As the days get longer I’m reminded that winter in Los Angeles is a fleeting feeling. The buds on my maple are beginning to burst, and the lavender in my garden is in bloom. El Niño surely has more in store, but spring is in the air. Winter may be brief In LA, but spring turns to summer quicker than you can say Gin and Tonic. Which isn’t to imply that a Gin and Tonic is a cocktail to be rushed. In fact a proper Gin and Tonic is a fragrant sipper that can feel like warm weather in a glass. All you need are a few aromatics and excellent gin. I’ve chosen Martin Miller’s Gin.
Martin Miller’s Gin – England Distilled Iceland Chilled
Martin Miller’s Gin is a brand of “super premium” gin. It’s won more awards than any other gin AND it’s the most expensive gin in the world to produce. It’s distilled in England using the most traditional methods possible. The ingredients are sourced across the wide world: water from Iceland, juniper from India, cassia bark from China and iris from Italy. Yet its price point among super premium gin brands is a fairly friendly $29 a bottle.
It comes in either an 80 proof version or a 90 proof “Westbourne Strength” (a nod to its Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill genesis). The ingredients in each version are pretty much identical, though the Westbourne Strength balances these botanicals to produce a punchier gin that is well-suited to the palates of gin lovers.
Martin Miller’s Gin
I was sent a bottle of each variety and asked to feature a cocktail highlighting the gin’s best qualities – which in my opinion is the aromatic botanicals found in the 90 proof Westbourne Strength.
As I said this is a true gin lovers gin and, as the weather warms here in LA, there’s no better way to feature really excellent gin than in a really excellent Gin and Tonic. I know you’re familiar with the humble Gin and Tonic. It’s a dive bar staple that, in the English tradition, is typically served in a tall glass – brutishly slapped with a big whack of citrus. It’s a satisfying classic because even those with questionable drink-pouring skills can manage to put together something quaffable.
However a really excellent Gin and Tonic can be constructed more carefully – each addition deftly chosen to highlight the delicate aromas in really excellent gin. This is a Gin and Tonic in the Spanish style. Known across España simply as Gin-Tonic (no AND needed).
The Spanish take their Gin-Tonic very seriously. It is the undisputed king of highballs. There are entire bars solely devoted to the art of this drink. Refreshing and nuanced, the Spanish-style Gin-Tonic is a carefully balanced blend of gin, tonic, herbs, seasonal fruit and/or citrus peels. It’s a cocktail that takes a culinary approach. However, these aromatics are not intended to mask or alter the allure of the gin. Rather, they’re gracefully chosen to compliment or act as a counterpoint to the gin itself. Serving to augment the gin’s finer points – especially its aroma. Ingredients can be stirred in and/or artfully arrayed on the rim a wide-mouthed glass. Spaniards recognize that a stemmed wine glass is best suited for delivering the quality and intensity of the gin’s botanical perfume. GREG
I was sent samples of Martin Miller’s gin. All opinions are my own.