Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event called The Gin Lab. Being that I don’t have much knowledge about gin compared to other spirits, I figured it would be a great event for me to attend and learn a thing or two.
This event was held at Sbraga in Philadelphia. I had never been there before, but I’ve heard great things about the venue so I was even more excited to attend this event. When I arrived, I was late, but I don’t think I missed too much from the start of the event. I seemed to arrive when the brand rep was explaining the history and process of making gin.
I learned a lot that I never knew about gin, especially about how essential Juniper is in making Gin. I think its fair to say that its as important as when making whiskey and they types and treatment of the casks that make the spirit as great as it is. I also learned that in making gin your own, there are endless combinations of Juniper and herbs and fruits, in terms of what can be added to it in order to make it something supremely unique.
To start with our hands-on portion of the educational process, we sampled 3 different types of gin by Tanqueray. Among the 3 were Tanqueray London Dry (original), Tanqueray 10, and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin (pictured above). If you can’t see in the picture, (I listed the tasting notes in each) It was a bit hard for me to distinguish exactly what I was tasting in each so I just went with what it felt like to me or what it reminded me of. Tanqueray London Dry, I tasted woody/oak notes and various types of sour/tart fruits. In Tanqueray 10 I picked up scents of floral notes and tasted light hints of juniper, and an essence of some sweet that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In the Nolet Silver I kept tasting a lot of floral notes and citrus. the scent smelled a biton the sweet side kinda similar to candy and at the same time was “perfumey”. (yes I know that is not a word)
After tasting the 3 I can say that I preferred the Nolet’s Silver overall mainly because it felt like it finished smoother and seemed to have a fruitier/sweetness to it instead of the spicy notes that I was picking up in the original Tanqueray. Next fav out of the 3 would be the Tanqueray 10 because of the scent that I picked up before it touched my lips. The scent was very floral and almost minty. It was very refreshing and more palatable than the other Tanqueray.
After that exercise of the tasting I could more so see what it is about each gin that I liked. I obviously prefer the fruit notes of gin, and with our next exercise in the lab, we were able to make our own gin via a whipped cream dispenser.
yep….a whipped cream dispenser
So, with the whipped cream dispenser it was totally new to me, but apparently not to a lot of other people, that you could use it for infusing gin with whatever botanicals, fruits, herbs, etc. (mind blown). To do this we were paired with the person that sat across from us and we picked 2 ingredients that we wanted to make our gin with. I selected Jasmine and Lime and my partner selected Thai Chili and Sage (sounds interesting right?!)
So we went to the foraging table (pictured above) and selected our items and Juniper. Came back to our table to add in our distilled spirit and charged it in our whipped cream dispenser and after straining it into a wine glass… viola!
Behold, our one of a kind custom made in the the Gin Lab, GIN!
I loved the way it tastes. Before sipping it, you could smell the Jasmine and the lime. Upon tasting it you could really taste the earthy-ness of the sage and the citrus of the lime. The Thai Chili showed up as a nice spicy finish that made for a more developed taste in my opinion.
Once we finished sampling our Gin, the true test came when it was included in a gin and tonic cocktail and honestly, I think it held up great. Unfortunately, when added it with ice and tonic, the jasmine scent went away, and the earthy notes from the sage seemed to be less noticeable, but the lime and the chili stayed and made an awesome flavor profile.
And that was the event in a nutshell!
Would I consider myself a fan of gin now? No, but I definitely have gained a new appreciation and a lot of knowledge for it. I feel like I can now offer more recommendations to clients of Pour Models and friends who are looking for something new to drink or something with a bit more customization and uniqueness to it compared to the popular spirits. Im currently, in the process of learning more about these whipped cream dispensers so I can get one of my own and start doing some things with other flavor ideas I have for gin. Who knows, I might have to start the process of making my own gin one day!