Gin and Gin Based Cocktails
For practical purposes this means the London Dry Gin type, made all over the world, but generally conceded to be at its finest when the production of a handful of London-based firms of some antiquity; the oldest dates from 1740. Dry Gin evolved from Unsweetened Gin, brought in about 100 years ago in contrast to sugary cordial ‘Hollands’ or ‘Old Tom’. Gins vary greatly in taste — and often in quality.
There are many practical short cuts to making Gin. At its best it will be based on a pure neutral spirit. This spirit will be rectified (re-distilled) which further purifies it and this may be why that connoisseur of good living, the late Andre Simon, classified Gin as ‘the purest of all spirits’. This rectified spirit is flavoured by various methods with salubrious juniper. This is essential to all true Gin: the name is a corruption of the old Dutch Genever (Geneva) — juniper. Oil of juniper has long been valued medicinally. Another ingredient is coriander, and there are further botanical ingredients in use; their numbers and proportions form the closely guarded formulae of the distillers.
Gin is now in universal use, but only comparatively lately has it become respectable and a drink for women as well as men. In its earlier history Gin was associated with working-class drunkeness and, especially in London, was imbibed in vast quantities — often illicitly distilled. Perhaps the coming of the Cocktail Age (a-off from Prohibition in the USA) did as much as anything to make Gin fashionable as opposed to popular.
The other main Gin, once much drunk in England, is Dutch (Geneva) Gin. This is much more pungent than London Dry Gin and is for drinking chilled and straight. Plymouth Gin, a famous proprietary brand from that city, has a particular association with Pink Gin (Gin with a touch of Angostura).
CLASSIC COCKTAILS BASED ON GIN
Most of the ‘classic’ cocktails that have stood the test of time were based on Dry Gin.
2 Gin; ¼ Dry Vermouth (or less in modern use). Stir. Strain. Squeeze lemon rind over, not immersing. Olive optional.
½ Gin; ¼ each Sweet and Dry Vermouth; juice of ¼ orange. Shake. Strain.
1 Gin; ½ Grenadine syrup; juice ½ lemon; white of 1 egg. Shake briskly. Strain.
As Dry Martini but with a cocktail onion, instead of an olive.
Half-and-half Gin and lime juice cordial. Stirred, shaken, ‘on the rocks’ with or without splash soda.
1 Gin; juice1/2 lemon; ½ tablespoon powdered sugar. Shake. Strain. Add soda.
2 Gin ‘on the rocks’; ½ teaspoon Grenadine; juice ½ lemon which is then crushed into drink. (Rickeys may be made with other spirits).
Juice 1 lemon; heaped teaspoon sugar; 2 Gin; dash Angostura; ‘on the rocks’ with a little water.
Hang spiral of lemon peel in tall glass; 2 Gin (or other spirit); top with Dry Ginger Ale.
2 Gin; 1 each Sweet Vermouth and Campari ‘on the rocks’; add soda, slice orange.
1 Gin ‘on the rocks’; ½ each lemon juice and Kummel.
Singapore Gin Sling
2 Gin; juice 1 lemon; heaped teaspoon sugar. Mix in tall glass; add soda, 1/2 each Cointreau and Cherry Brandy.
Stir. Slice lemon. Straws.
As Gin Sling, but soda instead of water.
½ Gin; ¼ each lemon juice and Cointreau; teaspoon egg white (optional). Shake.
1 each Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Dr Vermouth. Mix. Strain.