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Gin: my new hobby

At the age of 37 I've suddenly realized that I just love gin. I now find the Bees Knees is exactly that. Even a lukewarm gimlet makes me happier than a cold beer, and despite being happily monogamous I get the odd craving for a nice White Lady at a bar.

So I decided to start learning about other gin brands besides Bombay Sapphire and Beefeater, the two I'm most familiar with. First up, a bottle of Plymouth. Very tasty, herbal, and totally different from both BombSaph and Beefeater. But it was so mild! My martini olive positively kicked the Plymouth's ass and had it begging for mercy, and not in a good way.

This raises three questions for the more experienced gin drinkers:

1. is there an adjustment to the Plymouth martini that I should try (obv. I won't repeat the olive bombs)?

2. are there cocktails that play to Plymouth's strengths?

3. other than Bombay Sapphire (which one poster likened to "molten plastic" I think), is there a gin with strong alcohol notes that is good to drink? A take-no-prisoners gin that will smack you upside the head and leave scorch marks from your teeth to your duodenum, that is the kind of gin I'm talking about.

Looking forward to your tasting suggestions.

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  1. While Plymouth is my hands-down favorite gin, you might want to give Junípero a try. It's a gin made by the Anchor Steam brewery and is a bit more agressive than Plymouth. You can find Junípero at Schneider's near Union Station. Still, I prefer Plymouth. However, I drink my martinis extra dry with a lemon twist. Olives seem to always dominate the flavor, regardless of the brand of gin used, so I skip them all together.

    4 Replies
    1. re: FlaHopper

      You must try Hendrick's.....a little difficult to find (BevMo has it, if your area has these outlets) - it has a mellow mouth feel, a slightly floral scent or nose, and a distinctly soft, yet definitely powerful gin taste. It is a fabulous gin - and I think replaced the Sapphire as my favorite. At least for now.

      1. re: Alice Letseat

        Yah, I'm a big fan of Hendrick's. Not only is it a high quality gin, but it's from Scotland. I'm also keen on Sapphire, which was my go-to gin until I was turned on to Plymouth.

      2. re: FlaHopper

        So far so good ... stopped by Schneider's for the first time on my way home (it's on my bike route ... who knew?) and picked up a bottle of Junipero. Haven't tried a Junipero martini yet but it sure tasted great with tonic on a warm day!

        As for the Plymouths martini, apparently I was going about it completely wrong. I was trying like the plague to avoid any ice melt, and now I read that it actually increases the gin flavor to have some water in there. Plymouths was much improved with 60 secs. of stirring rather than a quick shake, and orange bitters instead of the olive. Now if I could just get the orange bitters to float, rather than sink to the bottom ...

        Onward to the other 10 suggestions on this thread. Please somebody tell my office I'll be back sometime in June.

        1. re: fieryredhead

          Stirring the martini also improves the appearance of the drink, because you won't introduce all those broken ice crystals and water, which makes the drink cloudy. Again, I'd ditch the bitters and go with a lemon or orange twist, but if they're to you're liking stick with them.

      3. Woo! Another Gin convert!

        For your martini, I'd recommend ditching the olive and going with a twist. You could also go sans garnish and toss in a few dashes of orange bitters.

        As for smack you upside the head Gin, I'd have to go with Junipero hands down. It's one of my favorite's and is very, well, pretty much everything forward.

        1. If you like Plymouth, you might also want to try Quintessential or Q Gin.

          There seem to many Plymouth Gin fans, but I prefer more character in my Gin.

          I happen to only drink Beefeaters and Bombay Sapphire with Beefeaters being my main brand. I like Bombay because it's a tad bit more on the licorice side.

          FalHopper is right on the money, Junipero will put hair on your chest. It almost like putting a pine scented air freshener directly into your mouth. :) Nah... just kidding, it's pretty good.

          Plymouth and Q gin to me are more like Vodka then gin. I think that if really enjoy gin that you just might slowly start to like the stronger ones after awhile. ;)

          Another interesting gin to at least try is Hendrick's.

          Many people seem to like Gordon's and Seagram's but I find that they are too one dimensional and bland.

          I prefer G&T's myself or as you stated a good gimlet. Or a mix of the two.... my main drink is gin and tonic with a splash of Rose's lime juice.

          1. Had to pop back in as I forgot to also recommend giving Blue Coat a try. It's not as in your face as Junipero, but has a really nice peppery finish that's quite nice.

            Also, for a drink that suits Plymouth you might want to try a Vesper. I find that it's soft enough to let the Lillet Blanc come through nicely, but still has enough botanical oomph to make a nice compliment.

            1. Here in Portland, Oregon we have a very nice small-production gin called Aviator. Don't know where you're located, or how far they distribute, but its worth seeking out.