While vodka strives to be tasteless, the mysterious and often misunderstood gin is quite the opposite. Like whisky, it’s a drinker’s drink that’s made to be recognised instead of anonymously downed in a shot glass. In essence, gin is a vodka infused with juniper berries, and right now it’s the hottest drink on the planet.
Its revival is a direct result of the cocktail renaissance currently underway. And the fact is that good bartenders get excited about gin more than any other spirit— especially what’s known as ‘new-style’ gins. These run riot with infusions of citrus, fennel, almond and even capsicum, all of which can make for more interesting cocktail creations.
Victoria Harbour is home to some of the Melbourne’s best bars which are leading the trend – you only have to head down to Tap 831 or Watermark on a Friday evening to hear it loud and clear: gin & tonic is the new black.
And it’s no surprise given the fact Australia has several delicious gins that are turning heads faster than the devil in a blue dress. In particular, Melbourne is arguably Australia’s gin capital and it has at least two local drops. Four Pillars features a mixture of ten ingredients, including whole oranges, cinnamon, Tasmanian pepperberry, cardamom and star anise. Another by the Melbourne Gin Company has been formulated to capture the essence of Melbourne. It has macadamia, sandalwood, honey lemon myrtle and organic navel orange on a base of juniper, coriander seed and rosemary.
If the concept of an Australian gin is a step too far for your palate, try a unique creation from the classic English gin makers. Beefeater gin, which hasn’t altered its London Dry recipe since the late 1800s, now makes Beefeater 24 with tea and a twist of grapefruit. Another is Tanqueray with its white grapefruit, lime and a hint of chamomile-infused Tanqueray 10.
If you’re yet to discover an appreciation for gin, the time is right to give it a try. Figure out the brands you like and consider it in your next cocktail, whether it be a martini, negroni or one of the many drinks that demand the fragrant spirit. Because learning to appreciate gin is quite simply one of life’s grown-up lessons.