My first couple of posts have all been about whisky. Can you blame me though? I’ve grown up drinking it for a little under half my life. Though, it wasn’t always the good stuff, unfortunately.
But perhaps its time I share a little bit about my newfound love… for Gin.
I started off not liking gin at all, like many others, due to a horrible experience that involved it. Bombay Sapphire to be exact — and I’ve heard from many others that I’m not the only one. I didn’t like the taste of it, it burned my throat, and it was overall unpleasant. From then on, I decided not to touch gin (and soon after, other white spirits like vodka and tequila… but those are stories for other days).
My mother and grandaunt, on the other hand, loved their g&t’s especially when cooking our big, festive family dinners (Chinese New Year and Christmas). Gordon’s was their gin of choice. I still never saw the appeal. Or rather, tasted it. In fact, I thought mixing it with tonic made it taste worse.
And what was this juniper they speak of??
Fast forward several years later, I met the guys who would change my mind forever hidden in a basement bar called Omakase + Appreciate. The cocktail maestros took it upon themselves to serve me cocktails that feature spirits I “frowned” upon, i.e. gin and tequila. They hadn’t succeeded with tequila, but with gin… it was “Gin Cocktail-love-at-first-sip” with this number:
It was delicious, well-balanced, and simple yet so elegant. They snickered at me as I gulped it down to the very last drop, not knowing that I had just fallen in love with a gin cocktail.
And then for my next visit, they laid another gin beaut in the form of this:
This was both sweet and floral, and beautiful dash of acidity to balance all the flavours out. It was this cocktail that made me realize that gin was alright. And this was back in 2013.
Now, I’ve substituted my day-time drinks from beers and ciders to gin & tonics. That’s right, I warmed up to G&T’s too. It really goes to show that one (or two I suppose) experience can change your entire perception of something. I have a stinking feeling tequila will be the next one on their list.
But let’s be real… I didn’t really write this post just to tell you about how I fell in love with gin (or, did I?).
My love for gin has surfaced at the perfect time as the local bar scene begins to pay more attention to it and distributors, both new and old, are starting to bring in some really interesting brands. Here, it all started with Hendrick’s Gin — a delightfully fresh take on gin that also introduced the trend of serving a cucumber in your G&T. It was the gin that converted many drinkers in favour of the white spirit with it fresh, floral notes thanks to the rose and cucumber extracts. I enjoy Hendrick’s gin, and it’s definitely the gin one would use to convert someone to gin (though for me it was Tanqueray).
Gin-focused bars started popping up around the city — some featured a wide variety of gin, some had homemade tonics, some focused on gin cocktails. The beauty of the industry is really how quickly trends move. One minute, whisky is all the rage, and now… everyone’s giving gin a chance. Not to say whisky is losing its luster — never! But you see the shift towards white spirits through some of the bars, mostly thanks to the surge of the cocktail scene.
It’s definitely an exciting time to be a new gin fan. One of my personal favourite newcomers into our market is actually the West Winds gin range.
The range is wonderfully diverse with each variant offering something very different from the other. The Cutlass and the Broadside are my two favourites because of how distinct they are. The Cutlass has quite robust flavours and is a bit on the spicier side, where else the Broadside has a bit of saltiness which I actually find quite pleasant. The Captain’s Cut is incredible too, but I wouldn’t recommend it on a daily basis — flavours are quite herbacious and the ABV is relatively high in comparison to the others, so best to save it for special occasions (or a really, horrible day maybe).
If you read up about the gins and the guys behind them, you’ll see why each gin is so distinct from the other — much like their founders/creators. I was quite surprised to find out that these gins hail from Australia. But then again, with its flavour profiles, I also shouldn’t be surprised. The Broadside for instance was seasoned with Margaret River sea salt, and with the surfing culture known among the Aussies, I guess you would expect there to be some salty sea element, eh?
I’ve yet to fully delve into the world of craft gin. But, how can I if I haven’t even properly explored the commercial world? But one can’t deny that I’m incredibly excited to be venturing into the world of white spirits!
So, what’s your gin story?