How to Taste Gin Like a Professional
Blue Bottle Gin
Like wine, the gin universe is diverse and extensive with a multitude of flavour profiles and styles. Start to identify the botanicals and styles you prefer with our handy guide.
1) Firstly you need to try it neat so the mixer doesn’t mask the flavours.
2) To really appreciate aromas and the taste, try and find a glass with curved sides.
3) Pour your first gin, just a small sample so there is plenty of room in the glass for air and the aromas.
4) Swirl your glass enabling the air to mix with the spirit to help release those aromas.
5) Hold the glass to your nose but don’t sniff too deeply! What aromas can you identify? Citrus, fruit, floral, spice, sweetness and wood notes are all common at this stage.
6) Tasting at last! Sip your gin - can you pick out any flavours that you identified when smelling the gin? Let the gin sit on your tongue and then swirl it round your mouth gently - can you pick out any more flavours now that it is coating the inside of your mouth? Common botanicals to pick out here are citrus, liquorice, cinnamon, aniseed, fruits and herbs. You should always be able to detect juniper which is dry and vaguely peppery. How strong is the juniper?
7) Swallow your gin (or spit if you have a number of gins lined up!), consider what aftertaste there is, has the flavour changed from the first sip? Typically the aftertaste features stronger flavours such as aniseed. Next add some water to your glass, equal part water to your gin sample. This reduces the alcohol content, makes it smoother and can make other botanical flavours more obvious. Sip the gin again, has the flavour changed at all?
So all you need now is some gin to set up your kitchen masterclass. We thoroughly recommend kicking this off with the inimitable Blue Bottle Gin from Guernsey.
If being from beautiful the Channel Islands wasn’t enough to intrigue you, it is an award-winning, artisan gin and real labour of love. It is lovingly crafted in small batches at the Three Fingers Distillery featuring 12 botanicals including gorse flowers picked from the cliffs of Guernsey. Blue Bottle creator, Matt was inspired to try and encapsulate the essence of Guernsey in Blue Bottle when he out was running on the south coast cliffs and the summer air was filled with the tropical scent of gorse flowers which release a heady scent of coconut and vanilla. Try and pick out these aromas in your tasting!
Blue Bottle is a modern gin which is juniper led, but the combination with the other botanicals allow the flavour to develop in the mouth providing a long lasting and evolving taste experience. As is matt’s philosophy this flavour punch needs balance; the luxurious and sweet flavours of local gorse, nutmeg and cubeb pepper are balanced by the citrus notes and relatively high ABV which prevent Blue Bottle becoming too cloying. This is everything a craft gin should be and is always a go-to for us.