Thursday, December 10, 2009

holiday cheer: favorite gins

I try not to stray from gardening, house, or trial topics here, but my gardener/landscaper friend Jackie and I were comparing cocktail notes yesterday and she thought my gin comparison information was blog-worthy, so here goes.

Husband Kurt is actually the bigger gin fan, but recently he put me to a blind taste test and it turned out my favorites were the same as his. Junipero, from Anchor Distilling, a small batch distillery in San Francisco, is our favorite. Junipero is a very strong, yet traditional dry gin with complex herbal/botanical/citrus notes.

Number two is the "earthy" gin, Plymouth (England), but I don't have any to photograph. Plymouth is best for a Bloody Mary and, for some, the Paez. There is also Plymouth Navy Strength for those who need to light gunpowder.

Number three is Miller's (England/Iceland), which is similar to Junipero but less complex and maybe better for mixed drinks.

Number four is Hendricks (Scotland), which is lighter, with cucumber and lots more floral notes--a little "girly." Citadelle (France) is probably our number four (very similar to Hendricks but less cucumber), but I don't have a photograph of that either.

Kurt really enjoys a good martini after a day at work, so the choice of dry vermouth is particularly important. Vya (Quady Winery, Madera, California) vermouth is so tasty and smooth that we occasionally drink it straight on ice or mixed half and half with Vya's sweet vermouth. Really, it's that good!

I know many people think Bombay Sapphire is the bomb, but I think it's rot gut. I know, tell us how you really feel, Iris. Cheers!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these gin or vermouth companies and have not received anything from any of them for free. I have bought all of the products listed on my own.


Caroline said...

Some people think Jose Cuervo is a good tequila, too, ha! I don't think this post strays too far from gardening. After all, you mentioned juniper. And botanical notes! Admittedly, I prefer vodka to gin, but there's few things more refreshing than a gin and tonic in the dog days of summer.

Iris said...

Caroline--Thanks for making the juniper connection. (Admittedly, a stretch...)

vertie said...

Citadelle has been our favorite since someone recommended it to my husband a few years ago. But when I'm back to drinking, I'd like to try a few of your recommendations. My dad, who has drunk martinis for 50 years now, swears by Boissiere vermouth. I mainly use it now in place of white wine when cooking.

Kathleen said...

Now I feel like a POOR PERSON because I have never tried any of these gins!

Iris said...

vertie--I've never heard of Boissiere. I want to try it! I'll be curious to hear what you think of any of these gins someday.

Kathleen--I guess these gins are all considered "premium", but I think they're comparable cost-wise to the more popular/worse Tanqueray or Bombay. I'll make you a martini next time you're in my neck of the woods!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I've not found a gin I like and am happy to get to know my berries better! I think drinking goes hand in hand with it all comes from plants! My favorite plant to drink is cactus!

Iris said...

Cheryl--I used to think I hated gin until I tasted some of these small-batch "boutique" gins! Lately, my favorite affordable (100 percent agave) tequila is Lunazul (white or reposado).