An introduction to GIN: how I finally learned to appreciate it

I have to admit, I never really liked gin. Back in my 20’s I preferred everything but gin and whisky, and chose wine, beer, tequila, vodka, and pretty much any other alcohol instead. Looking back, I never liked the taste of it, or so I thought (I might not have been drinking it properly). But I think more than anything I didn’t know a thing about it, so I chose other popular spirits and cocktails. And then I got into the ketogenic lifestyle and suddenly I could not drink alcohol. Well, not really. I was told the lesser evil would be enjoying the clear ones, like vodka, tequila, and yes, you guessed it: GIN. And so I was formally introduced to gin (I felt like we never got a proper introduction anyway), thanks to my friends who seemed to know a lot about it.

So, in case you were wondering, why not just get into vodka or tequila? Well, I kind of retired from vodka after being traumatized by more than a handful of hangovers created by this poison (I may have abused it as my favorite drink at the time was vodka-7 (Up) and vodka-Red Bull). And tequila, well, I’ve never learned to drink it slowly, and that really deserves another post (and another proper introduction). That’s why I was left with gin, and coincidentally, it was growing popularity very quickly (it still is) so I really wanted to know what the fuss was all about. And as I mentioned, my friends were getting into it, too–they even started building their gin selection and went as far as sourcing fresh juniper berries for our regular meet-ups. I drank with them, of course, and began to enjoy the flavors of gin. I got to taste many more gin brands/labels and found out that they are not all made the same (some were alright, and others were fantastic). Generally, you get what you pay for, and some of the more expensive ones are just mind-blowing.

Fast forward to several weeks ago, the Baby Barangay moms: Bianca, Cat, Nicole, Patty and I were invited by our favorite wine/beer/liquor/bar essentials online shopping site: DRINKKA (www.drinkka.com) for a GIN SPA, which was like a legit gin appreciation class and mani-pedi spa in one (we were basically drinking and learning about gin while we got our nails done).

I arrived late, as I came from another event, but I quickly caught up with the lesson plan, which was mainly to get acquainted with the different kinds of gin. We learned to do this by: swirling the gin (to release its flavors), sniffing/smelling it (to enhance the taste), and finally swishing it around your mouth (to get the full taste/experience). I was surprised to know there is no right or wrong answer when you do this. You really either like what you’re tasting or you don’t, which I loved. This means it all depends on your tastebuds and what you are accustomed to–if you prefer fruity, pine-y, dry, sweet, etc. then that is the gin you should buy/enjoy.

We stuck to the brand: JJ Whitley, and tried their many flavors: London Dry, Nettle, Elderflower, and Raspberry Gin. I was amazed at how different each variant was, in terms of smell, flavor and alcohol levels. But what fascinated me was how you can mix and match these gins endlessly to create new and unique drinks to cater to every palate. You do this, of course, by using tonic water (regular or flavored), and a blend of spices (Drinkka offers an incredible selection of spices to bring out your gin’s gorgeous flavors, btw). And so we did exactly that and played around with different flavors.

Cat and Bianca were able to create the yummiest combinations, while I didn’t like my drink (at all). So I made another one. We asked the help of our friends from Drinkka if they can share their expertise when it comes to combining flavors, and they were more than happy to oblige.

For example, Cat’s drink consisted of Elderflower Gin, Basil and a burned Cinnamon Stick, while Bianca’s was London Dry Gin, Hibiscus Tonic Water, Dried Hibiscus and Peppercorn. I tried both, and repeated Cat’s drink because it was fantastic. The flavors just blended together so well, and it created a sweet and smooth concoction unlike any other drink I’ve tried before.

And so you’ll be happy to know that I’m hooked. I am now a certified gin-lover and appreciator haha, and I am looking forward to tasting more bottles and labels in the near future. Gin is just a whole different world that I was clueless about–I really had no idea how amazing it is! And all I had to do was give it a try.

Thank you, Drinkka for this super informative introduction to GIN. The girls and I truly enjoyed this unique experience.

Drinkka (www.drinkka.com) delivers everyday from 12NN to 12MN. They offer free delivery around the Metro Manila area–90 minute deliver to BGC and Makati, and same day delivery for the rest of Metro Manila (they have a 3PM cut-off so order early).

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