|"This day at the beach was the bee's knees! Now let's get fuc*ed up on Gin Shandies!"|
I discovered the Gin Shandy last summer. At the time I was making a lot of fresh lemonade and sun-brewed iced tea, plus I was drinking a lot of ginger beer. Therefore it was important to find a cocktail using as many of these items at once as possible without just mixing them together, pouring in some liquor, and hoping for the best.
I must diverge off course for moment and say that the Gin and Tonic has long been my favorite summer-time beverage - as I'm sure it is for a lot of other people too. The relentless sun and heat can quickly sap one's energy, leaving little energy for fancy cocktail nonsense. Mojito's need to muddle, Margarita's need to blend, but the simplicity of the Gin and Tonic (gin, tonic water, and a slice of lime served over ice) is probably why it has long reigned as king of the summer cocktail.
Fortunately, the Gin Shandy is also pretty simple:
Gin: Ginger Beer : Lemonade (3:6:4)
Serve over ice.
However, as in any cocktail, the spirit that is used is perhaps the most important ingredient. Therefore, you'll have to ask yourself: "Which Gin?"
Unlike most spirits, no two gins are alike. Now I don't mean to imply that I'm the kind of person that will say "vodka is vodka" or "any whiskey'll do!" - because I'm not that guy (in case you haven't noticed from reading this blog). What I mean is that gins only have one flavor in common, juniper berries - other than that, gin distillers can use a variety of botanicals (herbs and spices) to give their gin a distinctive flavor. Therefore if you want to start drinking gin cocktails, try a few out before deciding on "any ol' gin." My preferred gin is Broker's Dry Gin. This is not to say there are not other gins I like, but the juniper aromas are much stronger in Broker's than in some other gins. The other botanicals can sometimes compete with or overpower the juniper flavor in gins. While these may make for some interesting gins, I want that fresh pine aroma of juniper to really be the strongest - that's why it's gin!
The most recent batch of Gin Shandies I made included Bombay Sapphire instead of Broker's. I was on my way to a party and had all I needed - except the gin. Broker's was unavailable at the store I stopped in so I purchased Bombay Sapphire because it has a nice citrus aroma - I thought it would go well with the lemonade. It was delicious, but it wasn't my usual gin so it wasn't as good as previous shandies - and that's the trouble with gin: not any ol' gin will do. This is why it is important to find the gin that works for you. It will be a long and arduous process but it will worth it in the end.
..and when you do find your gin, make sure to make a gin shandy too.