Thursday, April 16, 2020
101 Gins captures the flavorful world of a classic spirit
101 Gins to Try Before You Die is a beautiful, smallish format book that provides a current snapshot of many of the best producers of this fragrant spirit. The author is Ian Baxter, a veteran drinks writer also known for his 101 Whisky Books.
The book starts with this premise: "We're in the middle of a new Gin Craze. From being the drink of choice of middle-aged, jaguar-driving golfers and an easy target for stand-up comedians, today's it's harder to find anything hipper on the international bar scene."
The book takes readers first through a little history of the beverage, and then through a bit of the production methods. Then from page 20 on, it's the - as promised - 101 gins. Each carefully curated entry boasts a beautiful photograph and a succinct page of text.
There are predictably plenty of gins from the United Kingdom represented, starting with #1, Fifty Eight Gin made in tiny batches in a trendy part of London. Ian characterizes this new gin brand as "a great example of the new wave of small operations trying to find a gap in the market."
But there are also gins made in France -- and Philadelphia. Germany and Spain are also represented as well as Japan. That one - Nikka Coffey Gin - uses Japanese citrus such as yuzu, kabosu, hirami lemon and amanatsu, as well as apples and sansho pepper -- in addition to the expected ingredient: juniper. And it's ingredients lists such as these that help explain the current fascination. In a world where "hand crafted" is often just a marketing ploy, gin really can spring from one distiller's imagination and creativity.
Readers interesting in taking a deep dive into this hot beverage category need look no further than this book.