Mark every second Saturday of June for the rest of your lives as Gin Day
I had my first sip of alcohol when I was high school (sorry, mom). Back then, the only things we could afford—and get our hands on—were cheap rum and vodka. When college came around the corner, there were break times that were filled in by drinks over card games. As part of the working force, my friends and I could finally budget a little more exploration into the world of alcohol.
I’ve since found that I’m more appreciative of the clear-colored choices. Tequila’s my weapon of choice when it comes to taking shots, but vodka’s always my #1 when served on the rocks or mixed in with something sweet.
First, a little history
Gin’s been around forever, but there’s been a boom of gin consumption in the Filipino market. Largely due to the fact that entry-level manufacturers are shining, Filipinos are actually credited as one of the biggest consumers of gin. In 2017, the market was values at USD597 million—and we’re a big part of that!
In 2009, a genius named Scotsman Neil Houston started Gin Day. The goal, naturally, was to bring lovers of the drink together in celebration every second Saturday of June.
Now let’s get to the good stuff
Gin is an art form, but it doesn’t take an attuned palette to see the differences. And if you, like me, have thought all gin has relatively tasted the same, then you just need to expand your horizons.
Martin Miller’s Gin
Quite traditional in its production, Martin Miller’s is the choice for all purists. Its pot distilled using two separate distillations with a great balance of citrus and juniper. Its then blended to a bottling strength of 40 percent ABV (!!) with Icelandic Spring Water.
It tastes strong, albeit a little delicate and feminine, too. Serve it with a quartered strawberry, some tonic and crack of black pepper.
The Madame gin in the roster of Del Professore adds layers of sweetness to the traditional gin—with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and wild rose.
The darker color of the Madame gives you a look into what you’re about to drink. It’s spicy but the alcohol itself is weaker and subtler. A little bit of orange and tonic rounds it all up though.
ARC Botanical Gin
Hello, local produce.
ARC is handcrafted from a total of 28 botanicals, 22 of which are sourced and foraged across the Philippines. Get ready to taste some dalandan, calmansi, mango, Sagada oranges, pomelo and even sampaguita in there, fam.
This one is definitely aromatic and pinches the tongue when taken on its own. It’s also a little more contemporary and is thereby for the more adventurous of us. Serve it up with a fresh slice of dalandan and mix in some tonic water and you are good to go.
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A little warning
If you plan to drink gin neat, get ready for something strong. A whiff of the stuff is enough to tickle your nose and let’s just say that there’s no way I could have downed the few sips given to me.
Call me weak, but I’ll have some tonic (and a few choice botanicals) over a plain-and-simple gin, any day.
Art Alexandra Lara