A beginner’s guide to gin

Gin & Tonic   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

No feeling can match a swig of chilled gin and tonic as it trickles down the throat, after a long day at work (from home). Gin is a comfort drink for many. And yes, this is a week that warrants an ode to the drink that has many times made me yell, rather precociously after a couple of martinis, “I can sense notes of juniper!” As we embrace another World Gin Day this Saturday, here is a walk-through for the uninitiated and beginners (like yours, truly). Read on, to widen your familiarity beyond the classic G&T.

Originally created by the Dutch, gin, which belongs to the family of white spirits, is a flavourful blend of juniper berries and other botanicals. The most readily used botanicals are coriander, citrus, angelica root and flowers. “It usually has an ABV between 38% and 50%. This refers to the amount of alcohol in the spirit, so there is around 50% to 60% demineralised water in a bottle too,” says Evonne Eadie, Diageo Reserve brand ambassador. The spirit is now distilled all over the world and has been gaining popularity among millennials especially, says Rishi Walli, head of marketing at Beam Suntory India. And, why is that? “It has a natural aromatic composition and also has a low calorie count relative to beer and wine,” Rishi continues.

  • Bright and zesty, the Southside is the go-to for a Sunday brunch, Friday night drinks or even sundowners. A pop of citrus and fresh mint compliments Tanqueray perfectly.
  • Ingredients
  • 60ml Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • 30ml Fresh lime juice
  • 15ml Sugar syrup
  • 8 Mint leaves
  • Method
  • Add all ingredients to a shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint


Southside   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

There are three main types of gin: London Dry, distilled, and compounded.

The London Dry gin has the strictest regulations. It must start as a highly rectified spirit and be flavoured with botanicals through distillation. It cannot have any additional flavours added after distillation. “Distilled gin, on the other hand, follows the same production as London Dry Gin, but allows for flavours to be added after distillation. You may need to do this if your chosen botanical will not process well in a heated alcohol, for example a delicate flower,” Evonne explains. Compounded gin does not require distillation, so the flavours are added directly into the highly rectified spirit.

What makes gin stand out is its ability to give out bold flavours without the need for ageing. Evonne says that the drink essentially begins its life as a high-proof vodka, which is then distilled with botanical flavours — this could explain why gin is commonly mistaken for vodka. “They are both un-aged spirits and therefore clear, they look identical and could be confused on sight or when used in cocktails. Though, if you are tasting or nosing the spirit itself, you will easily notice a difference with the aromatics and flavours,” she adds.

The fact that it is easier on the throat makes it the more preferred drink at brunch or for a refreshing hot afternoon break. “The flavour profiles it provides, give it a greater advantage to create versatile cocktails, ranging from a classic Gin & Tonic to a Negroni with a twist or a Gin Sour,” says Rishi.

All said and done, the G&T still remains a crowd favourite — a serve that has only two ingredients, yet packs intense flavours. However, choosing a tonic to suit should be a carefully calculated process: “It’s a great idea to look at the botanicals used in the gin, then choose a tonic to suit. For example, Tanqueray No. Ten uses whole fruit citrus in distillation, so I like to pair it with citrus-driven tonic water, and garnish with some pink grapefruit for an added zesty burst,” adds Evonne. The spirit also manages to shine in heavier, spirit-forward cocktails like a martini.

Roku Perfect Serve

Roku Perfect Serve   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Roku Perfect Serve, a recipe:

For making this drink, Roku gin, tonic water and six strands of ginger are all you need.


30 ml Roku, 120 ml Tonic


    Ginger sticks, as per your preference.


      Add all ingredients and build. Serve over cubed ice in a highball glass and finally, garnish with ginger slices.

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      Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 10:59:18 AM |

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