Unlocking the World of Highclere Castle Gin: A Gin for All Seasons
The Influence of Region and Tradition
In our ever-shrinking global society, drinking is still strangely a tribal and regionally influenced activity. One area’s highball is another area’s wash drink. The names, customs, and thoughts about alcohol trend differently depending on where you are.
Dueling Voices of the Gin Experience
However, I have heard two things while serving gin across the entire United States. The first one is: I had a bad experience with gin in college and have never tried it again.” The second is, “Wow, I thought I wasn’t a gin fan, but THIS is delicious!” A resounding epiphany is that a spirit blended into a balanced cocktail with pleasing flavors is preferable to sneaking a bottle out of our parent’s liquor cabinet and swigging until dizzy.
I have become a gin foot soldier, and my eternal battle cry is, “You like gin, whether you know it or not!
Dispelling Gin Misconceptions
Full disclosure: if you have found this blog, chances are higher that you already enjoy this most royal and noble spirit. I would also venture to say that you do a bit of entertaining now and then. Regarding group gatherings, we often shy away from spirits like gin and default to vodka, which we believe will be the most crowd-pleasing and “safe.” In your very own abode, I assert that you can become a gin evangelist and turn your guests into botanical believers.
Gin’s Unique Essence
Gin is often misunderstood at its core, so for a quick review, head to our “What is gin?” blog. In a sentence, it is simply neutral grain spirit infused meticulously with botanicals. Many snarky bartenders (myself included) have said, “My favorite flavor of vodka is gin!” If you enjoy vodka (especially citrus vodka), chances are overwhelmingly high that you will be entranced with your first craft-based gin cocktail experience. The London Dry style is especially friendly to vodka drinkers as it contains no added sugar, and the botanicals all conspire into a symphony of flavor that finishes dry and clean. A gin and tonic is wonderful, but I suggest that the vodka/soda drinker experiment with a Gin and Club. The flavor lift given by gin’s botanicals does something to the palate before a meal and during the first courses. It’s a great alternative to champagne, and a French 75 Cocktail (gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup) will turn heads at your next brunch soiree.
Gin: A Mixologist’s Best Friend
As a mixologist, gin is the spirit that enables the cocktailer to grasp the alchemy that goes into drink making. I don’t know the exact science, but I know that gin + acidity + sweetness = something magical. While other spirits mix well with ingredients, gin makes a fifth dimension of flavor appear. It changes the taste of the other components in a way that I have not seen when mixing rum or whiskey. A White Lady (gin, lemon juice, and orange liqueur such as Cointreau, invented in London, no less) will enrapture the margarita fan. The blanco tequila lover will be a great candidate for gin beverages, as they’re both spirits with boldness that finish cleanly.
Embracing Gin’s Versatility
This final claim will be the boldest and most contested, but I stand by it. With Highclere Castle Gin in particular, there is much potential for sipping and enjoying simply on the rocks. I attest that a whiskey lover will find much value in our gin specifically. After Highclere Castle Gin is distilled, it is infused with heirloom oats. When I first learned this, skepticism overtook my entire soul. Why on earth would anyone blend gin with oats? Then I had my first taste on the rocks and felt that silky, supple liquid cross my palate. I instantly became a true believer. The oat blending increases the viscosity and body of the liquid, and the dilution with ice gives birth to millions of fusel oils that run wild and free through your glass- you can see them do their work when a drop of water is added to 2 ounces of gin. The old-fashioned and Manhattan lover must try the Hanky Panky (another cocktail invented in London and done so by a female mixologist in the early 20th century) 1.5 ounces each of Highclere Castle Gin and Sweet Vermouth, along with a few drops of bitter Fernet Branca Liqueur will produce a robust cocktail with deep and dark notes.
A Spirit for Every Palate
I leave you with the thought that gin is genuinely a spirit for all seasons and every palette. There are myriad styles and expressions, but the classic London Dry category is the best place to start. Whether you or your guests love a vodka soda, crave a margarita, or sip an old-fashioned, there is a gin cocktail that will not only fit the bill but up the ante.