Are you a gin enthusiast looking to explore new flavours and expand your palate and elevate your cocktails? The two distinct styles of London gin and spiced gin offer unique taste profiles and serve as a perfect canvas for mixologists to create delicious concoctions. Whether you prefer the sharp herbal refinement of London gins, the bold, aromatic notes of spiced gin, or you are new to the world of gin, join us as we explore the art of drinking and serving these gins.
London Gin and Spiced Gin
Gin has a rich history, and its production methods have evolved over the years to create multiple different styles. The term ‘London’ when referring to gin does not necessarily imply that it is made in London, but rather refers to the production method of this gin, characterised by its traditional, herbal flavour profile. This type of gin is distilled with botanicals and extracts such as juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, and citrus peels, and is not sweetened after distillation. Whilst most gins are sweetened after distillation, this gin is not sweetened at all throughout the process, relying solely on the ingredients to give it its distinctive herbal flavour.
Spiced gin is a more recent variation that has gained popularity in the gin market for its unique flavour profile. It often features warm, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg that have been infused with additional botanicals to create a spiced yet refreshing spirit. This gin offers a bolder and more complex flavour compared to other kinds of gin, particularly gins that have not been infused or sweetened with additional ingredients after distillation, making it a preferred choice for those looking for a more adventurous gin experience.
Sip and Serve
To truly appreciate the flavours of these two bold, individual gins, it is essential to understand their characteristics and how to drink them properly. When it comes to London types of gin, its clean and crisp taste is best enjoyed in subtle, simple combinations that allow the clean botanicals within the gin to shine through. As this type of gin is not sweetened or distilled with any additional ingredients or flavours, its taste comes from these herbal, botanical flavours, and so it is advisable to pair this gin with subtle, dry flavours. Pair with tonic water or vermouth to allow the flavours to mingle and create a clean, harmonious balance, or use as a staple ingredient within classic gin cocktails such as the iconic Gin and Tonic or a refreshing Martini. A classic highball or coupe glass is perfect for enjoying these pairings, and they are best served as a pre-dinner refreshment, a cooling after-dinner drink, or anytime you want a subtle, invigorating mix to suit any flavour palate.
When it comes to spiced gins, the bold and aromatic profile opens up a world of possibilities for aspiring mixologists and home bartenders to create something striking and unique. This gin is perfect for creating rich and flavorful drinks thanks to its warm, spicy, and often fruity tones, and the ices and core botanicals in these gins add depth and complexity to cocktails such as a Spiced Negroni or a Mulled Gin Punch. Whilst the rich flavours of spiced gins makes them an ideal choice for adding depth and complexity to cocktails or punches, they are also a delicious base for any drink. There are not a lot of mixers that don’t lend themselves to being paired with this type of gin, but the best flavours to opt for include fresh juices, fruity syrups, and flavourful liqueurs of your choice to complement the spicy and warm flavour profile of the gin. Serve on the rocks in a rocks glass or a stemmed glass with a wide bowl to sip these combinations on cosy evenings or festive gatherings to allow the flavours to shine during the autumn and winter seasons.
Shake and Savour
These types of gin have a long-standing reputation as the quintessential gin for subtle, clean cocktails that allow the botanicals to take centre stage. Here are some popular cocktails and serving suggestions for you to enjoy at home or at your next event:
- Gin and Tonic: This classic cocktail is often overlooked for its simplicity, but it is always refreshing and the gin lends itself to this time-honoured cocktail. Fill a highball glass, or coupette glass if you prefer, with ice, add a measure of the London dry gin of your choice, and top it up with premium tonic water. Garnish with a slice of lime or a sprig of fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme to complement the subtle botanical tones of the gin. This refreshing, easy-to-make combination is perfect for warm summer days or as a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite without leaving a lasting taste to influence the palate.
- Martini: The juniper-forward flavour profile of London gins make it the perfect quintessential ingredient for the perfect martini. In a mixing glass, combine the gin with dry vermouth and stir with ice until well-chilled. During this stage, a dash of orange bitters can be added to compliment and contrast the botanical flavours. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist or an olive. The Martini is a timeless classic that showcases the simplicity and elegance of subtle gins, and lends itself perfectly to this style of gin.
- Negroni: The Negroni is a classic yet trendy Italian cocktail that is made with gin, Capari, and sweet vermouth, and opting for a London Dry gin makes a smooth and refreshing Negroni to be enjoyed at events or at home all year round.
- The Tom Collins is a refreshing and citrusy cocktail that is perfect for any occasion, and these gins create the perfect base for more sweet, intense flavours, as well as the perfect subtle gin for clean, crisp combinations. To create this contrast in a glass, fill a tall glass with ice and add the gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a simple syrup to taste, and a splash of soda water. Stir gently and garnish with a lemon wheel and a maraschino cherry for an extra kick of fruity flavour.
The clean and crisp taste of the gin complements light and fresh flavours, such as seafoods, salads, or citrus-infused dishes to create a delightful harmony. If you are planning on serving this style of gin at your next gathering or dinner party, it is a good idea to pair these gin cocktails with subtle, small dishes, or to serve the drinks before and after the meal as a crisp palate cleanser.
Spiced gins offer a more adventurous and complex flavour profile than other gins, making it a versatile spirit for creating unique and flavorful cocktails. Whilst there are numerous types of flavoured gins available on the market, the majority of these are flavoured with artificial sweeteners or flavours, whilst spiced gins offer a complex, botanical flavour that works perfectly in popular gin cocktails, including:
- Spiced Negroni: Spiced gins are typically infused with complex and aromatic flavours, such as cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and cloves, giving it a rich, warm flavour that evokes memories of winter comfort. This spiced twist on the classic Negroni combines the bold flavours of spiced gin with sweet, complimenting tones for the perfect layered cocktail to sip on a chilly evening. To make this delicious twist, combine spiced gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari over ice in a mixing glass before stirring it well and straining into a rocks glass filled with ice. Don’t forget to garnish your Spiced Negroni with an orange twist for an added citrusy aroma that will elevate your drinking experience and complete the blend of warm flavours.
- Mulled Gin Punch: Another warm, spiced drink that is perfect to enjoy during the colder months is the Mulled Gin Punch: a warm cocktail that is perfect for winter gatherings. This well-loved staple of Christmas parties and festivities is made by summering spiced gin, apple cider, orange juice, cinnamon sticks and cloves over a low heat. Once the flavours have combined, strain the mixture into a punch bowl and garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks for a crowd-pleaser that will keep your guests warm and get them into the holiday spirit.
- Gingerbread Martini: For a cocktail that showcases the wintery, spiced flavours of the gin better than any other, the Gingerbread Martini is the perfect cocktail. This indulgent drink combines spiced gin, gingerbread syrup, cream, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass, then garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or a gingerbread cookie. The Gingerbread Martini is a decadent and sweet treat that captures the essence of the holiday season and can be served as a dessert accompaniment, or on its own as a delicious end to dinner.
- Gin and Ginger: This simple yet delicious combination pairs spiced gin with ginger beer and a garnish of lime to showcase the strong tones of ginger present in both base drinks.
The complexity of spiced gin adds an additional layer of flavour to the overall dining experience but can overwhelm the core flavours of the meal unless paired with warm spices within the foods. When it comes to pairing spiced gin cocktails with kecveto food, think bold and robust flavours. Spiced gin complements hearty dishes such as roasted meats, cheeses, or substantial dinners to be shared with loved ones during cold evenings.
Invest in The Best Gins for Your Tastes
Each of these distinct, flavourful types of gin offer their own distinct flavour profiles that can be enjoyed as the centrepiece of a drink or served as the versatile base for a range of delicious cocktails. Whether you prefer the herbal refinement of London gin, or the bold and aromatic notes of spiced gin, by understanding the characteristics of each gin you can elevate your drinking experience and impress your guests with creative serving suggestions.
If you are looking for the perfect spirit to serve as the base for your exploration into gin recipes, consider exploring the offerings of The Sweet Potato Spirit Company. With a commitment to quality and innovation and a unique distillation process, they specialise in creating specialty gins that makes them the go-to choice for those who appreciate the art of gin drinking.