Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, chances are you’ve noticed that gin is very much the booze à la mode. From gin tastings to gin distillery tours and even gin and tonic tea bags – gin is undeniably popular.
But why such a boom? Well, other than the fact that gin is of course delicious, here are some possible theories for the gin craze:
Gin is fashionable and easy to drink
It cuts across the social and financial and is loved by those who are wanting a sophisticated drink, a budget drink or both.
It’s (almost!) guilty free
Gin is surprisingly low in calories. A shot of gin has an average of 72 calories, and given the fact that gin typically has no less than 37% alcohol ABV – you can get quite merry on gin without having to sacrifice your diet or healthy lifestyle.
Gin is versatile and really quite exciting
Depending on the manner in which it is distilled and processed, it can take on many different strengths, tones and tastes. Gin’s flavour can also be easily transformed by adding various botanical infusions such as rosemary, orange peel, peppercorns and vanilla pods. In time gone ordering a gin and tonic would consist of a shot from an optic, tonic from a tap with the obligatory question “would you like ice and a slice (of lemon) with that”. With Gin tasting establishments cropping up all over the country people can experiment and try before they buy. There is far more theatre to the creation and pour, the whole experience is far more visible and played to the audience of eagerly awaiting customer in a buying over the bar culture.
With a movement to socialising more in mid tempo environments and less in high-tempo experiences (like nightclubs); this has resulted in a change in what we drink based on where we drink and the ambient mood of our surroundings.
Younger people in particular are choosing to drink less but drink better. We spend less time in pubs, where the focus has always been on beer.
It’s become more accessible
In 2009 London gin distillery Sipsmith won a two year legal battle with HMRC allowing distilleries to produce and sell gin in small quantities. As a result smaller independent gin makers could find a foot hold in a market where previously they struggled to prosper.
Craft gins & better tonics
It was Sipsmith who arguably instigated the growth in craft gin. With gin being comparatively easy to make, a multitude of ‘craft’ gin brands have sprung up, boasting both local credentials and unique flavour combinations
The impact of quality mixer shouldn’t be underestimated. The majority of a gin & tonic is the tonic and therefore should be treated with as much regard and respect as the Gin you are applying it to. With the arrival of super premium mixers like Fever Tree and its variety of tonic flavours it has not only improved the quality of the gin-drinking experience but allowed individual personalisation of the experience.