Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Jul 21, 2011 11:40 PM

Why do so many people hate Gin?

As a former Gin hater, I can understand it's bad rap. People say it tastes like christmas tree. I counter that you really haven't enjoyed it. I started enjoying it when I sniffed it like a fine wine and inhaled the botanicals. I know many of friends that have had bad run ins in their teens with Gin or given it up because of cheap Gin. Or really haven't had a nice Gin cocktail. So explain to me why Gin, which I sometimes refer to as vodka for grown ups. Is so disparaged? Me, I want to get all cool obscure, craft Gin I see.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Gin is a bit of an acquired taste. As we mature, we appreciate food and drink with more depth. Things that were unpalatable in youth and early adulthood, take on an interesting flavor and feel as we grow older. Other examples of this might include complex cheeses and fermented foods.

    The bad rap may come from simply a lack of appreciation of complexity or just, as you say, drinking too much of it at too early an age.

    Having lived in a British Colony, I grew accustomed to the ever popular Pimms. A great GNT really does hit the spot on a warm day. Bombay Sapphire Gin is the one to chose.

    A twist of lime might be an appropriate addition on a warm day.

    Vodka is a truly tasteless spirit. Perhaps that is why we now see so many flavors. Why not just have good Stolichnaya vodka and add fruit and fruit juice is my approach.

    Gin, in contrast, requires no flavored mixer. In fact, it would truly be a waste to add anything fruity or flavorful as it is the complex botanical medley that gives gin it's unique flavor

    That 'christmas tree' taste that you refer to is the juniper berries that contribute to the herbal blend.

    Juniper berries are a strong medicinal, kidney stimulant and even have psychoactive powers.

    Taken sparingly and properly, in the appropriate small doses, Juniper berries have a strongly cleansing property. They have been used to cure diabetes, arthritis, constipation, depression, and many chronic difficult conditions for many centuries by many cultures throughout the northern hemisphere. With strong antiseptic properties, they are one of earth's oldest medicines.

    The complex resins of Juniper berries are difficult for modern chemistry to characterize.

    Feed some Juniper berries to the birds and watch how they respond and fly even higher and happier!

    19 Replies
    1. re: Dr. Edna Williams

      I love gin and juice it gives a kick that vodka doesn't have.

      1. re: Dr. Edna Williams

        YAYME -- it's great to see you liking gin. It seems you appreciate more challenging flavors that when you first started posting here!

        I was with Dr. Williams until the part about mixing with gin. I think gin stands up just fine to flavorful ingredients. The Negroni contains two powerhouses -- Campari and sweet vermouth. I assure you that the individual character of the gin comes through, even in the classic 1:1:1 ratio, much less the leaner ratios some prefer.

        As for juniper curing baldness and balancing the federal budget, I await double-blind peer-reviewed studies. ;)

        -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Well, I'm 72 and have all my hair! As for double-blind studies, that's what happens if I dare have a second martini …

          1. re: Will Owen

            Whoa, maybe I need to drink more gin.

            Probably not. The cause of hair loss is elsewhere, I think.

          2. re: EvergreenDan

            To my tongue vodka has bags of flavour. Perhaps the issue is not with people drnking gin at too earlier an age, but people completely ruining their pallette to the point that the sense of taste is almost numb and those that appreciate it from the off with no perception of the flavour of vodka, well I think the two issues go hand in hand. It;s down to an insesetivity caused by a dulling of the senses usually through abuse of food, drink, drugs, caffeine and tobacco.

            Whilst this dulling might be a requirement for people to filter out the unpleasantness inherent in gin and to get to the heart of the juniper flavours, it should not be read as a nuanced appreciation, just as someone going blind has a greater appreciation of colour over detail. The gin lover and the visual depreciation which aloows less to be sensed is a genuine handicap.

            1. re: Namothy

              So you are more refined than me because you prefer vodka and I prefer gin?

              1. re: jpc8015

                Don't bother. Ir's some 1 hit wonder trolling and never to be heard from again.

              2. re: Namothy

                Bags of flavor in vodka? "Filter out" the unpleasantness inherent in gin? Interesting perspective, indeed! If I did not know better, I would think your post needed to be made in "irony font."

            2. re: Dr. Edna Williams

              My dog loves juniper berries. I assume they are a close relative to the ones used to flavor Gin. Right now they are all over the ground. Every time we go on a walk, he eats all that i will let him. He also eats Mustang grapes, which are really sour.
              Here in Texas, we call juniper cedar. Don't ask me why.
              Anyway, do you think these juniper berries are doing him any harm? He certainly doesn't suffer from constipation.

              1. re: TroyTempest

                Are you sure those aren't cedar berries? They are a different thing. I have several types of juniper, as well as cedar berries, in my botanical library.

                1. re: JMF

                  It is ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei.

                  From the website listed below:
                  Ashe juniper is a small, many-stemmed tree found in rocky limestone soil from central to west Texas. It is the dominant juniper of the Texas Hill Country, and is usually referred to as cedar.


                  Note: I have eaten these, and when ripe they do taste like gin.

                  1. re: TroyTempest

                    Interesting. It made me go look what the latin name is for the "cedar berries" I have, Juniperus monosperma, so not cedar either, but "One Seed Juniper."

                    Now it means I have to do some more research. My life motto has become, "Never take things for granted."

                    1. re: JMF

                      let us know what you find out. And, if you find this out, how interchangeable these juniper are with the type that are used for cooking, flavoring gin, etc.
                      I'm wondering if i eat some of these juniper berries if my body will somehow build up a tolerance, because this year the "cedar fever" is kicking my butt.

                      1. re: TroyTempest

                        I always suffered during my decade-plus in West Texas ...

                        1. re: hawkeyeui93

                          This year we are supposedly setting records. I has never bothered me before. But now, man it is.

                2. re: TroyTempest

                  I don't know about the juniper berries, but I do know that grapes are toxic to dogs, so I would definitely keep my dog away from those Mustang Grapes.

                  1. re: brandygirl

                    Wow, I never would have known. And according to wikipedia, this is real(not that i doubted you, brandygirl). I used to feel better about him eating the grapes than some of the other stuff he found along our walks, such as deer pellets, evidently they are a labrador delicacy, but not now.


                    1. re: TroyTempest

                      I was surprised by some of the foods that are toxic to dogs. Just a few other foods to keep away from your dog: chocolate (especially dark), raisins (obviously), avocado, garlic, onions, and alcohol. There are others, in addition to plants that can be poisonous (such as poinsettias).

              2. People hate gin for the same reason(s) they hate anything that's alcoholic and consumable . . . either they haven't been exposed to a "good" one, had a bad experience with a "cheap" one when too young to know better, or they have yet to acquire a taste for it/isn't to their taste.

                No great secret here. The stronger flavors something has, the "tougher" it is to like. I used to be a Scotch drinker -- more so than I am today -- but as much as I enjoyed the Highland, Speyside, and Campbelltown malts, I never enjoyed the intensity of a "classic" Islay malt. I could appreciate it was a well-made whisky, and I could understand how some people could love it, but I was never one of them . . . .

                Personally, I think that's why Hendrick's is so popular: it's the gin for people who like vodka.


                1 Reply
                1. re: zin1953

                  Jason, I like just about every gin I've tried, emphatically including Hendrick's. It's my choice for a "Fitty-Fitty" - equal parts gin and vermouth (the original dry martini recipe) with a dash of bitters, and it makes a delightful G&T. Vodka is okay in its place, which I insist is NOT a martini glass.

                  One variant I've had only one label of is Dutch genever. My late pa-in-law's cellar had a bottle of Bokma; it's no longer sold in the US, a fact I discovered after I'd finished most of it! It's considerably less sharp than a London Dry gin, more like something to simply sip, though I enjoyed it in martini form.

                2. I hated gin until I tried Hendrick's. It seemed much more floral and citrusy than gins I had in the past, and didn't taste like pine sol. Subsequently, I came to appreciate other gins as well, and do like Bombay Sapphire for a martini. I think some of this change of taste (as noted above) may have to do with an aging, jaded palate seeking out new stimuli.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nsenada

                    Hendricks got me into gin as well, now i like many varieties of gin

                    Nolet's is very good and floral - try it with a bit of muddled sugar in the bottom of the glass with some lime and club soda (i dont care for tonic)

                    Beefeater's 24 is also good, more juniper forward than the previous two but not quite as junipery as a full on london dry gin

                    1. re: Dapuma

                      I started with and have always loved tanqueray (ten or reg)

                      1. re: kpaxonite

                        Back when I was first starting out in the Army, back in the mid-80's, one of my buddies always hooked me up with Gordons G&T's whenever we went drinking.

                        I seriously despised the spruce-bomb flavor in the beginning; but because it was free, I eventually acquired the taste for it. I've been using Gordons as my daily gin ever since.

                        Using Gordons in a Gin Old Fashion is probably one of my favorite ways of drinking it, excluding a Negroni...

                        IMO, zin1953 is on the money.

                    2. re: nsenada

                      I find Hendrick's really nasty. Bombay Sapphire, however, is very nice. Most other NON-FLORAL stuff is fine. I love my G&Ts and don't want stuff other than the juniper taste and smell in it. Did I mention I hate Hendrick's?

                    3. My philosophy is that any cocktail that can be made with vodka can be made better with gin.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jpc8015

                        I love Bloody Marys made wiht gin, adds a spicy note!

                        1. re: jpc8015

                          A White Russian might be an exception to that rule.

                        2. Because the last time I had some, (ok I had too much) I ended up in the men's bathroom.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pixie Muse

                            and are you male? ...... and if not sounds like a good time lol