We don't really need an excuse to drink gin, but we're happy to celebrate World Gin Day with gin drinkers across the globe.
Although World Gin Day is a recent development from 2009, the spirit itself has been around since at least the early 17th century, when Dutch people started producing it and selling it as medicine to treat ailments like upset stomachs, gout and gallstones.
It didn't taste great, so they added juniper to it to boost the medicinal properties and perk up the flavor. It quickly grew in popularity and spread to Britain. When the government introduced a law to make the spirit super hard to find and expensive in 1736, riots broke out across London and people began distilling it illegally. Since then, it has been a quintessential spirit in English society.
We've come a long way since the gin riots and illegal distillation, but the subtly balanced herbal, botanical spirit has remained popular – how can you say no to a gin and tonic?
Like any other kind of alcohol, the sheer variety can be a little overwhelming. Here are some of the more common gins out there:
1. London Dry Gin
Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, and Beefeater
This is the most well-known type. It is dry and usually heavy on the juniper, light on the body and strongly aromatic. This versatile gin goes great with classic martinis, gin and tonics, and Aviation cocktails.
An earthier spin on this is Plymouth gin, which has a milder juniper taste and can be used in place of London Dry if you're into that.
2. Genever/Dutch Gin
This old-style gin is thick and malty with strong juniper and savory botanical flavors like fennel and lemon peel. It's getting more popular in craft cocktails, but it's great straight or chilled. You can also swap it out for whiskey in a modified Old-Fashioned.
3. New American/New Wave/International Style
Juniper takes a back seat to floral botanicals, citrus, and sometimes cucumber (in Hendrick's) with these gins. They are great in a gimlet and any other standard gin drink. Also try Hendrick's with St. Germain and lime for a Hendrick's Evolved.
In order to make the perfect gin and tonic, get high-quality tonic and good gin, and consider swapping out the traditional lime garnish for a more complementary ingredient, like a cucumber slice for Hendrick's or lemon slice for Beefeater.