Gin continues to capture the imagination of spirit lovers and bartenders alike.
This perfectly clear, clean spirit can carry an avalanche of flavour and aroma while remaining subtle, elegant and inviting.
“To be called gin, it has to be made with juniper berries,” says Settlers Spirits’ Rowland Short. He refers to the small berry of the north European conifer that is distilled with neutral spirit in every gin.
“But we use a lot of local botanicals such as lemon myrtle from the Adelaide Hills,” he says, “Giving this very British drink a wonderful Australian character.”
It’s that amazing variation in flavour and aroma from botanicals that allows drinkers to continually engage with gin.
Many bartenders are offering it neat, with a large block of ice, so customers can taste all the different botanicals for themselves.
New brands of boutique tonic water, such as Oceans Spirit, with more complex flavours and more subtle sweetness, have made the classic G&T on trend once again.
Today, when it comes to making a martini, it is a matter of choice.
If the customer likes the crispness of a Vesper (the James Bond martini) bartenders can offer a London-style gin.
If, however, they prefer a funky Dirty Martini look for gins aged in oak barrels and mix with a complex local vermouth.
From floral to citrus, the range of aromas found in Australian gins means that any bartender worth their salt should have an array of gins to play with.
For a Gimlet or Gin Sling try a gin with overtones of lemon or ponzu.
For a Negroni, grab the Campari and some vermouth and then look for a gin that may have wormwood or classic Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary in their botanicals.
It’s gin’s ability to change gear from ‘end of the day’ pre-dinner drink to sophisticated cocktail that makes it such an important part of the drinks scene.
It is also the way that gin distillers are constantly coming up with new flavours that sees it capture the public’s imagination.
This article appeared originally in the 2021 winter edition of Gulp