Gin Cocktails and Rum Cocktails
Gin and Rum Based Cocktails
Gin for Gin Cocktails
Gin is a spirit distilled from grain and flavoured with juniper berries, herbs and spices. These usually include angelica, cardamom, coriander and orris root, but each distillery keeps its own recipe secret.
It was invented by a Dutch Professor of Medicine in the 17th century and valued as a diuretic and cure. It also provided the original ‘Dutch courage’ for soldiers in the Netherlands who were given a tot before battle. When gin was imported into Britain it quickly became a very popular (and cheap) drink and, by the late 18th century, gin shops were the scandal of every city.
It took many years for gin to recover a respectable reputation and its rise in popularity this century goes hand-in-hand with the story of the cocktail. Aromatic, colourless and with a delicate, dry taste, gin is a ‘natural’ for combining with fruit juices, liqueurs and vermouth. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is still probably the preferred base for cocktails, in spite of the increasing popularity of vodka.
There are three types of gin. London gin is the most common and is drier and less aromatic than Plymouth gin. Dutch gin, known as Hollands or Genever, is quite different from these and is usually drunk neat and very cold, and it is really not suitable for gin cocktails.
Rum for Rum Cocktails
There are three basic types of rum. Dark rum, which comes mainly from Martinique and Jamaica, is sweet and heavy-bodied; it is ideal for punches. Light rum, from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Barbados (among many other places), is paler, drier and lighter in body; it is excellent for making rum cocktails. (There are also many ‘in-between’ rums, such as Trinidad, which is medium light.) White rum, usually from Puerto Rico or Martinique, also forms the basis of many cocktails, of which Cuba Libre and Daiquiri are probably the most famous.
Rum is an extraordinarily versatile base for mixed drinks. It combines especially well with fruit, fruit juices and fruit liqueurs. Perhaps surprisingly, in spite of having its own strong flavour, it also blends beautifully with other liqueurs creating delicious rum cocktails.