Gin is the backbone of most classic cocktails – martinis, negronis, vespers and gimlets – though it’s never acquired the same shine as its more prolific cousin, whisky. But that’s changing, with gin now poised to become a bona fide superstar.
YOU SHOULD BE DRINKING GIN BECAUSE:
Gin makers are getting more creative
Some use only locally sourced ingredients to give the drinker a sense of the place where the gin originated, while others are more unorthodox, choosing ingredients like butterfly pea flower, olives, and even Sichuan peppercorns. This playfulness with ingredients has also trickled down to producers of tonic water, which means diverse and unusual flavours like yuzu and grapefruit have come to the fore.
You can get it anywhere in Singapore
Well, almost. Watering holes here have embraced gin in a huge way. The recently opened Atlas, at Parkview Square, boasts the largest collection of gin in the world, with more than 1,000 labels lining its shelves, while gin bars like Cin Cin and The Spiﬀy Dapper have ramped up their libraries with collections that now number over 100. Avant-garde cocktail bar Native has even distilled its own gins with Asian botanicals like pomelo. Other bars have created extensive experiences around gin. The Rabbit Hole at Dempsey Hill, for example, touts its lush garden setting as the perfect place to drink gin, and uses house-made tonics and herbs from its own garden. Conrad Centennial Singapore, too, has turned its Lobby Lounge into a gin-dedicated space, with a mix-and-match menu of 12 gins, seven tonics and sodas, and more than 30 garnishes.
It’s part of a global artisanal movement
Craft gin makers are distilling in small batches and taking a lot more care over every step of the process, says Jason Williams, creative director of spirits collective Proof & Company. They’re selective about the ingredients’ provenance, careful about the distillation, and are even involved in the artistic concepts of their bottle labels. Atlas is also launching its Juniper Society later this year with tasting sessions and masterclasses for gin lovers.
The unusual inky blue comes from butterfly pea flowers. What’s even cooler: It’s pH-sensitive, which means it turns blush pink when it interacts with tonic water. It’s one tasty gin – the juniper is spicy, with a noticeable hit of coriander and rich lemon.
$127.50, from http://gainbrandsdirect.com
The Finnish rye-based gin is aged in American oak, and the usual juniper traits take a back seat to vanilla, ripe plum and honey. Enjoy it neat like a whisky, or even in an Old Fashioned.
$93, from http://www.whisky.sg
This comes from Suﬀolk, England, and is a tribute to its place of birth. The gin is distilled using barley from local farms, and steeped in rare local botanicals like rock samphire, wood avens, and bog myrtle foraged from the coast. You can almost smell and taste the rugged land in it. Best drunk on the rocks.
$112.50, from http://gainbrandsdirect.com
This is the brainchild of gin connoisseur Henrik Hammer, who teamed up with his chemist father. Geranium Gin is indisputably a London Dry – opening with a big juniper bouquet. And of course, as the name suggests, geranium is a key ingredient, which adds softness to the finish. Incredibly smooth and elegant.
$107, from http://www.bittersandlove.com
Whitley Neill Quince Gin
The sunny colour and honeyed notes come from Persian quince, a bright yellow, pear-like fruit that boasts a heady vanilla and citrus fragrance. It also uses African botanicals such as baobab and cape gooseberry. The quince gin works as a G&T, but its full-bodied sweetness makes it a great dessert wine too.
$122.50, from http://gainbrandsdirect.com
TEXT: MIA CHENYZE and CLARA HOW