How To Drink Gin?
Gin has remained one of the most popular alcoholic drinks for almost a decade now. There is no end in sight to the hype or the so called renaissance. On the contrary – more and more different brands, bottles and flavours are entering the market. As a result, the juniper based spirit is also reaching people who normally are not really into alcoholic beverages. And so the simple question often arises: How do you actually drink gin?
As trivial as this question may sound to some people, the answer can be very diverse. This is why we would like to share the seven most popular ways to drink gin with you:
- Drinking gin neat
- Drinking gin as a longdrink: Gin & Tonic | Munich Mule
- Mixing gin cocktails
- Gin tastings
- Drinking gin in a bar
- Drinking gin with or without ice
- Drinking gin with friends
1. Drinking gin neat
As good gin often contains many different herbs and spices, so-called botanicals. These botanicls are what ultimatly make up the taste of the gin. In the case of our classic THE DUKE Munich Dry Gin, we use 13 botinicals, to create our Wanderlust gin we use 20. Even a trained palate is usually not able to taste all these different aromas. So if you want to absorb as much of the gin’s aromatic sectrum as possible, you should not mix it with additional flavours such as tonic water. When drunk neat, there is alot for your taste buds to discover.
As with other spirits the following also applies to gin: the intensity of taste and smell is reduced when chilled. So if you want as much flavour as possible ist is best to taste it neat at room temperature. When ice-cooled or on ice, distillates are often more digestible, as the palate and nose are not so overwhelmed. The taste of alcohol is also reduced the colder the gin is drunk.
The correct glass
The choice of glass used to drink gin neat also plays an important role. A reason for this is, that a large part of the flavour is absorbed through the nose. That is why the glasses usually used for pure tasting are also called “nosing glasses”. In the rounded, goblet-shaped glasses, the gin can “breath” and best develope its aroma. However as the “nosing glass” is narrower towards the top, it does not let the gin evaporate quickly. Other glasses that have a similar shape auch as cognac snifters, are also well suited for drinking gin neat.
2. Drinking gin as a longdrink: Gin & Tonic | Munich Mule
Undountedly the most popular way to drink gin is a classic longdrink – and first and foremost the gin & tonic. A long drink generally describes a simple cocktail variant consisting of a spirit and a filler. For a classic gin & tonic approx. 4-6cl of gin (the spirit) is poured into a long drink glass filled with ice and topped up with tonic water (the filler). The drink often has a garnish, like an orange zest for an example.
Another very popular long drink made with gin is the Munich Mule, a variation of the Moscow Mule created by THE DUKE Gin from Munich. For this drink the vodka from the Moscow Mule is simply replaced by gin. The filler used in both long drinks is ginger beer. In addition, 2 cl lime juice can be added to the drink. The classic garnish is a slice of cucumber and a lime wedge or slice.
An important factor for the perfect long drink are the ice cubes. They should not be too small (no crushed ice) and above all you should always use enough ice cubes. It is a common misconception that a drink with a lot of ice will become watered down quicker. A lot of ice in the glass cools the drink down quickly and keeps it cool for a long time. One or two small ice cubes on the other hand melt alot quicker and water down the drink much faster.
The question of the right garnish also often arises when mixing gin & tonic. Here, you should always make sure that the taste of the drink is not changed too much, but that the flavours already present in the gin are underlined. For gins distilled with citrus fruits or peel, for example, an orange or lemon zest is a good choice. For herbal gins, a sprig of rosemary or thyme is often added to the glass. With its strong flavour, cucumber generally overpowers the often delicate aromas of the gin & tonic and should therefore only be used as a garnish by self-confessed cucumber lovers or for gins distilled with cucumber.
By the way, you can also find five tips for the perfect gin and tonic here: THE DUKE Gin & Tonic Recipe.
In addition to the classic Gin & Tonic and the Munich Mule, there are countless other long drinks and long drink variations for drinking gin. This is thanks to the increasing selection of fillers. You can find a selection of perfect long drink bundles with our gin’s in our online shop. Ready-mixed long drinks in can’s are also available with THE DUKE Gin and LION’s Vodka.
The correct glass
You can use different glasses for long drinks – the most common are so-called highball glasses or tumblers. It is important that they have enough capacity for gin, ice cubes and filler. The silhouette of classic long drink glass is usually straight or slightly wider towards the top. Goblets, similar to a large red wine glass, are also popular for gin and tonic, often in combination with a large round ice cube.
3. Mixing gin cocktails
The most complex and diverse way to drink gin is in a cocktail. The range of gin cocktails is endless and new recipes are created every day. In cocktails, a variety of different ingredients are often mixed together. It is not uncommon for several different spirits to be used in the same cocktail. Special bar utensils such as cocktails shakers, strainer, jigger, etc. are usually used to mix the drinks. However there are also very simple cocktails such as the Martini, which is simply made with dry gin, vermouth and optionally orange bitters. Other classic gin cocktails include the Negroni, the Tom Collins and the Gin Sour. You can find a variety of cocktail recipes on our website under drinks.
Due to the knowledge thats is required to prepare cocktails, they are ususally drunk in cocktail bars and are rarely mixed at home. Especially when mixing more complex cocktails, barkeepers like to use a gin with a strong juniper note such as our THE DUKE Rough Gin as its aroma does not get lost even with a multitude of other ingredients. You can get detailed insights into mixology, including recipes for remixing in our tales on our website.
The correct glass
Like cocktails, cocktail glasses come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. So-called cocktail bowls (also called coupettes) are common, but highball glasses or tumblers are also used for cocktails. The choice of glass also depends on the type of cocktail. For example, there are also special martini glasses. But stone mugs, which are usually associated with Bavarian beer, are also perfect for some drinks thanks to their cooling properties.
4. Gin Tastings
As the popularity of gin has grown, so has the number of gins on the market. According to spirit regulations, there are about 120 different botaniclas that may be used for the gin production. Next to the juniper berry that unites them all, the range of different flavours is enormous. Different production methods and alcohol contens also further expand the gin spectrum. In addition to theoretical knowledge about the various botanicals and different types of gin, there is often only one way to help find the right gin for yourself: Gin tastings! In gin tastings, different gins are tasted and compared to eachother with an expert helping you. Generally the gins are tried neat but sometimes even as a long drink. This gives you the opportunity to judge different types and flavours of gin in direct comparison and then choose your personal favorite. In addition to our distillery tours, we also offer online gin tastings in which we answer all questions about gin – including how to drink gin.
5. Drinking gin in a bar
Many people know this situation: You come into a well-stocked bar and want to order a drink. You open the menu and… you are completely overwhelmed. All kinds of drinks in all kinds of categories with names you’ve never heard before. “Well, I’ll just have a classic gin & tonic”, you think to yourself – and then you’re faced with the next hurdle. Which of the many gins is the right one and which tonic water goes with it? There are exactly three ways to proceed: 1. you’ve already studied gin a little and know at least a few of the brands on the menu and opt for something you’ve already tried and tested. 2. get friendly advice from the bartender and trust their expertise. 3. you order a gin on the off-chance (maybe because it has a nice name).
Cocktails are generally served ready-mixed, but in many gin and cocktail bars the ingredients for long drinks are served separately, i.e. you get a glass with ice cubes, a bottle of tonic and a (nosing) glass with the chosen gin. This is not malice or laziness on the part of the bartender, but is intended to give the guest the opportunity to taste the gin pure before mixing it with the filler. This also gives you the opportunity to influence the mixing ratio of the long drink yourself. Basically, you should not be afraid to ask the bar team for recommendations or to ask for clarifications. They are happy to help you have a GINfull evening.
6. Drinking gin with or without ice
The question of how to drink gin is often accompanied by the question “With ice or without? The answer depends on whether you drink gin neat or not.
The general rule is that a long drink should always be served with ice, lots of ice. Ice cubes are also added to most other cocktails, or they are at least shaken with ice during preparation so that the drink can be served ice-cold.
If you drink gin straight, it depends on how intense the flavour of the gin is. Just read point 1 again: Drinking gin neat.
7. Drinking with with friends
No matter what gin, it always tastes best with the right people. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chatting away at a self-organised gin tasting with friends or simply enjoying a gin & tonic after work or at the weekend. When a friend prepares a fresh drink with love, it usually tastes a little better because you’re in good company. So why not toast with your loved ones more often – to friendship, to having each other and to a GINtastic life!
In conclusion, one can say: In the end, personal taste and one’s own preferences decide how one drinks gin. You cannot and should not tell anyone how or what to drink. Because it is neither a “crime” to mix a high-quality gin into a drink, nor is it a wrong not to like gin at all. It is a matter of taste and therefore the only correct answer to the question is how you drink gin: The way it tastes best.
And no matter how delicious the gin and no matter how thirsty, gin – like any other alcohol – should always be drunk in moderation. A glass of good gin should always be enjoyed.