Last night, in honour of World Gin Day, I tried a new (to me) gin; No. 3 London Dry Gin. It’s that one in the dark green bottle with a silver key set into to the front. It appears to be named for the original address of the distillery, 3 St James Rd, London, but according to the bottle it is now distilled and bottled in Holland. Which I guess is appropriate as it is the original home of gin.
I have developed a bit of a method for tasting new gins, I’m sure it’s not the right way, if there even is such a thing, but it works for me. I taste a few drops of the gin straight to see what I can taste, then I work out how I want to drink it: a martini? Gin and tonic? An experimental cocktail? No.3 tastes most strongly of cardamom, which I love.
When I was growing up, my Dad’s favourite cake was a cardamom coffee cake, which he was only allowed to have once a year for his birthday as my mother was so horrified at the amount of butter in it. I, on the other hand, spent years and years as a child trying to figure out why it didn’t have coffee in it!
I also spent a bit of time in India as a child and I loved ilayaci (Hindi for cardamom) cream biscuits, spiced chai and kulfi (pistachio and cardamom ice cream). Even though cardamom is a curry spice, I associate it with sweets. So I chose to mix it with a wee splash of St Germain elderflower liqueur, stirred with ice, served in a purple martini glass with burnt lime peel. On a cold winter night it was beautifully warming, yet with the spicy-sweet balance of cardamom, elderflower and lime it had a freshness that kept me up well past bedtime.