If you’ve ever travelled to a country like Japan, you will be well aware of the sheer level of etiquette expected during different situations. From greeting your elders, to sipping sake, to visiting one’s home and even how much soy sauce is appropriate for sushi (yes, that’s a thing). All around the world, through various cultural and social influences, best practices were formed in one way or another to ensure that the ‘proper’ way or ‘right’ way of doing things was the obvious and accepted choice.
Yet after the dare-we-say ‘blunder’ of social media influences, certain etiquettes and traditional practices have flown out the proverbial window, being replaced with a rising trend in abbreviations, meaningless connection, a lack of mindfulness, and less appreciation for practices that take time.
Gin for instance, was once a fantastical drink enjoyed by people in all walks of life, both the commoner and well-rounded ladies and gents, to quaff, laugh and embrace a stylish etiquette made for enjoying life at its fullest, and on occasion offering their upmost prim impersonated gaggle ‘wha wha whaaa…!’
So we’ve decided to take things back to basics, and enjoy gin the way it was always meant to be enjoyed, properly.
- It is called a Gin and Tonic, rather than a G&T
This one is pretty much the internet’s fault, and all their abbreviations. Give this wondrous swill its proper due and call it a Gin and Tonic (if you must have tonic). No one says “I’ll have a straight G on the rocks, thanks.” ‘Nuff said.
- The glass matters
Serve your Gin in a tumbler or ‘rocks’ glass, which allows enough room for ice and a dash of tonic, yet still has a wide opening to waft in all your favourite notes and botanicals. Don’t go for a tall glass, which are made more for fizzes and sweeter drinks where aromatics aren’t as important. And if you enjoy it straight up, opt for a martini glass, which controls the temperature of your gin as there will be no ice (usually shaken or stirred with ice, and then poured into), keeps the ingredients marrying together such as olives, and has a wide rim for inhaling the sweet aromas.
- Adorn your gin
Crafters take such time and effort in crafting wonderful tastes for our palate to experience that when one really takes the time to learn the notes, it becomes a pleasure sensation! Especially with craft gins, take the time to run through the botanicals used and opt to include a dash of fresh ingredients to enhance the natural flavours so meticuliously crafted. A twisted grapefruit rind and rubbed rosemary sprig can enhance the experience, and your appreciation!
- Taste your gin, don’t glug
There is a definite art in tasting gin and as with a fine wine or whiskey, this should be followed as suggested.
Don’t overfill the glass, your gin needs room for air and aromas. Then swirl to release its unique aromas, and smell gentley and with length. What botanicals are you detecting? Think of the most common: citrus, spicy, sweet, earthy, wood & floral.
To further experience the true scents within your gin, you can additionally use the same technique used when drinking grappa. Add a drop of clean gin to your palm, wipe your hands together once (don’t rub) and gently inhale with your hands cupped.
Now for the fun part! Sip your gin as though it was the last sip on earth, and never using a straw. You want lots of oxygen when experiencing gin to bring out its notes and flavours. What botanicals are you detecting now? Sip lightly again and swirl the gin around your mouth, see if there are any new notes such as licourice? Cloves? Cinnamon?
Finally, swallow your gin, breathing out your nose firstly and then through your mouth. This helps aleviate any strong, lingering alcohol while offering a chance to experience any new flavours floating across your palate on the finish, such as spice or aniseed.
When experiencing your next sip, try adding a small amount of water to reduce the alcohol and offers an opportunity for you to pick up on any botanicals you may have missed.