I like to imagine myself sitting on a patio drinking martinis with Winston Churchill and arguing over the amount of vermouth to add, or having Ernest Hemingway break down the beautiful Spanish style in which to present a gin and tonic. We could all give Bond, James Bond, a hard time for ordering his vespers shaken, not stirred. Sorry James, you have a lot of skills but drink preparation isn’t one of them. You are ordering a watered down version of something that could be delicious. Phyllis Diller would even mock him endlessly for ruining what she considered her only true religion—straight gin. I digress.
Gin, has been in the hand of many a hero, real or fictional alike. It’s run the gamut of popularity, to poison, to stigmatized, to illegal to trendy again as if everyone is discovering it for the first time. Classic cocktails are all a buzz again, and I wonder if William Hogarth who created the famous engraving “Gin Lane” would be entertained to watch all of his local bartenders reinvent the Bees Knees.
It has so saturated our culture that we cannot even disassociate bathtubs from it. Luckily, thanks to several varying health code requirements this isn’t the go to method for distilling anymore, but it’s good to know how in a pinch. Gin so embodies where it comes from given it’s botanical make up, that it can be as English as the Queen, as American as apple pie or Scottish as the hills. Gin always has a story. Maybe that’s why so many writers enjoy it so thoroughly.
The new world and old world walk side by side with gin. So many bars now offer their GINventions along with the tried and true staples. When I’m in New York, my tried and true location for all things gin is THE WINSLOW. It’s an American bar fashioned after a traditional British public house. They do botanical pairings with all of their gins of which they boast over forty different brands and styles. I can order one of their many seasonal creations or a martini (stirred, James, for the last time) and imagine myself sitting between Dorothy Parker and William Faulkner while they argue over who could out drink whom. My money is on Dorothy.
C.M. Moorhead – Is a writer, author and lives in New York City.