According to the seasonal calendar of Kaiser Penguin, summer begins when the temperature hits a balmy 60° F, and I see no room to argue, because with warmer weather comes gin and tonics.
Some would argue that drinks belong with their season. And although there are no hard-fast rules when it comes to matching drinks like this, I think I can safely remove gin and tonics from the blistering cold of winter. I must admit, I did attempt a few throughout the yuletide season, and although they were tasty, they provided nowhere the near crisp enjoyment that I remembered from sipping them while grilling skirt steak the previous summer.
So the day that I wiped away the first bead of sweat from my brow, I rushed in to make my a gin and tonic. It was icy juniper bliss. What gin did I use, you ask?
Well, a gin that spawned the following tasting. I was assisted in my tasting by two gin aficionados and a novice.
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.
Quintessential – Strangely flowery – this gin made what tasted little to nothing like an actual gin and tonic. It was subtle and intriguing, but any aroma or taste of juniper was completely missing. I would consider the juniperiness of a gin and tonic one of the key features to look for, and Quintessential fell way short. Most likely due to the unique characteristics of Quintessential, it rated fairly high with our testers.
Seagrams’ – The juniper was much stronger here, but something about this drink tasted fake. You know, like cherry flavored candy or butter flavored popcorn. Not bad, but not a staple I’d like in my liquor cabinet.
Plymouth – So subtle, so mild, and very low on the juniper quotient. But something about it piqued my interest. I know Plymouth is a great gin for martinis and other cocktails, but in a gin and tonic, it was just missing something. Everyone left this drink wondering what was missing but not able to put their finger on it.
Gordon’s – Along with the intense juniper aroma comes that of pure alcohol, and as much can be said about the taste. One of our tasters found this to be his favorite, but most shyed away in favor of other gins.
Tanqueray – Juniper flavor at its best. This makes a happy gin and tonic. Everything about Tanqueray just begs to be part of the drink, and this showed in the scoring of the tasters.
You may be asking yourself why we didn’t test Beefeater, Tanqueray 10, Sapphire, Bombay, Boodles, Hendrick’s, etc. And the answer is palette fatigue… or maybe drunkeness. Though, we plan on tasting these and other gins in the near future.
I’d be very interested to hear what other gins you’d like us to test in our next gin and tonic tasting. In addition, give us your own rankings for the gins we tasted this time.