Gin was pioneered by the Dutch but its preference by the English was beyond anything the Dutch could have imagined. There were legal actions enacted to control and mandate the consumption of gin (check Hogarth's Gin Lane) and it was also called the principle reason for acts of vice and debauchery (excellent)
Made with Juniper berries, for those who have never seen one they look a lot like pepper kernels but slightly larger. Crush one (its sticky) and it releases the sweet aroma of gin. Until my recent fetish for Bourbon, all ive been having for a while has been Gin & Tonic so i was only too happy to comply when i was invited over by Beefeater for a tasting. Since i was in Bandra for a long day anyway, the ride over to The Grand Hyatt was not too trying.
Beefeater uses a near 100 + year old recipe and their distillery is located right in Kennignton next to the Oval, a few metres away from a cousins. Despite, this it's never been my gin of choice as i pretty much grew up with the God of Bombay (Bombay Sapphire) or Tanqueray No 10 if i am feeling flush.
we started off with a nice Gin & Bitter Lemon which is not particularly popular in these shores but deserves to be, especially since Summer is now clearly here.
It was more of an evening with Gin, than an evening with Beefeater, From what i can recall, we tasted Beefeaters, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire and Gordons taste and kudos to Beefeater for being comfortable with doing something like this.
Each Gin has its own recipe and therefore its own unique taste. One thing that i did find peculiar was that some brands sell their Gin with a significantly higher alcohol content outside of the UK. Personal fav was stilll Bombay Sapphire however, dont think ill be switching, found Tanqueray to be the least likeable.
Signed off with a Gin & Tonic, which of course has a deep connection to India. Tonic with its very high quinine content was prescribed to the English soldiers in India to stave off Malaria.
While a good deterrent it was very bitter due to its high quinine content (completely unlike tonic today which has very little quinine and is sweetened) The soldiers mixed the tonic with sugar, water, lime and their gin ration to make it palatable.
FYI, Spain does a bunch of artisan Gin's, so keep an eye out for em (i believe they can be tried the Spanish way in a Balloon glass at Arola at JW Mariott)