Get your geek on!
No one could have predicted the meteoric rise of gin over the last five years: craft distilleries are booming, discerning gin quaffers are demanding pink grapefruit and black pepper over lemon, and you can even receive your favourite gin in the post.
But punters aren’t content to just sip on their Tanquerays and cucumber as the bubbles of a fine Fever Tree tonic burst upon their tastebuds, they’re thirsty for knowledge – they want to know about the copper still, the botanicals, the right ratio of tonic to gin and which garnish goes where.
Step forward the gin writer. Yes, it’s a job, before you squirm with jealousy. So much so that writing about the stuff has almost become a genre in its own right. Generous as we are at Curio, we’ve selected the top ten books about gin to guide you through the barmy botanicals and the trendy tonics. Enjoy.
Gin: Shake, Muddle, Stir by Dan Jones.
From punches to aperitifs, teas to martinis, Dan can transform a single bottle of gin into over 60 different drinks. From the classic to the hipster, the Gimlet to the Pink Lady, the Negroni to the Rhubarb Sparkler, he’ll even share his secret syrup recipes so that you’ll be the life and soul of any gin gathering. Get your head round Dan’s cocktail repertoire and you’ll be doing a lot less muddling and a whole lot more shakin’ at your next party!
The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace by Tristan Stephenson
Tristan was considered one of the best bartenders in the world and has now moved on to opening critically-acclaimed bars around the world, as well as having trained up bartenders at The Ritz and set up his own drinks consultancy business. The Gin Palace covers the history of gin, the science and alchemy of production and flavour, as well as a dozen cocktails and a tour of some of the most best gin distilleries. This is a real insider’s guide to one of our most exciting drinks right now.
The Drunken Botanist
The perfect gift for gin lovers and those who like to throw cocktail parties, Amy will prep you with anecdotes, facts and titbits about the botanical history and chemistry of over 150 plants, trees, flower and fruits. From cultivation to distilling and cocktail recipes, her passion for gin and horticulture feeds through in an engaging writing style which makes this book a pleasure to read.
The Little Book of Gin Cocktails
If you want to go straight to the drinking and skip the history, then this little reference book ticks the box for you. Each recipe is given a brief intro before getting down to the nitty-gritty – what and how. From Classics to Exotics, Coolers and Fizzers to High Spirits, this straight-talking reference book should never be far from any gin lover’s kitchen.
Gin: The Manual
Take 120 gins and try them four ways, then rate them and you have The Manual.
In what can only have been a very arduous task (!) Dave tested each gin with tonic, with lemonade, in a negroni and in a martini, scoring the result. He then used a very clever flavour system to identify the core properties of each gin, how best to drink, and therefore enjoy it. So essentially, you get to make the most out of a bottle of gin, guided by an expert who will turn your amateur gin-ing into a much more professional pursuit of pleasure!
Diffordsguide to Gin by Simon Difford
This is the gin geek’s holy grail. Detailed, comprehensive, beautifully presented, it definitely ticks the gift box for that special gin-lover in your life. The detail is unrivalled in any other book to date and covers cocktails, history and distilleries. At the back of the book is a catalogue of over 175 different gins with essential info, tasting notes and reviews from Simon himself. Definitely one to read if you want to wow party guests with your extensive gin-ery.
Craze: Gin and Debauchery in the Age of Reason by Jessica Warner
The rise of gin from pauper’s tipple to posh beverage is irresistible. And yes it is about that Hogarth print, depicting the debauched Gin Lane from 1751 and the culmination of what has become known as ‘the gin craze’ (where was that in my GCSE history lessons?!). It turns out that the association of gin with depravity was a conspiracy by none other than the breweries but you’ll have to read it to unravel the mystery. And yes, about one in four houses in areas such as East London would have had their own family gin still. Result.
The Book of Gin: A Spirited World History by Richard Barnett
Find out the real reason why gin became the bosom buddy of quinine, where the phrase ‘Dutch Courage’ actually comes from, as well as the phrase, ‘a bitter pill to swallow’ and you begin to get an idea of what Barnett’s book is about. Referred to as the ‘one-stop shop’ for gin, Barnett has written a reference book about gin history, right from its roots right through to Prohibition. He is engaging and passionate but if you want cocktails, this is not the gin book for you. Who knew that juniper is also a flea-repellent?
Gin and Tonic: The Complete Guide for the Perfect Mix
Tonic has been around since the late 17th / early 18th centuries and considering that over two-thirds of all gin drunk is consumed with tonic then a guide to tonic tasting and gin matching seems fairly essential reading. And if you thought that Schweppes, Fever Tree and Fentimanns had the market cornered then you’re wrong. The artisanal tonic is sprinting to catch up with the craze for craft gins and there are even alternatives to the conventional cocktail, for example, tonic syrup is making a comeback: a shot of syrup, a shot of gin, a top up of soda and you’re drinking a historical version of the classic G&T.
And finally: Gin: the much-lamented Death of Madam Geneva by Patrick Dillon
We couldn’t resist the title of this historical jaunt through the social, economic and political consequences of the gin craze in the UK. Who’d have thunk that what seems such a conventional pre-dinner whistle-wetter could have been the source of such scandal? And it’s all here, from the introduction of jenever (or juniper) to the UK through to the implementation and repeal of the Gin Acts. This is easy-to-read history that will add extra drama to your next G&T.
Has this given you a thirst? Buy our Rock Samphire Gin or Tyler-Street online!