Gin, a timeless and versatile spirit, has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past decade, with an increasing number of new distilleries, all experimenting with special botanical blends.
Whether you're new to the world of gin or looking to refine your tasting skills, learning how to taste gin like an expert can be an exciting and enjoyable journey.
In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the art of gin tasting, from selecting the right glassware to understanding gin’s different flavours and aromas.
What is gin?
Gin is a distilled spirit that gets its strongest flavour from juniper berries. Its memorable taste comes from a blend of botanicals, which can include a wide range of delightful herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers.
These botanicals are infused during the distillation process, giving each gin its unique flavour profile, as well as so many options for gin drinkers to enjoy.
How is gin made?
Gin is carefully crafted through a multi-step process.
It begins with a neutral grain spirit or base spirit, to which a blend of botanicals is introduced.
These botanicals, including the staple for gin, juniper berries, are infused during distillation or post-distillation to create a rich tapestry of flavours.
The mixture is then carefully distilled, allowing the alcohol vapour to interact with the botanicals and extract their essences. After distillation, the heart of the distillate is chosen, discarding the less desirable elements.
The final step involves dilution, bottling, and sometimes ageing, resulting in a spirit that embodies the intricate artistry and careful choices of the distiller.
What glassware should I drink gin from?
Choosing the right glassware is an essential first step in tasting gin like an expert.
The tulip-shaped glass, often referred to as a Glencairn glass, is a popular choice for tasting spirits. Its shape concentrates the aromas, allowing you to fully appreciate the intricate scents of the gin. If you don't have a Glencairn glass, we recommend using a wine glass with a similar tulip shape as a good alternative.
How do you drink gin?
Before you sip
Begin by observing the gin's appearance. Hold the glass up to the light and examine its colour and clarity. While gin is typically clear, some aged or barrel-aged gins might have a slight hue. Clear clarity indicates a well-filtered and a high quality distillation process.
Next, gently swirl the gin in your glass. This action releases volatile compounds, enhancing the aromas. Take note of any legs or tears that form on the sides of your glass, as these can indicate the gin's viscosity and alcohol content.
Bring the glass to your nose and take a slow, deep inhale. The aromas should be complex and inviting. Juniper is usually the dominant scent, but you may also detect hints of citrus, floral notes, spices, and more.
Take a taste
Take a small sip and let it rest on your palate. This initial taste will give you a sense of the gin's base flavours, including the juniper and any underlying botanicals. Take note of the balance between sweetness, bitterness, and acidity.
Try to notice the texture of the gin in your mouth. Is it light and smooth, or does it have a heavier, oily texture? Your first sip can provide insights into the quality of the distillation and the presence of any additives.
The finish is the lingering taste that remains after you swallow. Does the gin leave a lingering taste, or does it dissipate quickly? Pay attention to any new flavours that emerge during this phase.
Discover Ad Gefrin Gin
What is Ad Gefrin Thirlings Dry Gin?
Our gin combines the traditions of the past with celebrating the present, something which is captured in the story of our bottle.
The stepped punt is a reflection of the unearthing of the 7th wooden Grandstand on the historical site, while the holes and dimples etched into the glass mirror the post holes that unveiled the dimensions and elevation of the royal complex of structures.
What botanicals and flavours are included within Thirlings Dry Gin?
Ad Gefrin’s Thirlings Dry Gin is carefully created using timeless ingredients inspired by Northumberland.
Within our Thirlings Dry Gin our community of gin drinkers can experience a taste of the region, with heather and pine from the Cheviot hills, elderberry and dill from the hedgerows, and Irish moss and sea buckthorn from the coast distilled in every bottle.
Experience Thirlings Dry Gin