Online bartending tutorials, #VirtualHappyHour, cocktail kits delivered to your door; the industry is trying its hardest to make sure we still all get a fix of the drinks we love. Thankfully, while many of our favourite experiences can’t currently go ahead, there are still plenty of ways to make sure you don’t miss out, and Slingsby Gin has come up with another creative way to get your friends together. Their guide on how to host your own virtual tasting party includes advice on which gins to pick, tips for the tasting process itself, and how exactly to go about it all. So, read on to find out how to make yours a success…
You’ll need to do a little forward planning on this one. Start by sending the list of gins for your friends to purchase for the session, as well as the recommended garnishes and mixers for the perfect serve. The six gin flavour profiles, as outlined by the Gin Guild, are Juniper, Citrus, Floral, Fruit, Herbal, and Spice. Wondering exactly which gins to include in your tasting? Check out our suggestions below to fill each flavour profile perfectly:
Citrus: Our classic Slingsby London Dry Gin is a super refreshing, citrus forward option. Expect an initial burst of refreshing citrus and grapefruit giving way to juniper, sweet cicely and Taylors of Harrogate jasmine scented green tea. Pair with Indian tonic, grapefruit peel and fresh blueberries
Floral: Bloom is a delicate gin with floral notes on both the nose and palate. Serve with strawberries and premium tonic
Fruity: Manchester Raspberry Gin is very sweet with a “jammy” aftertaste and some floral notes on the tails. Pair with Indian tonic and raspberries. And of course, Slingsby Rhubarb Gin is another one within this flavour profile. Mix with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and garnish with fresh raspberries
Herbal: Gin Mare is herbaceous through and through and inspired by Mediterranean flavours. Use olives and thyme as the garnishes and serve with Mediterranean tonic
Spiced: For a traditionally spiced option, try Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin. This gin traces a heritage back to ancient spice routes, where intrepid merchants from distant lands would carry exotic spices and botanicals thousands of miles. Mix with Indian tonic and garnish with an orange peel twist
Juniper: Chase GB Extra Dry gin is smooth & full bodied and is perfectly balanced with juniper, spice and citrus. Serve with Indian tonic water and a slice of ginger
Wine glasses are the ideal vessel when tasting gins neat or with a dash of water because they concentrate aromas towards the nose when drinking, in the same way as wine tasting; you could really impress your friends here by telling them about retronasal olfaction, which means that 75% of what we taste comes through our nose. If you don’t own any Copas or Balloon Glasses (often referred to as ‘gin goblets’), wine glasses also work well when trying gins paired with tonics and garnishes.
How to taste
- Swirl the gin around the glass and notice how quickly the line of liquid begins to drip back down into the bowl. If the liquid (referred to as ‘legs’) runs down quickly, this means it contains a lot of light essential oils – citrus, floral – and little residual sugar. If it runs down slowly then it means heavy essential oils are dominant, such as cardamom, anise, liquorice, juniper, and that there is more residual sugar.
- To appreciate some of the aroma, you can pop a finger into the gin within the glass and wipe it on your palm before rubbing your hands together. Cup your hands together and inhale deeply.
- Take a very small sip neat, then swirl the gin over your tongue and swallow. The taste will not be pleasant initially but that is because your body’s natural reaction to the alcohol is for your tongue to buckle and your taste buds to shrivel. After the first sip, your tongue relaxes; a second sip will allow more of the flavours to come through and you can really appreciate the liquid.
- The next stage is to add an equal amount of room temperature water to your gin. This allows the palate and aromas to develop more effectively by breaking apart some of the longer molecule and oil chains, and also means you’ll enjoy the flavour more.
- Ask your friends to score the gin out of 5, with 1 being disliked and 5 absolutely adored! Discuss everyone’s scores after tasting each gin.