How to Taste Gin Like a Pro
Jin has a moment right now. In distilleries, it is much easier to start using gin simply because it does not require barrel aging. If you’re a new distillery, you can distill gin and start selling it almost immediately, while a new distillery may have to wait a few years before it has a product to sell.
You can also get creative when it comes to gin. The plants and fruits that the distillery chooses vary from distillery to distillery, so for the most part, gin is not the same. It is essentially a flavored vodka, so it takes a lot of creativity in the process.
I recently visited Four Pillars in Hillsville, Australia and tasted their line of gins (including the super-unique Shiraz gin made from wine grapes).
In addition to interesting (and tasty) gin, the distillery also offered an interesting way to taste it.
Pour yourself a shot of gin first. You don’t need to pour a glass (although you can, of course), but pour just enough to fill your mouth.
Smell it and see what plants you can pick up, then make a full serving of gin and let it rest quietly on the tip of your tongue with your mouth closed for 15 seconds.
The idea here is to literally sit with a mouthful of gin for 15 seconds. You don’t excite it, we aerate it, you just hold it in your mouth.
After 15 seconds, swallow the gin and exhale. When you do, your mouth will light up with the variety of flavors of this gin.
Sounds pretty weird, but it actually works.
I tried the whole Four Pillar setup and the only thing I had trouble with was the Navy Strength gin, which was 58.8% a little … strong. While it burned, none of the others burned, and this exercise helped me pick out a lot of flavors that I don’t think would otherwise, at least not at first glance, be so easy.
If you really want to get to know your gin, give it a try.