Beginners guide to gin tasting

Mr Foggs gin

Alright legends, let’s dive into the delightful world of gin. Gin’s roots date back to the 11th century, where some crafty European monks and alchemists were concocting it as a medicinal elixir. The first recorded gin, “Jenever,” hails from the Netherlands, a juniper-infused delight still popular today.

So what’s in a gin? Essentially, it’s a distilled alcohol infused with juniper berries and a whole bunch of botanicals. Typically, it’s brewed from a grain base like wheat or barley, which kicks off with fermentation and then distillation. But remember, for anything to be called gin, juniper has to be the boss. It’s usually backed up by a posse of other flavours like citrus, berries, herbs, and spices. This brilliant mix has put gin on the map, making it a global fave.

If you’re into your G&Ts and want to take it to the next level, stick with me. I’m the head mixologist at Cardea Bar, a hidden speakeasy in Barangaroo. I’ve been slinging cocktails for a decade now, and we run gin masterclasses for groups of ten or more. Perfect for birthdays, bucks, or hens dos, these interactive sessions come with canapés and nibbles. You’ll be mixing and sipping on a classic gin cocktail and three gin and tonic pairings with various botanicals.

cardea george bartender cocktails

Now, the beauty of gin is in its variety — there’s a flavour profile for just about everyone. Here’s how to sip gin like a pro:

Tips for sipping gin like an expert

  1. Start with the Nose

Give your gin a good sniff. You can add a drop of tonic or soda water to kickstart the aromas. Unlike wine, no need to swirl. Inhale deeply and pick out those different aromatics.

  1. Take Small Sips, Neat

Take a small neat sip, letting the gin coat your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. Focus on the taste and texture, noting the juniper, and flavours like rosemary, coriander, or citrus.

  1. Notice the Finish

A top-notch gin should have a complex, lingering finish. See how long those flavours stick around.

As you taste different gins, you’ll start to pick out the ones that tickle your fancy.

5 Australian Gins to Try Now

  1. Applewood Gin

From the Adelaide Hills, this gin gives you a unique taste of Aussie botanicals.

  1. Four Pillars Green Apple and Rhubarb Gin

A refreshing blend from Four Pillars, with crisp apple and tangy rhubarb.

  1. Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin

A classic dry gin with a modern twist, known for its well-balanced botanicals.

  1. Darling Distillery Coffee Gin

For a bold flavour, try this gin infused with rich coffee notes.

  1. Prohibition Liquor Co Juniperus Gin

A juniper-forward gin with a robust flavour, perfect for the purists.

Ready to elevate your gin game? Get tasting and find your favourites!