How to create the perfect Gin tasting at home | Cook Eat Live Happy

Whether you are planning a girls night, family picnic or a neighbourhood BBQ, hosting an at-home tasting party with your favourite gins is just what your guests need. Gin can be intimidating if you don't know anything about gin or what types there are- this post will teach you how to make a memorable evening for yourself and your loved ones.

First of all, do I have any gin lovers out there? Please don’t tell anyone but the truth is I was definitely late to this game when it comes to drinking gins - well actually until recently at least! However now that I’ve arrived, I definitely understand what all the hype is about! If you love this spirit, you won’t be surprised to find out that Canadians are actually in the top 10 Gin drinkers worldwide, right after the UK and Ireland!

Gin has been around for centuries and is one of the oldest liquors still in production. The first Canadian distillery to produce gin was Seagrams way back 1883 but now new places are popping up all across Canada, including many craft distillers that create really beautiful products. I was really intrigued to find out that the history of gin can be traced back thousands of years! If you are a history buff or just a curious soul, like me, you’ll find this part interesting…

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Gin’s original form was fermented juniper berries which was basically a potion used as a medicinal cure for a ton of ailments. Fast-forward to the 16th century, it seems its actually the Dutch that began producing a spirit they called “genever” ( jenever in Dutch) which is a derivative of the Latin word juniperus, meaning juniper.

This spirit composed of a mix of malt wine and juniper berries, later became popular in England thanks to King William III in his attempt to weaken the French economy by heavily taxing French wine & cognac and the introduction of the new The Corn Laws. A distillation craze took over England in the late 1600s, making Gin the popular choice since it was actually less expensive than beer for a time. Excess led to drunkenness and so the government eventually realized that society had a problem on its hands. The solution was to require folks to get a distiller’s license, however said licence was both expensive and hard to come by. Fun Fact: only two official licences were issued over a seven year period and continued to be almost impossible to get in England until recent times.

What is modern day Gin?

The products we enjoy today clearly aren’t malted wine, so what are they? The definition of Gin is a clear, distilled spirit with dominant botanical flavours of juniper, flowers, and fresh and dried fruit.

If you’ve browsed the gin isle at your local liquor store, I’m sure you’ve noticed a huge selection of gin varieties and price tags to go with. But what qualifies as a good gin? There are two types of gin that are most common in the Canadian market. Distilled gin is made by distilling a mash, or fermented alcohol base. This base is usually re-distilled using fresh or dried juniper berries and other aromatic botanicals (collectively known as the "botanical bill") which gives the gin its flavour. The other type is Compound gin, which mixes neutral spirit base with juniper berry extract or essences (in addition to other aromatics if desired) to gain flavour. The spirit, which never runs through a still, is then proofed down and bottled.

With so many beautiful products on the market, I highly suggest you do a gin tasting! Its just like a wine tasting and hopefully local distilleries will be able to open their doors soon so you can visit and get to know their products better. But in the mean time, here’s my guide to creating a gin tasting at home!

Step 1

Choose at least 3 different flavour profiles. My friends at 1769 Distillery have an amazing Gin lineup, here are my 3 favourite.