Gin Yummy

Note: I only attend P.R. functions featuring a "teaching moment": a demo, an expert, or a tasting. No "let's get everyone wasted and hope one of them writes about us" events for me. I don't need any more friends; just feed my brain. Your average guilt-ridden human being, the more he partakes of these freebies, will feel obligated to write about the products. That's why I prescreen. I avoid becoming a shill by applying my formula of relativity, U = [ (Q + I)/t], where Use to the reader equals Quality of event plus Intrigue, divided by my Time. Obviously these events, like the one I recently attended for Plymouth gin at El Gaucho, promote a product. This soiree featured a demo, an expert, and a blind tasting of the top gin brands. A beverage instigating a blind taste test against the competition rates highly in my book. It takes nerve to offer yourself up to professional boozehounds. Before you roll your eyes at my descriptions, you should know that Plymouth's rep had us snort common gin additives like juniper, orange, and angelica before the taste test. These little differences are harder to spot outside a lineup. Who drinks more than one gin at a time? But this may help the next time you want to order the esteemed gentlemen's spirit. The roundup: A prejudice of memories mixing for my papa meant Tanqueray couldn't hide from me. Heavy on juniper, this pine aroma is the reason most people can't like gin. On the flip side, this distinction makes the Tanq and tonic iconic. Hendrick's is booze's "it girl" right now and gets my pick for gin best served "straight up." Mild and seemingly with the lowest percentage of alcohol, Hendrick's is dominated by aromas of sweet orange and would probably suffer from a hit of vermouth. Plymouth had the most complexity—woody, spicy, with scents of orange and cardamom. Its mettle medals with me. Like an Italian handbag, everything about this gin just seemed finer. I like these events best when I learn something unintentionally. The eye-opener of the day was my confusing Beefeater for Bombay Sapphire. If I still slogged the grog, I'd make the most affordable Beefeater my house brand for a martini. It was subtle, balanced, and the smoothest of the group, a real crowd pleaser. In contrast, Sapphire came off as low rent and way too hot (high alcohol), which I've never noticed because I always drink it with tonic. As for price, Hendrick's tops at $34, Beefeater is $21, and the others hover around $25.

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