How to taste gin like a pro – chez vous
April 5th 2020:
Here is our guide to hosting your own gin-tasting event at home. You can also make this work online with friends using Zoom, WhatsApp or similar. If you are a gin lover, you may already have quite a healthy gin collection. Staying home, as we are all doing these days, allows you to hone your gin tasting skills and taste buds even more – give it a try! A structured gin tasting is an excellent way to expand your understanding of the various gin flavour profiles out there; how to identify them, enjoy them, mix them, and - most importantly - to find out which gins you like the best and why. Remember – the more tastings you do, the better you get. Tasting gins or any spirits is not a dark art. Anyone can do it. No need to feel timid – or show off - about what you smell or taste, just go with it and relax. You don’t have to judge or feel judged – this is about your own experience and enjoyment.
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, made in small batches to an exacting recipe, using only natural and organic ingredients. 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 new 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. Once you get to the tasting, taste it neat first. Then add a small amount of water or tonic to help bring out the aromas and flavours. A light unflavoured tonic is a good choice for a tasting because it doesn’t overpower the gins.
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? Light/intense aroma? Can you smell juniper, citrus, fruits, flowers, spices? If so which ones? Try to get as precise as you can with the types of fruit or flowers that you can detect in the gin. Some typical aromas are likely to be juniper, 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. 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 and your favourite may not be the same as your friends. But that’s ok. Hope you enjoyed the experience!