I’ve been known to geek out on drinks to the point of over-intellectualising them, which some of my friends complain about (“Just drink the bloody drink, Gail, nobody wants to hear about the cultural context and tasting notes of this sh*t!”).
This is why, in an effort to redeem myself, I’d like to go on the record and say that drinking is definitely more fun with friends, great food, excellent ambiance, and awesome booze.
When I was told about the Breadtime Sandwiches by Brotzeit promotion that went hand-in-hand with Brotzeit’s Ginstronomy campaign, I was excited. I fully expected loads of fun with like-minded individuals (i.e., fellow booze hounds, geeks, and foodies).
Anyway, here are some of the gins we enjoyed (while we discussed the concept of self-pollination):
Gin del Professore Monsieur (Italy)
I rarely find “sipping gin,” or a gin I would be able to enjoy chilled or on the rocks (I couldn’t have one neat because of our weather, TBH). Gin del Professore Monsieur, however, possesses enough character and aromatic notes (cardamom, lavender, chamomile, juniper, oranges, cinnamon, baking spice, and vanilla) to be enjoyed without mixers.
The Italian brand Gin del Professore is a collaboration between Federico Ricatto (a creative genius who actually trained as a pastry chef), Carlos Quaglia (a Piedmontese distiller), and the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome (one of the true-blue Speakeasies keeping up the essence of the 1920s Prohibition vibe). They sought to capture the “Bathtub Gin” (spirits were made illegally in homes or bars using bathtubs in 1920s America, hence the name) concept in their products, using artisanal methods and high-quality ingredients. In fact, the reason the gin has a pale amber colour is actually because they don’t use industrial ways of clarification.
Martin Miller’s Gin (King’s Road, London)
This gin has the distinction of being the most awarded gin in the last ten years. Taste-wise, it’s a pretty straightforward interpretation of a classic, textbook gin. It has well-balanced flavours of citrus, herbs, juniper, and Christmas spices (nutmeg and orange peel).
What was great about the Ginstronomy promotion was the fact that they let us choose what to put in our gin and tonic. I thought it would be cool to put smoked lemon and juniper berries to ground it a little and to further emphasise the juniper notes. It worked. The Fentimans Naturally Light Tonic Water was a good addition, adding a refreshing element without greatly impacting the flavours of what I concocted.
Archipelago Botanical Gin
I first tried some of this proudly pinoy gin in a Whisky Live event some time back. I remembered it showing so much promise and can go toe to toe against other gin brands globally.
Maybe it was the pinay in me, but I particularly appreciated the fact that they used local ingredients to make the gin:
- Pomelo – Writing about this ingredient made me long for Davao and their famous pomelos
- Mango – There’s nothing on earth quite like the Filipino mango (just ask my American brother-in-law, who gorges on the stuff whenever he’s in town)
- Dalandan – What I like to think of as our own version of oranges (although this has a wildly distinct aroma and flavour profile that differs it from oranges)
- Dayap – I use this as a more citrus version of lime when I cook or mix
- Benguet Pine – Yep, there are places in the Philippines cold enough to grow pine trees. Benguet is also called the “salad bowl of the Philippines”, growing awesome highland veggies
- Sampaguita – Most people who grew up in Manila know about vendors who come knocking on car windows during rush hour traffic, hoping to sell some of these aromatic, tiny, white flowers
Foodies would probably ask: “So, did it go with the sandwiches?” While my personal favourite sandwiches ended up being the Von Trapp (Bavarian beans sausage topped with gouda cheese, bell peppers, and onions… Bonus points for being named after THE musical family that inspired The Sound of Music) and The Hoff (the bacon wrapped wonder named after THE David Hasselhoff of Baywatch/Knight Rider/Du fame), I highly recommend the Angela (as in Merkel, made with smoked salmon) and the Helmut (as in Kohl, a shrimp sandwich) were perfect with the G&Ts. People who are feeling experimental can also try making their own sandwich with a choice of Nürnberger, Hünherwurst, Käsekrainer, Knoblauchwurst, or Bockwurst.
Drooling yet? For more details and reservations:
Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
GF6 Ground Floor Shangri-La at The Fort
30th corner 5th Avenue, Taguig
To RR and Gerry who introduced me to the concept of self-pollination, and Margaux (Bon Voyage!)