Somebody asked me recently if I thought there was any mileage in a particular variety of gin they were thinking about producing. Obviously there’s some commitment and expense involved in producing a gin of any description, so I gave it some consideration!
So gin appears to have been the new ‘in thing’ for the last couple of years, which given the fact that it’s one of the oldest and most traditional of beverages out there, is kind of ironic. Barely a week goes by without a new ‘micro-gin’ appearing , each one purporting to have the purest process and ultimate mix of botanicals to tempt you to their door. Novelty flavours adorn our shelves, some almost too preposterous to contemplate, but actually, so easy to drink. And the merchandisers have jumped on the band wagon as well! Shopping bags, aprons, door plaques all suggesting that gin is the lifestyle drink of our time! That most classic of British cocktails has become a modern trend that shows no sign of slowing down. (And yes, I know the Dutch invented it!)
Ably assisted by the equally meteoric rise of the tonic market undoubtedly pioneered by the remarkable story of Fever Tree tonic, the gin market continues to spew previously unimaginable combinations claiming to be ‘gin and tonic’. Rhubarb gin and ginger tonic, cardamon gin and Mediterranean tonic, coconut gin and elderflower tonic..the list goes on!
And the bi-products don’t stop there! An off the cuff quip on Facebook about ‘gin and crisps for tea’ when my husband was away has somehow marked me down as a hardened gin-drinker, an expert in the field! The reality was that my most daring deviation from a simple Gordon’s and tonic prior to that, had been one of my favourite product innovations – gin in a tin! For a busy mum, there is no sweeter thing than a perfectly chilled version of a perfectly mixed G&T that requires nothing more than a pull of a ring and a pour over ice! And portable too for those emergencies/picnic opportunities.
Friends quickly introduced me to the joys of Bombay Sapphire – and there my journey through the magic Gin-dom began! Every single ‘gin-ovation’ on the market has been tagged on my Facebook page – sorbets, crisps, cakes, tarts, face scrubs, lip balms, you name it! I’ve even had a gin and tonic cake baked for me.
I am naturally very grateful, and can boast a fabulous collection of gins on my shelf, and and a merchandise collection I’m proud of.
But for me, it has increasingly become about the aesthetics! The packaging can outweigh the flavour when it comes to the look of that gin shelf, and for any prospective gin producer, I think that is the thing to invest as much time and energy into, as the taste of the stuff itself.
A gin shelf really can be a thing of beauty these days. With gin brands old, micro and new bringing in the big boys of branding to perfect their visual image!
I mean, who doesn’t love a Silent Pool bottle – can anyone bear to put one in the bin? It is a thing of design brilliance, evoking not only the unique colour of the ‘Silent Pool’ in the Surrey Hills from which it is hails, but also the turquoise of an Asian sea across which gin drinkers of yesteryear must have surely gazed with their sundowner in hand!
Brighton, Monkey and Portobello gins rank highly for me in their design beauty giving us a taste of vintage glamour, with the Hoxtons, the Pinksters and the Opi adding to the wild and whacky both in bottle design and flavour.
Of course, images like these are social media gold, and Instagram, or ‘Gin-stagram’ as I like to call it have done their part to encourage the gin revolution, and as Spring turns to Summer I can only imagine the frequency with which #gin will appear in our feeds in some form or another! The rise of the gin craze in my opinion is far from over. A humble gin and tonic has become an art form, and a mouth watering one at that. And all I can really say is, I’ll drink to that!