“Let’s do a taste test of the tonic water!” Dan utters with excitement after he notices that I’ve been grabbing both Schweppes and Canada Dry from the fridge during the tasting. By this point we had sampled several new “finds” from far away liquor stores in addition to conducting some unscientific comparisons between various whiskeys and rums. Due to this, or perhaps it being 10:30pm on a weeknight, Round 2 of the Gin and Tonic Tasting seemed to be in jeapordy.
Maybe it was the tonic tasting or maybe it was the the four grilled pizzas we had consumed, but as always, we hunkered down and entered pompous evaluation mode, and the tasting resumed.
Gin and Tonic
- 2oz gin
- 3 – 4oz tonic water
- lime wedge
Mix the gin and tonic in a lowball or rocks glass filled with ice, and squeeze in as much lime juice as you’d like; drop in the wedge.
Bombay Sapphire – The taste and aroma offered some floral hints, but the presence of juniper was minimal. Though, it was rather intensely flavored, the tasters put Sapphire near the bottom of their list.
Tanqueray – Our panel knew that the winner of Round 1 would be included in the five gins we tasted in Round 2, but they did not know where. I was pleased that most were able to identify the junipery notes almost immediately. Tanqueray faired very well, but it was not the clear winner.
Beefeater – I must say, I really had hope that Beefeater would shine through and conquer Round 2 of the tasting, but it faired little better than the Gordon’s did in Round 1. Taster’s commented that the juniper flavor was lacking but was replaced by a mild alcohol taste. I would easily use Beefeater over Gordon’s for a gin and tonic, but it ranked very low in this tasting.
Tanqueray Ten – In my mind, this would have to be the clear winner. I had enjoyed gin and tonics with Tanqueray Ten on several occasions (an epicurian trip to San Francisco remains clear in my mind), and I had always enjoyed the taste, if not the cost. Overall, the tasters enjoyed this gin a good bit, but there was a strange introductory taste that most found a bit unpleasant. More mild than regular Tanqueray, I was expecting something more complex and interesting.
Bombay – This was the showstopper. Completely out of the blue, Bombay won the favor of all the tasters. Although the juniper flavor was not as strong as some of the other gins, it matched so well with the tonic water (I believe Canada Dry was used with this one), that I was sad to only have bought a stocking stuffer bottle.
- Tanqueray Ten
- Bombay Sapphire
All of the tasters, including myself were quite surprised at the outcome of this tasting. I am almost tempted to rehold a tasting of the same gins, but our scores were so much more consistent than Round 1, that I doubt we’d reach a different lineup.
Round 3 may include any of the following gins: Bafferts, Boodles, Hendricks, Calvert, Old Raj, Van Gogh, Citadelle. Unfortunately, several of these would have to be special ordered, so they may not make the cut. Are there other gins you would suggest we include in Round 3?
Do you agree with our analysis… no? Share your thoughts below!