Gin things: how to taste gin like an expert

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Gin lovers the world over will tell you one thing: proper tasting is imperative to finding the right gin for you. Whilst many people will be happy to go down to their local bottle shop and pick up one of the classics, for many people gin tasting is as serious as it is for your typical wine connoisseur - serious business!


Many gin lovers, like many of the world’s wine and whiskey lovers, will use a sensory technique to properly accentuate the flavour of the gin, and this way they can tell if it’s for them or not.


It doesn’t matter if you’re sampling Australian gin, British gin, Japanese gin or something completely different, here is a time-tested method for ensuring it’s a bottle you want in your cabinet!


The method


  1. Preparing: There is a scientific method for pouring your gin and getting the most out of it: pouring a good measure, around 50ml minimum, into a whiskey glass, before swirling it and checking for suspended particles.

  2. The first sniff: Next, you can wave the glass under your nose from right to left while gently inhaling. This prepares your senses for the oncoming flavour of the gin.

  3. The second sniff: You can then go onto place your nose in the glass for a full second before pulling your nose away. Gin can overwhelm the nasal passage, so do this briefly and in a way that you can just detect the botanicals and, of course, the juniper.

  4. The third sniff & taste: Finally, it’s time to stick your nose in for two seconds before taking in a good swig of gin. The other botanicals usually shine through in your longer sniff, and you should roll the gin around your mouth for a couple of seconds to see what flavours truly come through in the particular spirit. You want to be looking for a nice lingering finish and a good feel in the mouth, too!


This method should allow your taste buds and nose to pick up the flavour and scent of the gin without being overpowered by the alcohol. Once you’ve tasted the gin neat, you may then want to add a little bit of water to note how the flavour profile changes and to release more esters - you may even detect other curiosities by doing this! You might just happen to find a pleasant surprise at this point and something that makes you want to own this bottle of gin even more!


Once you’ve decided that you have found the bottle of gin that is perfect for you, it’s time to start making up some of those absolutely refreshing G&Ts, using a light tonic so as to not be too fizzy. Your favourite new gin will truly make your favourite cocktail the best one you’ve ever had, and something to be enjoyed from that point on, too...


It’s not unlike other alcohol tastings


As you can see, tasting gin is much like tasting other forms of alcohol. It follows a pretty simple, sensory pattern of sniffing, then sniffing again and again before taking a big old sip and rinsing it around your mouth to note its intensity.


This way, you will be able to truly note the flavours and ingredients used in the particular label and be sure that it is one that you will be happy to add to your liquor cabinet!


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