It's Time You Start Liking Gin

It's Time You Start Liking Gin

When I discovered one of my closest friends not only isn't a fan of Gin, but actively hates it, I knew something had to change (my friend… not the Gin, never the Gin). I took it as a personal challenge to find some Gin drinks she’d enjoy. Easing her into it and finding something she’d like was all part of the fun.

So here they are - the best Gins and mixers for people who don’t like Gin.

Psst, we’ll let you into a secret: people who say they dislike Gin are often mistaken. It’s the bitterness of the tonic they dislike, what with Gin most commonly being served with its quinine-laced partner in a Gin & Tonic.

Sloe Gin

With that in mind, why not try something sweeter? Sloe Gin is a great place to start. Technically a liqueur, the sugar content makes it palatable for even the biggest Gin hater. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or, for those with less of a sweet tooth, offset the syrupy texture with a citrusy lemon tonic or real lemonade.

People who say they dislike Gin are often mistaken. It’s usually the bitterness of the tonic they dislike in the Gin & tonic.

Flavoured tonics

On the subject of lemon tonic - for those who aren't big fans of quinine, this makes a refreshing change, especially when paired with a citrus-led Gin (such as 6 O’clock Gin, the new Eureka Citrus Gin from aficionados Williams Chase, or even Hayman’s).

Flavoured tonics - Photo: Flickr/ laquenellenyc

Mediterranean tonic, like the one produced by Fever-Tree, has a more punchy flavour and is more similar to a traditional Indian tonic water than the other tonics mentioned here. It works with oily Gins such as Gin Mare, which has olives, basil and rosemary in its extensive list of botanicals. A delight for fans of herbal flavours.

Another option is elderflower tonic - a great match for light, floral Gins. Gin with elderflower tonic - Photo: Flickr/ Urvashi RoeIt makes a truly delicate drink when paired with Bloom Gin or Tarquin’s, garnished with strawberries, or even violets.

Our top tip is: find a tonic you like before adding the Gin. Get used to the flavour before pairing it with anything else, so you can be confident that it's something you like, rather than discounting the G&T altogether.

Gin ‘n’ Juice

Make like Snoop Dogg and try your Gin with fruit juice instead. For fans of bitter citrus flavours, grapefruit works especially well (especially with a squeeze of fresh lime for extra tang).

Otherwise, a cranberry and orange juice mix is delicious. To make a lighter, more thirst-quenching drink, add half the fruit juice and top with soda water (store gently to mix without losing the fizz).

Gin brands for people who don't like Gin

Technically, to be classed as a London Dry Gin (the most common type), it must be a distilled grain spirit with juniper as the predominant favour. There are other stipulations of course, and you can read more about different Gin classifications here.

This juniper flavour may also be the stumbling block for people who say they don't like Gin. Hendrick's Gin - Photo: Flickr/ MaventheavengerPersonally, I love a juniper-heavy Gin; something punchy and bold. But they're not for everyone.

Gin novices should try Hendrick’s, paired with elderflower tonic and garnished with cucumber to bring out its delicate flavour. The best bit? You'll find it in any bar worth its salt, so give it a go the next time you can't decide on what to drink.

By the way, Flaviar offers amazing Gin-themed subscription boxes, including premium and rare brands. Perfect for true connoisseurs of the juniper spirit!

Another, more complex Gin to try is Monkey 47. It’s growing rapidly in popularity, so get in there quick. This Gin has, yep, you guessed it, 47 botanicals, meaning it works well with almost any mixer. Try it with a tonic, sure, but this also works with with a simple rose syrup and soda water.

For a classic Gin cocktail that's hard not to love, try a Tom Collins.

Another tip: find a Gin that suits your palate (be it floral, citrus, or herbal led) and combine in a highball glass with lots of ice, fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup before topping with soda water. The traditional recipe calls for three parts Gin, one part fresh lemon juice and one part sugar syrup, but by playing around with measures and different Gin styles, you'll soon find one what works for you. This simple, refreshing drink is almost impossible not to enjoy.

Photo: Flickr/ Tanya Kompanetz

Still not sure what style of Gin you think you’ll like? The Flaviar Gin O’Clock Tasting Box means you can try three different styles of Gin, without forking out for the entire bottles.

As for my friend, she’s a convert to Sloe Gin and lemon tonic. The sweetness mixed with the sharpness of lemon makes for a great drink it’s hard not to love. My next challenge? Get her onto cocktails with London Dry Gin. It’s unlikely she’ll ever order a Dry Martini, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere...

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