Gin – The Next Big Thing!

Gin is setting the world alight as the next big trend in alcohol. In this post we take a look at its history, what is happening overseas with gin in 2018 and share a favourite cocktail of ours.

A short history of Gin

In England from the mid 17th century, gin was the drink of choice. It started out as a medicine thought to cure gout and indigestion, but by being cheap and readily available, it became a popular alternative to the rather expensive French wines and brandy. However it soon became a little too popular, so the Government passed the Gin Act in 1736 which banned people from selling it without a £50 license.

Knocking out the cheap distillers this way kicked off the start of the fancier brands offering a higher quality product to those willing to pay for it. From its inception, touted as a poor mans drink, it soon transformed into a prestigious drop attracting the attention of the upper class.

The Gin of Today

Fast forward to today, the gin we drink is vastly different from the original distilled product in the early 18th century. Gin makers are experimenting with new distillery techniques, colours and even alcohol-free options. There are gins with glitter and gold, and even one for Christmas with a pine needle infusion.

Sometimes cited as “vodka for adults” the gin market is running hot with creative genius. Distilleries in New Zealand as well as offshore are exploring all the options with gin experts predicting the use of interesting florals such as lavender, chamomile, and geranium flowers. If you thought the craft beer market was hot, the gin market is becoming hotter and competing well alongside it.

And this hot market is showing no intention of slowing. Its revival has exploded in the UK and Europe with new craft distilleries and dedicated bars opening up to meet demand. Distilleries are opening their doors, not unlike a vineyard’s cellar door, to educate people on varietals and how to taste gin for a fuller experience. Here’s a hint; a good gin will induct a warmth in the mouth, not burn.

Here in New Zealand, we are expecting a number of rose-hued Gin brands to arrive from the UK over the next few months.

Gin Cocktails

Classic gin cocktails are also making a fierce comeback in the form of the stylish martini, semi-sweet negroni, and stoic Tom Collins (see the video below for a great recipe!). Complementing these are brand new cocktail developments that have reportedly been sold out within hours of a bar opening. Gin enthusiasts are also celebrating their fandom outside of specialist bars with the pop up of festivals showcasing the delightful complexities of gin DNA. Gindulgence was held here in New Zealand last month, with Juniper-looza set for October in Melbourne.

And while we happily take notice of “ginspired” movers and shakers from overseas, there is plenty of talent on our own doorstep; New Zealand boasts 22 distilleries providing nearly 70 different gins, many of these exporting back to its famous European roots. So pop into your local West Liquor store today to speak to our gin experts.