How to do gin tasting at home? This is a question I sometimes get from people around me. Here are my tips on how to best carry out a successful gin tasting.
1. Select the correct glass
The shape of the glass has a lot to say in relation to how you experience taste. When we taste something, we not only use the tongue, both smell and visual impression help to form the experience of how something tastes. Feel free to use a whiskey glass with a stem, also called a tulip glass. These glasses capture aromas from the liquid much better than more open glasses.
2. Be sure to be prepared
If you know you are going to taste gin, try to avoid wearing perfumes or the like. Also avoid eating very strong or fatty foods as you will have these flavors and odors left for several hours after the meal is over. In other words, a taco dinner with raw onions is not the best starting point for a successful gin tasting.
3. How to correct taste gin at home?
When tasting gin, you should start with only gin. Forget ice cream, tonic and other accessories that can disturb the smell or taste.
3.1 Spin the glass
Rotate the glass to get the liquid in the glass over a larger area. This makes it easier to pick up the more subtle scents.
3.2 Start with the nose
Start with the nose about 10cm above the glass. Here you get to know the more subtle aromas such as citrus and flowers. Then move down towards the glass. Here you will get more alcohol vapor.
Try to notice what you smell. Is it citrus ?, juniper ?, flowers?
The next step is to taste the gin. Before doing this, it may be a good idea to reset the sense of smell. You can do this by smelling coffee beans or the top of your hand.
3.3 Take the first small sip
Let the liquid rest in your mouth for five to ten seconds. Which flavors do you notice first? Do you find any of the same things that you could smell? Does the taste change over time?
What happens when you swallow? What flavors are you left with? How long does the taste stay? Does the aftertaste change over time?
3.5 Try again
Now that you have reviewed the entire taste picture, it may be an idea to take another sip. This time you have expectations for both scent and taste, at the same time the mouth is completely free of other flavors. Do you notice things you did not know the first time?
Gins tasting for advanced
So far you have tasted gin at room temperature and without additives of any kind. If you really want to get acquainted with a gin, there is no point in indulging in it. Temperature and dilution have a lot to say for both taste and smell. At this level I would recommend you bring out pen and paper. Write down what you learned in the first round, and see how the taste experience changes.
4.1 Add a few drops of water
Add a few drops of water, then take another small sip. Has the reduction in alcohol strength produced new scents or flavors?
4.2 Put some ice cubes in the glass
Now we have watered out the gin, and added ice. The contents of the glass now begin to approach what you encounter when drinking a Dry Martini. Take another small sip. Are there flavors or aromas that have disappeared or changed character after cooling?
4.3 Add tonic
Add about twice as much tonic as you have gin left in the glass. I would here recommend that you choose the most neutral Indian tonic possible. Now you are sitting with a Gin & Tonic without a garnish. Now the time has come to find out how further dilution, and the addition of quinine and the other ingredients in a tonic affect the character of the gin.
Take a sip write down the result. Think about whether you think another tonic would work better, and what would be good as a garnish.
Garnish – what fits?
This is strictly a bit outside the concept of gin tasting, but I think it belongs here. Sometimes you feel a clear taste of citrus, maybe it is then natural with citrus peel. Maybe you miss citrus in the taste picture? Then you can add it by having citrus peel. Garnish can be used to highlight what you already like in the gin, or to bring in something you miss. Or just to add more.
I understand what the gin contains, and often play on it. Now it is the case that some of this is often on the bottle, and then you can utilize the easily acquired knowledge from there. Do you like orange? Then you can add orange peel. If you think it was not so fresh in taste, then a boat of orange can fix it. Would you like a slightly “heavier, more earthy” impression? You will be able to get that by using dehydrated orange. And in the same way with other citrus types. Do you like the character of a real London dry gin? Then you can add juniper berries in most other gin as well, preferably combined with citrus peels and / or herbs. Add rosemary and you highlight the typical in a classic gin. Are you not that excited about London Dry gin? Then you might prefer to play on any berries that appear in the taste picture.
6. Remember to drink water
If you want to taste more gin, it is a good idea to drink water occasionally. Not only does this help cleanse your mouth, it also keeps you going longer. Remember that gin tasting should be fun!