Gin has made a huge comeback over the last few years – not that it ever went totally out of fashion mind you, but it’s definitely experienced a ‘ginaisance’ of late. It’s gone from being a fuddy-duddy drink to a hip and happening mixologist’s dream. In the UK alone, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association reports that there are at least 100 British gin brands on the market, which is more than double what there were in 2011; and that last year the Brits bought almost 55 million bottles of gin, which is up 44% from the previous year.
World Gin Day (WGD) is a testament to our love of the juniper berry. Founded in 2009 by Neil Houston in Birmingham and always celebrated on the 2nd Saturday in June, WGD has evolved into a global celebration that now includes events in over 30 countries around the world. Also gaining in popularity are gin and food events like the Gin High Tea served on the first Saturday of every month at Ginja, where each occasion focuses on a different local gin label and pairs it with delicious sweet and savoury finger foods.
But you don’t have to go out for a taste of ‘ginstronomy’, you can easily do your own gin and food pairing at home – keep the following five foods in mind when making your selections:
- Cured meats – gin complements the salt and spice of most cured meats and this is where N1 comes in very handy for the best selection of quality meat Cape Town and Johannesburg have to offer.
- Pates – particularly those seasoned with juniper berries, because hello – juniper berries. Ideal choices are chicken liver pate and a course country terrine made with a selection of pork meats.
- Indian dishes – spiced dishes like slow-cooked lamb shanks, coronation chicken and lamb biryani are all good choices to pair with the fresh and floral notes of a good gin
- Seafood – prawns, crab meat and smoked salmon are ideal pairings, you can even use gin to cure a piece of fish which lends a delicious botanical flavour.
- Cheeses – a gin mixed with champagne (also known as a French 75 cocktail) goes well with soft cheeses, while straight gin goes better with herbier cheeses.
On this World Gin Day (or any other day too for that matter), go all out and enjoy your gin-of-choice along with some delicious foods.
And we’re going to finish off now with two of our favourite gin quotes: Winston Churchill’s ‘The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire’ and Noel Coward’s ‘A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy.’