EJ & Raven do Gin: part the First

I’ve been wanting to do some gin tasting stuff on here for a while as I thought some of you might enjoy it, but it’s taken a while to get round to it! I received this gin tasting selection a while ago and thought it might be a good place to start, so one Friday evening I rocked up at EJ’s house and we drank it all. For science, you understand….

First up….Macedonia…?

Not a part of the world known for it’s gin making, this was quite an interesting gin! It was extremely juniper-y. Really quite over-powering. There were also some slightly sweet notes, a bit of fruit somewhere over the top but mostly it was shouting really loudly about juniper. I mean, that’s a thing with gin, I get it…but clubbing you round the nose with it isn’t always a good thing. Even in gin.

Just over some ice it was very sweet, the floral notes came through a bit more. Still juniper there of course but some of the other flavour began to come through. Once you added some tonic though…all about the juniper. It was quite a light gin overall, probably one for the start of an evening.

Our recommendation: a 50:50 g&t with the Fevertree tonic, as the stronger flavour of the tonic will take some of edge off the juniper.

Next up… Bulgaria? Seriously?

Ok so maybe they have some kind of excess juniper problem is Eastern Europe that they can only solve by making gin? Not a terrible problem to have I guess, but perhaps make more gin with juniper in each batch? Seriously. This was more juniper-y than the first lot! Also some sort of spicy hints. Over ice it was a bit middle eastern really, no aftertaste but retained that slightly spicy overtone. It was nice to sip.

In tonic….er, where did the taste go? It just vanished. Extremely mild and we should have been using something that wasn’t Fevertree because honestly the whole gin aspect was (surprisingly to us!) overpowered by the tonic! How weird is that?

Our recommendation: sipping over ice.

Next up: The Netherlands.

So we’re back on more familiar turf now and the juniper issue has subsided drastically. This was a very bold gin on the nose, quite heavy. Over ice it had a sort of toffee flavour, slightly burned almost but a more rounded flavour than the previous two. With the tonic that toffee became more toffee apple! It was nice, quite light not too sweet.

I had feared it was going to be all a bit Jenever but happily it wasn’t. It was much smoother and pleasantly light. T Fevertree balanced it well though.

Our recommendation: 50:50 g&g with the Fevertree tonic.

Back to…Kosovo!

And here we are again in juniper country being clobbered round the nose with the juniper bat. People. Yes, gin has juniper in it. That is indeed a key part of the definition. But seriously, it doesn’t need that much juniper. Weirdly this one also had some overtones that reminded us of diesel. Yes, diesel. It was a bit odd.

Over ice some lavender turned up, which was a nice surprise and it was quite sweet. Happily the diesel fucked off so no idea what that was about. With tonic it was quite complex, a fair bit of lavender but still a hint of an industrial feel. We wished we had some plainer tonic for it (like the Sainsbury’s or Waitrose own brands which don’t have a strong taste but also, importantly, don’t contain sweeteners!)

Our recommendation: a long g&t with a lighter flavoured tonic.

Last up: Italy.

This was really floral. Like a fucking bouquet of flowers floral. It was quite hard to pick which flowers exactly but it was quite green smelling. I liked it. Over ice the juniper came through, which balanced it up nicely but this one really worked with tonic. Some wonderful creamy, vanilla notes came out but it was a bit over-powered by the Fevertree so a lighter tonic is called for.

Our recommendation: a good afternoon g&t, with cake and a lighter gin.

I hope you enjoyed this! We certainly did. If you want us to do more of this, and bring in other seasoned gin drinks of the one and only #ginsquad then comment here and say nice things.