The Sunshine Jen Institute of Gin Studies was founded in 2004 with a very simple mandate: Drink More Gin.
This mandate was revised in 2005 to: Drink Lotsa Lotsa Gin.
After following that mandate for the last twelve months, the Institute is pleased to release its first report in the field of Gin Studies.
Last week, two of our scientists, Dr. Mart Tinidry and Dr. Olive Ortwist, performed two gin tasting experiments whose results not only reinforce already known data but have THE CAPACITY TO BREAK OPEN THE FIELD OF GIN STUDIES NOW AND IN THE FUTURE!!! GLORY HALLELUJAH!
We apologize for our capitalization. We're a weeee bit toasty.
On the lab table in front of us were four brands of gin. From the great land of Scotland, coming in at 88 proof, not a gin for everybody, Hendricks. From San Francisco, stilled in a copper pot, the result of years of experimentation, Junipero. Also, from No Cal, infused with exotic fruits and spices, for those who drink after 2:09, Gin No. 209. Finally, in the control position, from England, quadruple distilled, always in moderation, Tanqueray.
The first taste was a blind taste test. Faithful Lab Assistant, Igor, lined up four martini glasses on the lab table. Each martini glass contained a different gin. The name of each gin was written on a card face down under each martini glass.
Drs Tinidry and Ortwist sipped each gin and commented on nose, color (in all cases clear), and overall taste. Between gins, the Drs ate pretzels and drank water to cleanse the palate.
The first gin had a nose of pine trees mixed with rubbing alcohol. Its taste came on aggressive which led Dr. Ortwist to remark ‘that sure is some hooch'. This gin turned out to be that old warhorse, the Tanqueray.
The second gin tasted had a great nose and a complex taste with lots of action. Like a gymnast doing a floor exercise, it was quick, strong, nimble, but balanced and flexible. Dr. Tinidry liked it immensely. This gin was the Hendricks.
The third gin was interesting. Both Doctors detected a slight hint of lavender in the nose. The taste was very berry and sweet. It was nice to sip. It turned out to be No. 209.
On the final blind tasting, both Doctors were absolutely certain that the gin in question was the Tanqueray. It had no nose and had very little happening to it. It turned out this gin was the Junipero.
For the second tasting, a spritz of dry vermouth was added to each glass in order to simulate martini conditions. This is when things got really interesting.
The Junipero, which seemed to have very little happening on its own, opened up with the vermouth and embraced it like a long lost lover to become a martini of great clarity and taste. Dr. Tinidry declared it ‘yummy' (see also, Dr. Tinidry's Book of Alcohol Poetry).
The Hendricks did a little dance with the vermouth. Like Fred and Ginger, they danced cheek to cheek and never missed a step. They were perfect in that classic cinema kind of way.
The Control Tanqueray sat nicely in its control role to become a good basic martini. It's like the Mike Mussina of gins---nothing flashy, good quality, dependable.
No. 209 was a big surprise in the martini tasting. It is such a diva gin that it totally clashed with the vermouth to make a martini that was all over the place. If this martini was a dress on Project Runway, the designer would be out.
But we at the Institute of Gin Studies believe in No. 209's talent. Dr. Ortwist continued to experiment with No. 209. Finally, she found a suitable partner for No. 209. She coated the inside of a martini glass with Jameson Whiskey, chilled No. 209, and poured it in straight. Nothing else was added, no twist, no olive. The Jameson and the 209 got along incredibly well. They subdued each other a bit, but created a nice blend. Sometimes, all a good gin needs is the right partner.
As for our conclusions, well, all gin is good. It's just a matter of finding the right context.