of going on a diet soon and don’t want to cut down on drinking alcohol then Gin might be the better option as it only has traces of sugar in it and is only 97 calories per measure unlike wine which is around 160 and beer which is around 208 calories.
Mix it with diet lemonade or diet tonic to keep it healthier.
Angles’ Share Glass Pink Gin Pig
The Angles’ Share Glass Pink Gin Pig 50 ml retails at about £35.95 so it’s quite expensive, but is totally worth it.
The pig is refillable and is made out of sustainable glass, hand made in Scotland and comes in a lovely printed, bespoke white box.
When it arrived I honestly thought it looked so perfect and so cute that I didn’t want to open it and try it. I wanted to keep it as it was and put it on a shelf to look at forever.
You can get different types of Angels’ Share pigs. They can be clear original gin or you can get a novelty pig with sunglasses. They really are quite adorable.
What is the history of the Gin Pig?
In the 18th Century apparently half of the bars in London were Gin bars and then later Gin Palaces. The wealthy at this time, had specially made jugs and decanters to display their gin in, to show just how wealthy they were.
A lot of these were made out of hand blown glass and were know as Gin Pigs. They came in different shapes too some were dogs or fish.
Angles’ Share Glass pigs are a miniature measure of artisan Scottish gin and are handmade with a cork stopper.
The word “Angels’ Share” comes from the name that was given to the whisky that evaporates during it’s maturing in the oak casks.
The Angle’s Share Glass company are based in Bridge of Allan in Scotland and they create bespoke glassware for highly renowned distilleries.
What does it taste like?
I was so reluctant to open and drink this little measure of gin as it just looked so good and I didn’t want to ruin it. I know you can fill it up again but part of me wanted to keep it just as it was. The idea is to take out the cork, which serves as the pigs nose, and hold the tail of the pig and pour the Gin out from his snout.
I took a deep breath and opened it. I love the idea of pink gin. I’m expecting it to be sweet tasting as it’s pink and looks fruity. Pink gin is made by infusing the clear gin with things like cherry blossom, figs, rose hips, red currants, hibiscus, blackberry, pomegranate, red grape skin, strawberries and sometimes food colouring. Pink gin was created after the rise in popularity of Rose Wine.
This Gin is fragrant, fresh and elegant. It’s sweet, aromatic and lovely served as a long drink with plenty of tonic. I loved it.
Harvey Nichols Vesper Gin Cocktail
This Vesper Martini was invented by Ian Fleming for James Bond, Aka 007, in the 1953 novel Casino Royale. Apparently it’s the most famous drink to order. Shaken not stirred obviously.
This Cocktail will cost you £6 for 100ml from Harvey Nichols. I loved the small bottles and when I poured it out I felt like I was in a Bond movie stepping into Bond’s shoes and keeping an eye out for baddies at the bar.
It’s made from Portobello Road Gin, Fair Vodka, Lillet Blanc and a dash of Lemon Oils.
James Bond apparently prefers potato-based vodka but this one is made from quinoa. It’s best served chilled, ice cold in a chilled glass and Mr Bond loved a slice of lemon peel in his.
There’s been a lot of debate as to why Mr Bond likes his cocktails shaken and not stirred as apparently it would be better, taste wise, to just give it a little stir but according to many, maybe he chooses to have it shaken as this will cool the drink quicker as he’s always pressed for time and in a hurry.
In Casino Royale Vesper asks Bond if he has named the drink after her “because of the bitter aftertaste” 007 replies that he named it after her “because once you have tasted it, you won’t drink anything else”
What does it taste like?
I can see why James loves this drink. It’s a good strong drink, it’s tangy and fiery and goes down quickly, lighting a fire in your belly.
It’s woody, grassy and spicy. After a good slug of this I was ready to take on Spectre and save the world. It’s sweet and bitter at the same time and James is right, once drunk never forgotten !!
Harvey Nichols Negroni Gin Cocktail
This cocktail was allegedly invented in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni when he asked a bar tender to swop the soda in his drink to Gin.
This Gin will cost you £6 for 100ml from Harvey Nichols and comes in a stylish small bottle.
This cocktail is popular with Orson Welles (who famously said “the bitter are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other”), Ernest Hemingway was also a fan (one of his dogs was named after this cocktail) and James Bond had this when he fancied a change from Martini. Apparently the renowned chef Anthony Bourdain said it was “a Satanic hell broth”!! Today it’s one of the most popular “hottest” cocktails known.
This Negroni Cocktail is made from Portobello Road Gin, Italian Sweet Vermouth and Campari. It’s best served with lots of ice with a slice of orange.
What does it taste like?
This is a very strong, red in colour cocktail and is best sipped slowly. I can taste cherries, wine and bitter peppery citrus fruits. It’s sophisticated, chic and cool and very intense in flavour.
Marks and Spencers Spiced Sugar Plum Light Up Snow Globe Gin Liqueur
I love these bottles from Marks and Spencers. They have edible silver leaf inside and at the touch of the button at the bottom of the bottle it all lights up in a magical snowstorm.
They have made a few different flavours of Gin Liqueur and I thought I would try the Spiced Sugar Plum version to see what it was like.
It’s mesmerising to look at and I love the way the bottle pops as you take the cork out. The pictures on the front with snowy trees and a dancing ballerina are just stunning.
You can get this gin liqueur in a big 70cl bottle from £21 or in a pack of three delightful snow globe 5cl baubles for £15.75
They are so festive and romantic and it’s a perfect addition to the dinner table instead of candles.
It should be served chilled with ice or can be mixed with prosecco.
What does it taste like?
This is definitely my favourite of all the snow globe gin liqueurs from Marks and Spencers. It’s sweet, fruity and tangy. It’s creamy and smooth and slides down so well. I love the glittery silver leaf in the glass and it’s so morish. I feel like a million dollars drinking sparkly Gin so it’s a definite yes from me.