Whilst craft beer, tequila and mezcal are having a moment, gin continues to be the perpetual tipple of choice for post-work drinkers and weekend party-goers.
This summer, as we flock to enjoy the sun in our gardens and favourite rooftop bars, gin will dominate for another season. However, we wanted to find out how you can stay ahead of the curve when enjoying your favourite tipple in the weeks ahead. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.
We spoke to Gareth Irvine, the founder of Copeland Spirits, a Co. Down based company that produces a range of flavoured gins celebrating fruits and herbs all grown right here in Ireland. He has shared his insight into the cool and the not-so-cool of gin for summer 2018.
1. Keep it country
Irvine says, “Provenance has always been a huge part of the gin trend with consumers connecting to a brand because it champions local grains or botanicals – this hasn’t changed but is has developed some. This summer rather than sampling premium craft gins from across the world, consumers are homing in on gins from their local communities.
“In the case of Ireland, all of our most-popular gins are produced using indigenous ingredients giving the unique flavour profile and artisan quality gin-lovers have come to expect from an Irish gin. Each gin in the Copeland range is infused with fruits which are grown locally, creating flavour combinations that surprise and excite and a totally unique tasting experience.”
2. So fresh and so clean
Irvine reminds us that as the seasons change, drinking occasions change too.
He says, “The better weather sees us enjoying a few during the day or after work, maybe at a BBQ or in our favourite outdoor hotspot. We can find heavy or strong cocktails don’t refresh us in the sun and we’re more likely to crave light and refreshing serves.
“Allowing your gin to be the focus of your serve by pairing with a classic tonic water over ice is ideal in summer. Choosing light garnishes like mint or raspberries will add that flavour kick but still keep the palate fresh, perfect for pairing with typical picnic or BBQ foods.
“Alternatively, flavoured or infused gins are an ideal base for creating new summer serves but do your homework. Most flavoured gins are actually liqueurs and can be quite rich and sweet, with the gin flavour masked. However, there are flavoured gins that come in at 37.8% or so, such as our range. These are perfect for mixing and can withstand a pairing with other spirits and garnishes.
“My favourite summer serve is our take on the classic Tom Collins, the Copeland Collins. Simply pour a serving of our Rhuberry Gin into a highball glass, add a generous dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice and two tablespoons of caster sugar, stirring gently. Fill the glass with fresh ice, top up with soda water and garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon.”
3. You’ve been served!
“Wimbledon will be a key event this summer! The event has always had a strong association to fruity, fizzy drinks like Pimms but this year, gin will come to the forefront as part of the trend too. Pimms and gin work really well together and this combo is ideal for sharing pitchers and exploring new fruit garnishes.
“Simply take the classic Pimms No.1 cup and pour into a large jug, add your favourite gin along with oranges, cucumber and mint.”
4. Eco-warriors unite
We’re thinking first and drinking second. Irvine says, “Summer is a time when we appreciate the world around us that little bit more. What we’ve noticed in the last couple weeks is that cocktail menus are changing as bars find ways to appreciate produce and minimise food waste.
“Some garnishes produce a lot more waste that we realise – there’s lemon rind, egg yolk, orange peel and more that can end up in the bin. Rather than sweeping them into to the bin, some spear-heading bars have been making sure all waste is used in a trend called ‘closed-loop’ cocktails.
“Excess fruit might be used to create a natural syrup or saved for the pitcher style Pimms and Gin. We’re really conscious about our eco-footprint at Copeland, given we rely so much on the land to produce our infused gins so development is music to our ears.”
5. Just chilling!
Gin over ice is a yes, but gin in ice is a no. Irvine explains, “in summer the temptation to enjoy a slushed, ice-based drink can sometimes be unavoidable, and yes gin does feature on the frozen cocktail menu regularly. Our advice to gin-lovers entertaining at home is to chill your glass in the fridge before you use it. Fill your glass with totally frozen, good-quality ice all the way – it will melt more slowly as a result meaning your drink will stay cooler, fizzier and enjoyable for longer.
“Typically, Ireland’s talented bar-folk know how to serve up a great gin but if your glass could fit more ice, then absolutely ask so you can chill out exactly how you intended without having to sip over a melted mess.”
Copeland Spirits Rhuberry Flavoured Gin is available at Aldi across the country and is priced at €29.99. For serving suggestions visit copelandspirits.com
Always drink responsibly.