How to taste gin like a pro – chez vous
Tasting gin, or any spirit for that matter, is not a dark art. Anyone can do it, and in 2020 honing your gin-tasting skills from home makes for a great party trick - seriously, this is a cheerfully social thing to do online with friends using Zoom, WhatsApp or similar.
STEP 1 - CHOOSE YOUR GINS
Of course, we’d suggest you choose Saint Amans as one of your gins! It is a craft French gin, with a grape alcohol base (most gins are grain-based). You might like to choose one or two craft, small batch gins alongside a couple of well-known supermarket brands, to see what differences you can detect. There are outstanding, good and mediocre gins in both of these categories.
STEP 2 – TASTING GLASSES
Our Saint Amans gin glasses are perfect for making gin look and taste delicious. Spirits glasses are good to have on hand because they concentrate the aromas and taste of the spirit. Number your glasses if you have more than 2 gins to taste – it’s very easy to mix them up as gin is almost always colourless.
STEP 3 - THE POUR
Pour at least 15ml of gin into each tasting glass.
STEP 4 - THE NOSE. NO SWIRL!
Take a lovely deep sniff. No need to swirl like wine, because the aromas from spirits can overpower your nose if you swirl too much!
What do you get? Some typical aromas are likely to be juniper (indispensable for a London Dry like ours), lemon or orange peel, spices such as ginger or pepper, herbs such as thyme or coriander. Some bottles have their ingredients listed. Take a peek to see if what you smell matches the label.
STEP 5 - THE PALATE
Take a sip neat. Then add a little water or tonic to open out the flavour. A light unflavoured tonic is a good choice for a tasting because it doesn’t overpower the gins.
Does the taste match with what you smelt before you tasted? Try and let the spirit tingle over your tongue and your mouth so all your tastebuds are alive to what’s there. Think about what’s left in your mouth after swallowing. Does the taste linger (in a good way) or not? If it does then that’s a good sign of a quality gin.
STEP 6 - CONCLUSIONS
These are very personal, because there are many different gins out there. Case in point, people consistently disagree whether they prefer our Gin Original or our Gin Rosé, and there's only one ingredient's worth of difference! Your favourite may not be the same as your friends - but that's OK, all the more for you. Santé!