I love the idea of gin and tonic, I really do. It's always seemed such a classy, grown-up drink - probably because it's what my mother always drank. But as an adult, I just can't get on board. It's not the gin, actually, that gives me problems - it's the tonic. I hate tonic.
Gin isn't my favourite spirit either - I'm much more of a vodka or rum girl, but I don't mind it, and so when I was invited to a gin tasting at Nicholson's Pubs recently, I thought it would be a good chance to educate myself and maybe find the gin of my dreams. The gin tasting was a collaboration with Olivia Williams, author of Gin, Glorious Gin - a great present for any gin loving friends you might have. I've just started reading it and it's really interesting. The event was a chance to find out a little about the history of gin, how it fits into the Nicholson’s story and learn more from the distillers themselves about the wide variety of gins on offer.
We listened to a talk on each of the gins and then tried them - the first was Adnam's Copper House Gin. Straight gin is a bit too strong for me, but even though the strength of the alcohol, I could really taste the citrus notes - Adnam's has notes of juniper alongside sweet orange and hibiscus, don't you know. I'd quite like to give it a go with some bitter lemon, next, which I think would really complement the orange flavour.
Next up was Bombay Sapphire. NOT a fan. Despite learning about its floral nose and spicy finish... it just tasted like pure alcohol. Here's where I should point out that a gin tasting isn't like a wine tasting - you shouldn't feel obligated to finish the glass. I mean, plenty of people did, but when it's a strong spirit (and you already have a couple of glasses of wine in you) then a few sips is perfectly respectable. Took me a little while to realise that.
We then tried Williams GB Extra Dry Gin from Chase Distillery which was fine, it just didn't leave much of an impression on me. Because the final gin was Ophir, which I LOVED. It's really unusual, packed with spices to give it Asian flavours, such as cumin and cardamon. We were given ginger ale to go with it, which fit it perfectly, but even straight, it was delicious. I haven't managed to find a full sized bottle yet, but when I do it's going to become my drink of choice, along with a wedge of lime.