It’s Negroni Week! The popular cocktail classic is celebrated around the world! With Negroni, many variations have popped up including the Sbagliato, a fizzy twist which replaces Gin with Sparkling Wine (Sbagliato literally means “messed up” in Italian) and the Boulevardier, with Gin as its base. Of course, there are many more different ways to twist and make a Negroni but for today we will focus on Gin, an integral part of Negroni and many famous class cocktails.
Gin is perhaps the most versatile of the distilled spirits. Sure, whisky is delicious. But gin has a wonderfully complex flavour profile that is unrivalled by any other spirit.
At its core, gin is a neutral spirit that has been flavoured with juniper, and often a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, citrus, and other flavors. Lemon, orange, and lime, as well as coriander, cardamom, and allspice, are all common. Right from the get go, gin is gifted with an almost infinite range of possible flavors and profiles. There’s a gin out there to match your taste. And, for the same reasons, there is a perfect gin for every cocktail, liqueur, and mixer.
The final flavour of gin, unlike most other spirits, relies less on the base spirit or the aging process than it does on the additions made by the distiller during production. Let’s take a stroll through the process of how gin is made:
- Obtaining the neutral spirit.
Some distilleries will actually just source an already-distilled base spirit from another distillery. Others will use leftover base spirit from other liquors they make in-house. And still others will go through the process of creating their own from scratch. As with other liquors, the basic process consists of:
- Creating a mash. Grain, water, and yeast are combined and heated, then allowed to ferment to create a low-alcohol “beer.”
- The “beer” is strained, put into a still, and heated. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the alcohol will turn to vapor while the water and other by-products are left behind, so long as the proper temperature range is maintained. The alcohol vapor condenses and is collected as the pure, neutral spirit.
- Flavouring with botanicals.
Next, herbs, spices, citrus, flowers, and other flavourings are added to the neutral spirit. All gin contains juniper berries but the unique recipe of other botanicals is what makes each gin special. The time and technique vary.
- Final distillation.
Most commercial gins undergo a final distillation at this stage. They’re run through the still one more time, which allows the spirit to retain the flavour of the botanicals, while getting rid of any colour that it has taken on.
As everyone knows, gin is usually enjoyed with some tonic but feel free to give a few of these recipes a try:
- 1 part gin
- 1 part Campari
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- Orange twist
Combine gin, Campari, vermouth in a stirring glass and stir for about 20 – 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Using a vegetable peeler or zester, cut a very thin strip of orange peel (avoid the white pith), squeeze the twist over glass to release its oils, run the peel over the rim of the glass, and drop into drink.
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- Champagne (or other dry sparkling wine)
- Lemon twist
In a shaker with ice, combine gin, syrup, and lemon; shake well. Strain into a chilled flute or coupe and top up with champagne. Serve up with a strip of lemon zest as garnish.
- 3 oz gin
- ½ fresh lime
- Sparkling water
Squeeze lime half into a rocks glass or large wine goblet. Fill glass with ice. Add gin, bitters, and sparkling water. Give it a light lift with a bar spoon to combine.
Should any of you Gin aficionados are looking to organize a gin party, feel free to get in touch with our events bartending crew will be able to craft a menu for you and ensure your Gin addictions are well fed. Have an awesome Negroni week, cheers!