Gin, a clear alcoholic spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavoured with Juniper Berries and other botanicals.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a liquor added to my cabinet via the build-a-bar challenge, but with good reason. I recently finished up my bar tending course, and have been spending a lot of my spare time studying for the exam by playing kitchen mixologist and memorizing boozy flashcards.
That said, while drinking a homemade French 75 tonight, I decided it was time to get back on the boozy blog train, and what better liquor to talk about than the liquor that turns your average Champagne Cocktail into a French 75 - Gin!
A few weeks ago I picked up a 750ml bottle of Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin for $27.75. Although it came in under my $30 target, I wasn’t being a terribly price conscious shopper at the time, as I was spending my way through a $100 liquor store gift card. (Side note - I should quit jobs more often. Parting gifts are excellent). Anyway, what drew me to the Bombay Sapphire was purely aesthetics; the bottle is a lovely colour of blue and I thought it would look nice in my liquor cabinet. Seriously. Prior to learning that gin + champagne = a party in my mouth, I rarely if ever drank the stuff, and certainly never bought it. Oh how times have changed.
Bombay Sapphire’s claim to fame is that the 10 botanicals that give the gin its distinct flavour - almonds, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia bark, cubeb berries and grains of paradise - are held in a separate perforated copper basket from the spirit until such time as the spirit vapour is deemed pure enough to be passed up through the basket where it is delicately infused with the aromatic flavours of the 10 botanicals. This process is known as vapour infusion, and a Carterhead Still is required to pull it off. Many other gins boil their botanicals directly into the spirit, but Bombay Sapphire is able to use vapour infusion as 3 of the last few remaining Carterhead Stills are exclusive to the brand. Fancy.
The first of the 10 botanicals that I listed above is almonds, and I have been warned that you shouldn’t feed someone with a nut allergy Bombay Sapphire precisely for that reason. Based on that fact, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing for my to have bought as my anaphylactic sister would drop dead if there was a nut under her mattress (princess and the pea style). However, she’s pretty much a vodka water kinda girl and doesn’t tend to trust anything that’s made in my kitchen, so I think she’ll survive.
Gin is never something that I’m going to drink straight, no matter how vapour infused it is, so my first taste test of the Bombay was in a Gin Sour a few weeks ago, complete with homemade sweet and sour mix. Overall, I enjoyed it - like summer in a glass - but then my cat knocked most of it into the bathtub, giving new meaning to the concept of bathtub gin.
I don’t have a grown up’s liquor cabinet. In fact, I don’t even have a dedicated cupboard to put my liquor in; why bother when a bottle doesn’t last longer than a night in my house? I suppose this is also a sign of not being a proper adult - that is, buying booze on an as-needed (read: binge drinking) basis. Surely as I close in on age twenty-six, it’s about time I started to amass a fine collection of spirits, to be housed behind glass and sipped after a long day at the office, rather than pulled from a paper bag and pounded while attempting to apply liquid eyeliner for a night out.
So, I’m embarking on a ten week challenge because, really, everything’s more fun when it’s put in challenge form. Each week I’ll have no more than $30 to spend on a bottle for my “cabinet.” (Keep in mind that the quotes are because I still don’t own the actual piece of furniture - minor detail). At the end of the ten weeks, my goal is to have a beginner bar that, if nothing else, is diverse enough in alcohol content to chase a shot of whisky with a Long Island Iced Tea.
In no particular order, here are the types of booze I’m after. As the weeks pass, I’ll be posting on what brands I bought, why I bought them, what they cost, and my preferred method of drinking them:
1. Triple Sec