Here’s six gin-related things to know as World Gin Day approaches

It’s World Gin Day on Saturday June 13 2015.  I spoke to the organiser Gin Monkey to find out more about my favourite spirit.
There’s so much to say … so here’s Part One.


World Gin Day , Gin Monkey
Gin Monkey
Gin the know #1

Does it matter what tonic you use as a mixer?

Gin Monkey says: A well-known brand’s tagline in their marketing is: “When three-quarters of your G&T is the tonic, make sure you use the best.”

They’re right. The tonic you use is going to make a huge difference on your final gin and tonic.

Three tips

World Gin Day
Gin and tonic; and yes, choice of tonic does matter says Gin Monkey
  • Don’t equate price with quality, try the different tonics (stay away from artificially sweetened versions though) and make up your own mind.
  • Also bear in mind that certain gins may pair better with certain tonics, if your gin is punchy it might want a strongly flavoured tonic water.
  • Equally, a tip for lighter styles of gin, use a 50:50 mix of tonic water and soda water, so that the bitter flavour from the quinine in the tonic doesn’t overpower the delicate gin.
Gin the know #2

What is the difference between Plymouth Gin and London Dry Gin?

Gin Monkey replies: Plymouth gin has to be made in Plymouth and is made by one company under a trademark. London Dry Gin can be made anywhere in the world, as the term instead refers to a style and way of making gin rather than a geographical location.

Gin the know #3

Are there other kinds of gin?

Gin Monkey says: There are other styles and types of gin, the most common being Old Tom gin, a sweetened type of gin popular in the 18th century.

There’s also sloe gin, which involves macerating gin in sloe berries, and a new style of gin termed New Western used to describe small distillers, usually based in the States. Finally some gin producers have been experimenting with putting their gin in barrels to rest or age it, although there is no agreed definition for this style of gin yet.”

There are also two gins which have Geographical Indicative status as to where they are made: Gin de Mahon which must be made in the port of Mahon in Menorca, and Vilnius Gin which must be made in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Gin the know #4

How about a gin cocktail recipe that people can try at home for World Gin Day?

Gin Monkey says:  Sure, this is a twist on a classic bramble made in the bar Casita

Bramble de Casita

Ingredients: Three raspberries, two blackberries, 25ml lemon juice, 50ml gin, 10ml crème de mure (blackberry liqueur), 10ml Chambord.

Now you’re ready to make it:
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
Shake hard to ensure the berries have broken up and released their juices.
Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice.
Churn the mix with a bar spoon and top with a crushed ice ‘cap’ garnish with a lemon wedge and/or blackberries.

Gin the know #5

What makes makes gin so wonderful?

Gin Monkey says: Simple.  Its fascinating history and potential for innovation and growth.

Gin the know #6
World Gin Day - gin and tonic cake
Lemon Drizzle Gin and Tonic cake …. as made by Lis

And one final word from me .. did you know you can make gin and tonic cake?

Well yes indeed you can. A  lovely workpal Lis won an office
bake-off with this lemon gin and tonic drizzle cake.

Lis says here’s the recipe from Pudding Lane Blog.


Check out for more details on World Gin Day  or follow the hashtag #WorldGinDay on Twitter. You’ll find Gin Monkey on Twitter, and

Gin and tonic cans (and cider) destroy my January willpower

Cucumber gin and tonic review

This began as the first of my alcohol-free missives for a sensible January but sixteen words in has already become a story of cider and gin and tonic.

The reason? I lasted all of 44 hours into the New Year before my willpower began to take its leave of 2015 and I needed a quick-fix hit of gluggable refreshment.

I’m not an expert cider drinker, but sometimes it just hits the spot. After days of wines and sherry and Irish cream liqueur, a drop of cider seemed to fit the bill. I wanted cider and nothing else would do.

At least I can say that my first drink of the year was an attempt at staying healthy-ish as Sainsbury’s Low Alcohol Cider (£1.10, 500ml) is 0.9 per cent abv.

Sainsbury low alcohol cider review

When poured, it was as flat as a newly-ironed napkin. Not even a poppety-pop of a rogue solo bubble. It looked like a glass of something abandoned by a partygoer on a kitchen windowsill for three hours.

Saying that, it smelled of a good fix of sweet cider, and its amber depths delivered a decent cider taste too, but without the alcohol backdrop. Pleasant enough for non-cider experts, it would probably be good with ice cubes on a warm day. But,because of its sweetness, I couldn’t drink more than one.

In other “healthy” cider news, if you like fruit-flavoured ciders but want to cut down on calories, Magners Light is claiming to be the first low calorie cider on the market. Magners Orchard Berries Light (4% abv) has just been released and is 103 calories. Magners Pear Light ( 4.5%abv) will be following soon. They are in Tesco at £4 for a pack of four.

The cider led to the gin. Gin. Ah yes, I like gin and can’t resist temptation.

It went like this. I was browsing the shelves of my local Tesco for more low calorie ciders as a taste comparison to the aforementioned Sainsbury version but lingered by those little tins of gin (there’s a selection in Tesco for £2 each or four for the price of three).

Gin and tonic reviews
Gin and tonic reviews – a selection


Before I knew it, several premixed gins of various styles were in my basket.

The earth shook. Fellow shoppers clasped anything in the aisles for safety as my remaining Willpower hurricaned passed them out of the store.

Then later at home a Can of Gin Scientific Experiment began.

First up, straightforward G&T mixes. Some one-sentence quotes on these from me or my Other Half, and gins placed in order of preference.

Gordons Gin and Tonic:

Fresh aromas, but lacking in a lingering taste. Though very drinkable.

Tesco’s Gin and Tonic:

Lime and citrus aromas (me, I liked it) and “can’t taste the gin in that one” (said the Other Half).

Greenall’s Gin and Tonic:

Bitter and tangy, sweet and manufactured

Then onto some of the flavoured mixes. Again, in order of preference.

Gordons with a Spot of Elderflower

It’s nice that (says Other Half, with a smile). Its not in your face, with the gin coming gently through.

*Warning: this one is very very easy to drink

Gordons with a Hint of Cucumber

Just tastes like bland tonic water, no real taste, no passion. (Says Other Half). Though I’ve moved this up to second in the list because the gentle cucumber lift appealed to me.

Greenalls Gin and Pink Grapefruit

No escaping the clouds of grapefruit aromas. Dusky pink colour. Very sweet; as sweet as the sugar topping on halfgrapefruit and a Glacé cherry at a 70s wedding reception.

Warner Edwards gin reviews

As an aside, my favourite little gin cocktail came from a mixed gift pack of Warner Edwards gins (£18,

As part of our taste testing I clicked open one of the 5cl miniatures, the Warner Edwards Elderflower Infused Gin bottle, and muddled with tonic water. It blew the others out of the water in aroma, taste, depth and all-round loveliness.

At an equivalent of £6 a miniature (the others were sloe gin and Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin, you’d hope that would be the case. Still, its my favourite gin discovery of the last 12 months.

Published in the saturday extra magazine January 10, 2015

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express