I’d always been under the impression that gin was not a cool drink. That it was kind of outdated, having been superseded by cosmos and vodka tonics in the late ‘90s. Yeah, I know James Bond drank martinis but at the same time, stay-at-home mums and housewives who were not living the Bond girl lifestyle were giving it a reputation as a depressive. Plus, I always thought it was a bit of a medicinal aid, to ward off mosquitos when mixed with tonic… But it turns out I was (gasp!) wrong.
A Betty Draper gimlet anyone?
In 2012 gin is having a revival. It’s shaken off any negative connotations – probably in part due to more of an education in responsible service and consumption of alcohol plus the production of premium gins but more likely attributed to retro revivals a la Mad Men – and is now THE ingredient of choice in Ibiza (and global) cocktail circles.
Having never really been that partial to gin myself, I figured I should probably see what all the fuss was about, so I started my ‘research’ online where ‘they’ (you know ‘them, right?) are calling it the European ‘Gin Boom’ – gin hasn’t been this popular since the roaring ‘20s – I found there are over 120 varieties of Gin on the market in Spain alone.
So the next stage in my research was obvious. I needed to hit the road. In order to hit the bottle(s)…
* As a purveyor of fine alcohol brands, Jockey Club owner Oliver Lanzoni was actually way of the Gin boom, as last year he introduced a premium gin range to his bar and hosted special ‘Gintonic’ (this is how the Spanish pronounce their tipple of choice) afternoons on the beach. So of course, I made a beeline to Jockey to begin my gin education! It was here I learnt that a good gin is just like a good wine – having been created using a very specific science and using all sorts of botanicals, herbs, flowers and spices to create its unique signature. Let the gin Pepsi challenge begin…
* Moving back into Ibiza town, I made my way to this season’s cocktail bar du jour, Bar 1805, where their cocktail menu is like a work of art in itself… that’s until you’ve tried the cocktails. Mine came in the cutest little teacup (reaffirming my thought that gin was a ‘ladies’ drink) with a silver straw and a slice of cucumber. It was like a British afternoon tea party in a cup. Delightful! It was also here that I learnt gin can be garnished with a herb or flower from its base (or of course, the traditional lime twist, cucumber slice or lemon rind should you prefer). Think a sprig of rosemary, lavender buds, cardamom seeds, twig of ginger and more, and all of a sudden your drink starts to feel more sophisticated than those with just a slice of – ergh – lemon.
*Traversing town – well, after a couple of gin and tonics some may call the way I walked weaving – I headed to super cool tapas bar and lounge La Bodega, where I had it on super gin drinking authority, that they made the very best G&Ts in town. While the choice of gin is of course up to you, it’s pure love in a cup, as each drink takes around five minutes to make, swirling ice in the giant balloon glasses to ensure they’re super cold, rimming the edges with lime and then filling it with HUGE ice cubes – apparently another classic method to making a good gintonic last. The bigger the ice, the less chance you have of it diluting your drink. Que refresco! At this juncture, I had to discard my previous ‘ladies drink’ judgement, as I saw several very sophisticated looking gentleman with these oversized beauties cupped in their palm. I could definitely be friends with people like that!
* Across town – by taxi of course, you know Miss W Ibiza would never ever drink and drive – Hotel Ocean Drive have their very own ‘gin and burger’ menu. That’s right, gin and burgers. I’ve got to admit I was getting peckish and nothing beats a good old burger when you’ve got a few under your belt now, does it? But these are no regular burgers. No siree. What I learnt on this stop was that if you’re going to mix your premium gin with anything – aside from premium tonics naturally – it should be with premium quality, high grade meats – we’re talking bison, kobe, angus, red tuna and even ostrich! For one’s convenience, they’ve already been matched to the perfect gin from the extensive selection (I know my head was spinning just from sheer choice – not from the alcohol), a trend which began in New York and has been spreading like wildfire across the globe until it reached us here in Ibiza.
* Last stop – insert HIC here – was the legendary Teatro Pereyra in Ibiza town, where they are are such pros that they have a special gin cart they wheel around by night, expertly mixing your gintonic of choice right then and there at your table. What did I learn here? Well, you don’t get service like that with a beer or a vodka cranberry now do you…
So… was this one night stand enough to make me switch from vodka to gin for more than a fling? We’ll see. I still have the gin hangover to look forward to yet!