It may seem like a normal Thursday in November to you right now, but today is actually a glorious drinking holiday: National Gin Day.
Today we gather to celebrate the martini’s best friend and everything it has contributed to the world of alcohol. With its rich history and many uses, gin has become a staple in any respectable liquor cabinet.
Gin is made from grain that has been infused with juniper berries and other botanicals. Juniper is the main flavoring component in all gins, but there are many other botanicals that can be used including anise, cinnamon, coriander seed, caraway seed and more. The most popular and common type of gin is London dry gin, but it also has competition from Dutch gin, Old Tom, and Plymouth gin. The differences are not huge, but each is unique in flavor.
It’s hard to say exactly when gin was first made because there are references to juniper-based medicines as far back as the 1200s. However, Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius usually gets the credit for the more modern form of gin that came out in the mid 17th century. Once England latched on to the drink, their enthusiasm helped it grow into what it is today.
According to Simon Ford of Food Republic, there are more classic cocktails made with gin than any other spirit. Some examples? Negroni, Ramos Gin Fizz, Martinez, Gin Rickey, Red Snapper, Tom Collins, White Lady, Hanky Panky, Clover Club, Alexander, French 75, Gimlet, Vesper, Singapore Sling, Silver Bronx, Pegu Club, Bee’s Knees, and Southside. Phew, we’re tired.
Of those classics, the Martinez is a great cold weather gin cocktail. If you’re looking for something to warm yourself up on this wonderful National Gin Day, we suggest mixing one up:
- In a large glass, combine 2 oz. Old Tom gin, 1 oz. Italian red vermouth, 1/2 tsp. maraschino liqueur, 2 dashes bitters, and 2 cups of ice.
- Stir for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Twist a strip of lemon peel over the top and drop it in.
Raise your martini glass to gin today and celebrate the botanical spirit in all its glory.