Star of Bombay bottle

It’s World Gin Day today! Let’s take a closer look at 3 different gins.

World Gin Day...what does that mean? Honestly, I have no idea, except that it is close to Father's Day. Let's abuse the excuse to tell you something more about 3 gins currently in my drinks cabinet.

All those Days, I don’t get it. There’s mini skirt day, bra less day, international talk like a pirate day,… ridiculous! Some even fall on the same day. So when you meet a topless woman in mini skirt, humping towards you on a wooden leg screaming:  “yaaarrrr!”, you should ‘high-five’ her instead of sending her back to the mental institution where she came from. Anyway, enough ramblings, let’s talk gins.

Star Of Bombay

Star of Bombay cocktail with Kummel and Noilly Prat
Star of Bombay cocktail with Kummel and Noilly Prat

Newest child of the Bombay family and a star it is! Vamped up to 47,5% ABV this baby gives a whole new dimension to the Bombay range and opens up interesting possibilities. Lots of juniper berries going on here (a tad too much, maybe? Is that possible in a gin?). Then again, I’m glad it has juniper berries and stands out proudly to defend it amongst some “flowerbeds” which call themselves gin today. I know, taste is personal, but I don’t like drinking from a vase.

Star of Bombay bottle
Star of Bombay bottle

Speaking about vases, I really like the bottle of Star. It has that statuesque, art nouveaux, roaring twenties thing. It reminds me of the old crystal decanters granddad had. Bombay always has very nice bottles, immediately recognisable with it’s distinctive blue colour. Star does well in a G&T, but also makes a wicked Dry Martini and a splendid Negroni. Or you can make an old style aperitif drink with it, that befits the bottle: 3cl Star Of Bombay, 3cl Noilly Prat, 1cl Kummel. Stirr well and strain in prettied glass. Add lemon zest as a garnish.

Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick's Gin Fizz with strawberries and cucumber
Hendrick’s Gin Fizz with strawberries and cucumber

Ah, the famous black bottle that stood at the beginning of the gin resurrection. Successfully surfing the neo-retro wave and adding the cucumber bar circus together with healthy dose of Monty Python influenced imagery turned this gin in a high-hitting glory story. In my opinion it opens the door for the new generation of softer floral gins.

Although I prefer the stronger “junipery” gins, I always had a sentimental soft spot for Hendrick’s. Can’t really say why, it’s probably the Python attitude…

Strawberries and cucumber add flavour quite quickly and their great to make a refreshing summer drink.
Strawberries and cucumber add flavour quite quickly and they’re great to make a refreshing summer drink.

Hendrick’s is fine in a G&T and don’t be afraid to add some cucumber if you like, although I prefer a citrus oil and zest. The cucumber thing is older than you think and a very English thing (try a   Pimm’s Cup with cucumber and ginger ale, yummy!). I wouldn’t try a Dry Martini with Hendrick’s, but I do like a Fizz with it. Try 5cl Hendrick’s Gin, 1,5cl lemon juice, 1cl simple syrup and 1cl Hendrick’s Quinetum, add slices of cucumber and some strawberries, top up with soda and enjoy. A delight when it’s hot outside.

FG 20-3 Flemish Gin

My hometown's gin with an etching of our belfry - oldest in Europe - in the background. A bottle of excellent Korenwijn on the left.
My hometown’s gin with an etching of our belfry – oldest in Europe – in the background. A bottle of excellent Korenwijn from the same distiller on the left, a great Dry Martini in the front.

One of the first Belgian gins, FG 20-3 is the gin from my hometown Aalst, distilled by De Moor distillery. It is heartwarming to see how much modesty and passion was put into this product (every product they make actually). I love this gin, not only because it is from my hometown, but because it is so beautifully balanced. Nothing is out of place, nothing is overpowering and still it has a distinct taste. Made with a little bit of malt wine, if I’m not mistaken. This malt wine is extraordinary good, the heart of their beautiful genevers. My favourite however is their ‘Dirk Martens Korenwijn’. This special genever is sheer bliss and was used recently by Jurgen Nobels in his winning cocktail of Diageo World Class Belgium 2015. Every high end cocktail bar in Belgium has at least one De Moor product and even  star restaurants like Pure C or The Jane.

Flemish Martini

– no less than 7,5cl of FG 20-3

– 2,5 to max. 3cl of Noilly Prat dry vermouth

stir passionately between 45 and 47 seconds and strain in antique champagne coup, add citrus oil and zest as garnish.

FG 20-3 superbly balanced gin, very versatile and equally good enjoyed neat over ice.
FG 20-3 superbly balanced gin, very versatile and equally good enjoyed neat over ice.

Cheers!

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