THE great British drinks cabinet is never busier than at Christmas as people mark the festive season by indulging in their favourite tipple.
Gin is one of Wales’ favourite Christmas spirits, with 27% choosing it as a festive drink according to new research from Drinks by the Dram, along with whisky (23%) and cream liqueurs such as Baileys (33%).
Looking back through the year, the survey showed that Wales’ top five spirits to drink over the past 12 months have been gin (30%), vodka (31%), whisky (28%), cream liqueurs (23%) and rum (16%).
Gin has been the big winner among spirit-drinking Brits, with sales in the UK reaching £1.6bn in the year ending June 2018, up 38% on the previous year.
However, the survey also reveals that 43% of drinkers in Wales feel they are in the dark when it comes to spirits.
Those surveyed said they want to know more about spirits, so they can make a more informed choice when buying a bottle – and impress friends with their new-found knowledge.
But how can Brits learn more about their favourite spirits without having to splash out on full bottles?
Drinks by the Dram create tasting sets of 1000s of spirits so that people can try as many different brands as possible.
Their range of Advent calendars filled with wax-sealed 30ml drams are perfect for spirit lovers who want to learn more about their favourite tipple.
To help Brits understand more about their spirits, the That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar contains 24 different types of gin for you to try.
And Drinks by the Dram have teamed up with gin expert and author David T Smith to compile a top 10 bluffer’s guide to becoming a ‘gin-noisseur’ this Christmas:
- Impress your friends by throwing around the following words when sampling a gin – ‘floral’, ‘herbal’, ‘spicy’, ‘fruity’, ‘citrus’ and ‘juniper’ to describe the flavour
- Garnish your gin with grapefruit, apple or strawberry. Limes work well with sweeter gins, while lemons drier versions
- Freeze slices of citrus beforehand to serve with your guests’ gin
- Pre-chill your glasses in the freezer – the key to a great long mixed drink is to keep it cold
- Use the biggest glasses that can hold the most ice – the more ice you have, the longer it will take to melt. Two ice cubes will create a watery drink
- 41% of gin lovers always go for a straight G&T – instead try gin with sparkling water and a dash of Angostura bitters
- Or, surprise your guests with a drink that has been around for 100 years and is known as ‘The Southern Exposure’ – gin and cola
- For ideal food pairing with gin, choose olives or cashew nuts
- For dessert, create a White Cargo – a simple mixture of gin and vanilla ice cream
- And if you really want to find out what a gin tastes like – just drink it neat.
Mr Smith said:
“I think it’s good to get used to drinking neat gin as it’s a great way to understand the flavours that a gin has to offer, which can help when creating drinks or choosing garnishes.
“Trying different styles and flavours of gin helps to understand the basic flavours and which are best for you, which is why the Drinks by the Dram tasting sets and Advent calendars are perfect.
“A connoisseur is open to all gins – both budget varieties and the more expensive; what they are on the hunt for is the surprising, the innovative, and these often come about from the most unlikely places.
“The true connoisseur realises how much they have yet to learn about gin.”