It's world gin day on the 11th June, yes I know some marketing genius has dreamt this up, but still it's a good excuse for a tipple of this delicious spirit. Gin is having a fashionable renaissance at the moment with a thriving industry, 70% of it supposedly made in Scotland, generating £1.76 billion of value to the UK economy.
Buried deep inside the walls of The Savoy Hotel's American Bar lies a 90 year-old cocktail shaker filled with Plymouth Gin, Cointreau and lemon juice: The White Lady cocktail. It was lovingly laid down in 1927 by Harry Craddock - then head bartender - during an Art Deco refurb at the height of the Jazz Age. But despite many attempts to locate the ancient silver vessel, it has never been found.
After the dry month of January had faded - and with it the nation's annual attempt at sobriety - I wrote about a number of craft distilleries on the London doorstep. It became something of an enjoyable learning curve, as I ginned up on the social carnage of the Gin Craze of the early 18th century and beyond.
I love a good cocktail. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at ordering them and nine times out of ten, what looks great on the menu turns out to be florescent pink and arrives topped with the entire contents of a can of spray cream. And glitter. Not exactly the sophisticated look I would like to project, but one I can't seem to escape.
Rain that fell on Iceland anything from 500-1000 years ago is only now being drunk - and some of it in gin and tonics. The rain that lands on lava rocks slowly soaks beneath the surface, and so dense and extensive are the layers of rock that the rainwater takes several hundred years to drip through.
The Secret Garden is one of the most refreshing and delicious drinks we've tasted recently; served in a coupe glass, the combination of Beefeater 24 Gin, Midori and cucumber makes for a pretty pale green coloured drink with a frothy egg white top and a sprig of thyme garnish. It's practically summer in a glass.
A sense of value is a funny thing. Good value definitely doesn't always mean cheap. This'll be plainly obvious to all of us having bought a cheaper alternative to only find it break on first use. It however, also certainly doesn't mean the most expensive - there are plenty of products on the market that are simply there to exploit those with more money than sense.
Here is a list of five gins it might be worth having, giving reason and usage for each. Sure, no one needs five gins at home, but if you're buying one, trying one, or simply trying to ascertain where your tastes lie, it's worth bearing in mind that each one is different and has its own character. I've included five easy to find gins.