Be the host with the most (gin) and throw the best gin soaked party ever with these top tips and ideas.
If you’re a gin lover then the only problem with Gin Festival is that it doesn’t happen every weekend. Why not bring the gin fuelled fun home, it’s easy! Get started with these tips and spread the craft gin love.
1. GET YOUR BASICS READY
Gin, you need the gin. There are so many different shapes, sizes and flavours out there you’re spoilt for choice. If you fancy trying the contemporary, more fruity craft gins go for Tinker or Brockmans. More of a traditionalist? Try Burleigh’s London Dry or Premium Harrogate Gin. Perhaps you have a sweet tooth, if so give the sloe gins and gin liqueurs a try. We love the new Zymurgorium Quince and Jamaican Ginger Gin Liqueur and all the PJ Gins; Apple, Elderflower and Raspberry.
Our 3 for 2 offer means you can get one of each, after all variety is the spice of life!
2. MIXER IT UP
Obviously, the G&T is a classic and there are many fab tonics, but don’t stop there. Did you know, lots of people who don’t like a G&T actually don’t like the tonic, as it is bitter. Try it with soda water, lemonade or ginger ale and you’ll never look back. After all, the recommended ratio of gin to mixer is 1:4 and if 3/4 of your drink is mixer, then make sure you’re using the right one (just keep it away from coke!). We beg of you, don’t be tempted to go cheap on tonic, a bad tonic can ruin a great gin!
3. GET FRUITY WITH GARNISH
Garnish can absolutely transform your drink. It’s not just a pretty face, it adds flavour and aroma. The trick is to match the garnish to the right gin. Take a look at the gin description (online, on the back of the bottle, wherever) and look at the botanicals. For example, lots of gins have citrus as a botanical, especially London Dry’s, so adding lemon, lime or orange will give the citrus flavour a boost. Or, Boe Violet is packed full of berries, adding blueberries will bring out that flavour. Find out more in our Guide to Gin Garnish blog.
4. SHAKE UP SOME COCKTAILS
The flavour of an individual gin absolutely shines in a G&T, but gin has also always been a cocktail superstar. From the use of spices and fruit juice to disguise the flavour of “bathtub gin” during prohibition, to the elegant sophistication of the Savoy Hotel Cocktail Bar. So we’ve collected together 5 classic gin cocktail recipes that are really easy for anyone to make with very little equipment or preparation. Give them a try and impress your guests.
5. PRE-BATCH THOSE BAD BOYS
Of course the problem with making cocktails is the time spent making them rather than enjoying the party yourself. Fortunately there is an easy solution, batch it! Make up a big batch that can be prepared before the party starts and then let your guests help themselves. We’ve collected 5 big batch cocktail recipes for you to try that are ideal for gin parties.
6. SET A THEME
People love a theme at a party. It’s a great excuse to dress up and it makes the whole affair more memorable, plus, you get much better looking photos to instagram later!
Gin lends itself to plenty of fun themes. You could host a throwback speakeasy vibe with jazz, lounge suits, flapper dresses and plenty of cocktails. Then there’s an English Garden Fete with bunting, grass and plenty of easy G&T’s. A boozy tea party is a great excuse to break out the vintage dress, and use the posh china, while serving up some sublime punches.
7. DRINK TO A THEME
Combine tip 1 and idea 6 by choosing a gin holiday theme. Wish you were sunning yourself in the USofA? Choose the American Gin Collection, have a wild west dress code, decorate your home with the stars and stripes, serve up a BBQ and instantly transport yourself. On more of a budget? Our Gin Festival in a Box range is a cost effective way to get all the gin, mixers and glasses you’ll need for your gin party.
8. ICE, ICE BABY!
For a long drink like a G&T, or practically any cocktail, especially on a balmy summer evening, ice is essential! Cooling a drink helps the more subtle botanicals shine. And let’s face it, it’s just nicer to drink a nice cold drink than a warm and sticky one.
The big trick to ice is to make big cubes: Big cubes=smaller surface area=slower melt. Slower melting means less dilution of your drink and more time to enjoy a pristine cocktail. If you haven’t got the space, chuck out those old fish fingers and mixed vegetables, remember gin is important.
9. G&T ICE LOLLIES
Go the extra mile and make G&T ice lollies or ice cubes with our tasty recipe. It’s actually really quick and really easy and makes you look like you’ve made an extra special effort for very little work!
10. FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Every party needs canapes to nibble on between sips. Gin is a hugely flexible drink when it comes to food pairings and really any party snacks you can think of will be fine so long as they aren’t too powerfully aromatic. If you really want to go wild with the gin theme why not try some ginfused food like a gin and tonic tart or gin & tonic cake!
11. CREATE SOME AMBIANCE
What’s a party without music? Not to worry though, we’ll get you started with our ultimate gin playlist.
Gin & Juice - Snoop dogg
Liquid Lunch - Caro Emerald
Gin Soaked Boy - Tom Waits
Love is Like a bottle of Gin - The Magnetic Fields
Gin - Tiger Lillies
12. GET THE GLASSES RIGHT
If you’re serving gin you’re going to need the proper gin glasses to show off what gin can do. We always use Spanish-style balloon copa glasses at our festivals because they’re ideal for a gin and a tonic. The stem keeps your hands away from the drink, keeping it cooler for longer; the curved bowl captures the aromas of the gin and garnish, intensifying the flavour and the large bowl has enough space for big cubes of ice which melt more slowly.
13. INVEST IN SOME GEAR
You don’t need a cocktail set to throw a cocktail party but it does help and will make you feel like a proper mixologist. The basic set of shaker, spoon and jigger is a great investment for any gin lover. A jigger (tool for measuring shots) is particularly useful, since it will help you get the ratio of gin to tonic correct.
14. SAVOUR THE FLAVOUR
If you want to try more a of a formal tasting than a casual party then here is a good checklist of how to properly taste gin.
Select a glass with curved sides. The curved sides capture the aromas of the gin to let you smell (nose) it.
Pour the neat gin into the glass, ice dilutes the pure flavour.
Swirl the glass, this mixes some oxygen with the spirit and releases the aromas.
Hold the glass to your nose and appreciate the smell. Don’t give a big sniff, this draws in too much and can overpower your sense of smell entirely. The aromas most commonly associated with gin are citrus, fruit, floral, earth, spice, sweetness and wood.
Sip the gin. The first sip should be pleasant, warm and smooth. Try and pick out the same aromas you smelled before and see what else is there. Gins can have up to 50 different botanicals and many common ones include citrus, liquorice, cinnamon, aniseed, fruits, herbs like rosemary, etc. You should be able to detect piney juniper but is it on the tongue or towards the back of the mouth?
Add a little plain water. This will reduce the alcohol content of the gin and release the other botanical flavours. Sip the gin again. How has the flavour changed? What other flavours can you detect now?
15. AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS BUT YOU MIGHT
If you are doing a proper tasting then provide pen and paper:
1. It makes a game of it - write down what you taste, compare notes and laugh at the bad guesses!
2. Let’s face it, who remembers which gins they liked at a tasting and why (especially if you’re drinking every measure rather than simply tasting) so having a record will help jog everyone’s memory!
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