Once the weather warms up you start seeing white everywhere and as the patios at eating and drinking establishments fill with thirsty customers, the drinks run clear.
Gin tends to be the one spirit that spikes during hot weather. It’s no wonder – the light- bodied spirit flavored with juniper berries and other botanicals pairs amazingly well with citrus and plays the starring role in many a crisp and refreshing cocktail: The Martini, the Tom Collins and the Negroni, plus countless others.
The common ingredient, gin, comes in a variety of styles – from London Dry Gin to Old Tom Gin, which is lightly sweetened and rarely available since its popularity tanked in the 19th century. Gin s a spirit that has been around for a long time, in the 11th century, monks were using juniper berries to flavor distilled spirits. But gin in the recognizable form of today wasn’t produced until the 17th century in England and was named for either the French or Dutch words for juniper (it depends on who you ask).
However, gin didn’t really come into its own until some mad, thirsty British soldier stationed in the tropics paired it with tonic in the 1700s to mask the bitter flavor of the tonic water they drank to ward off malaria. The bitter quinine in tonic water and the herbal, almost green notes of the gin are the perfect blend of flavors.
Brightened by a little lime, gin can be the start of a perfect drink to sip in the sun, waiting for your burger at a barbecue or picnic, sitting on that beach chair or enjoying happy hour. It’s been said that this drink does its part to ward off scurvy and deadly mosquito-borne illnesses while tasting like liquid summer in a tall glass.
While the juniper spirit has always been a bestseller—even through prohibition, when it was produced in bathtubs across the country—the rebirth of the cocktail has spawned literally hundreds of different gins on the market, running the gamut fromclaiming deep cultural heritage and tradition to the irreverent. Some gins are distilled in the traditional manner – starting as grain alcohol and going through a second distillation with the juniper berries and botanicals used as flavoring. Cheaper “compound gins” don’t go through this second distillation and are just flavored with botanical essences.
Basically there are three types: Traditional, Old World and Modern—each refers to a different style of Gin.
Traditional Gins include Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Plymouth. These spirits are infused with a range of botanicals, and usually include: orris root, citrus peels, angelica and, of course, juniper berries, which provide the primary flavor.
Old-World Gins are based on the centuries-old malty Dutch genever. Genever on its own is hard to find these days but it is the base of many of the recipes now associated with dry British gin.
Modern Gins must, by law, incorporate juniper, but many distillers today are using a host of exotic ingredients to accent the juniper berry. The Scottish Hendrick’s is perhaps the most famous, with its blend of cucumber and rose, while the French Citadelle uses 19 different botanicals, including nutmeg, cumin and cardamom. Beefeater 24’s recipe features both Chinese and Japanese green teas. But one of the most intriguing gins on the market today, is Bulldog.
Bulldog Gin is quadruple distilled in London and flavored with the usual juniper berries and traditional botanicals, but the list continues with: Dragon eye, lotus, poppy, coriander, almond, licorice, cassia, lemon, angelica, and a slew of herbs and spices. It is amazingly smooth and balanced, and the assorted flavors work in combination to deliver an herbal tone that shines through tonic and lime for beauteous a drink.
Anshuman Vohra, CEO and founder of Bulldog, says the attention of mixologists is key to any gin’s success: “The creative cocktail movement allows people to be introduced to gin’s versatility and experience it as an alternative to other spirits. In fact, our suggested spring/summer cocktails feature a bevy of ways to spice up the gin & tonic using ingredients such as lemon curd, licorice or lavender—each represents a different botanical infused in Bulldog Gin—which helps expand the consumer’s palate for drinking gin.”
John Castiglione who represents Bulldog in New Jersey says that “Bulldog is a classier, smoother gin that mixes into more than martinis.”
He recommends a perrennial summer favorite: London Lemonade. An incredibly simple and delicious drink to make for summer lounging. Simply take 2 oz. Bulldog Gin and 4 oz. Fresh Lemonade and combine the two ingredients in a cocktail glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and sit back to sip and enjoy.
If you are in the mood for something a little more classic, he says you can’t go more classic than a Bulldog Gimlet. For this drink you will need to blend 1-1/2 oz. Bulldog Gin with 1 oz. Lime Juice and a 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup. Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice and enjoy.
Bulldog gin also knows how to turn a phrase, with delicious drinks sporting names like Plumdog Millionaire, Kir Monarcy or Rhubarb Tuesday, to name a few, you’re certain to enjoy a evening party or picnic with Bulldog and friends.