The Most Underrated Liquor in You Cabinet + How to Use it

It's official, gin is in. From small batch distilleries to creative bartenders, everyone is getting in line to experiment with this classic liquor. Once relegated to the back of liquor cabinets only to be brought out by grandparents or in desperation, today's gins are getting an infusion of unusual botanicals, which have made them the muse of the beverage industry.

From Vermont to Japan, small-batch producers are playing with offbeat plants, spices, and herbs to create flavor profiles that are unmistakable. No longer is gin the "Christmas tree" drink. Now you can sip hints of angelica root, flowers, spruce shoots or lingonberries from the Black Forest. This new genre of gin means endless possibilities for cocktails as well as new opportunities to sit and ponder your taste buds' reaction to each new gin. 

Suffice it to say, gin has become adaptable and now has a chance to please most palates out there. Here's more about what happened and why.

Gin-Dedicated Menus and Bars

Gin has become so decidedly popular, that bars dedicated to the spirit are popping up everywhere. But bartenders aren't just sticking to martinis and gimlets. Instead, they're fascinated with the variety of creativity they can extract from each bottle and designing their entire menu around their flavorful adventures behind the bar.

Even the classic G&T is spreading its wings. Originally a medicinal drink developed in British-occupied India, the gin and tonic has now left its roots behind it and has officially become trendy.

Not to mention, designer tonic water. With the rise of popularity in gin, comes a closer look at its long-time partner tonic water. Recently, brands like Fever-TreeDouble Dutch1724 and Fentimans, which focus on using real quinine, have emerged and are changing the game. By offering a different taste, these tonic waters make mixing and matching behind the bar just that much more fun. 

Creative Botanicals

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Distillers are beginning to use newfangled combinations of herbs, roots, spices, and barks create a trademark taste in their gins. Having such variety has set the stage for producers to experiment with what is locally available on the terroirs. This makes each batch of gin terribly unique to the time and place it was produced.

Needless to say, mixologist are having a field day with all the new combinations these flavors present them with.

Small Batches

Small batch producers - as they are apt to do - are rocking the boat. With their refusal to believe that gin should taste like pine needles, they are shaking up the menu and offering a spirit that is not juniper-driven like the gins of yore. So, instead of picking up one of the familiar brands that have been on the landscape for decades, tryl something new like New York Distilling CompanyCambridge DistillerySilent Pool, or Monkey 47.

A Generation of Garnishes

With so many more tastes to choose from, it only makes sense that the traditional lemon and lime garnishes are getting the cold shoulder from bartenders. Not that citrus doesn't have a place in their repertoire, but why use it exclusively when gin pairs so well with dried cranberries, rosemary, radishes, chilies, and flowers?

Watch: The Health Benefits of Drinking Gin Regularly

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