Thursday, September 5, 2019

Vermouth and Sip (possibly more of a gin post)

I'm not generally a fan of brand tie in cocktail books (Fever Tree and Seedlip have both produced them reasonably recently, neither particularly tempted me, the Fever Tree book is currently going cheap in The Works bookshops for any interested U.K. based readers) but 'Sip' from Sipsmith Gin is an exception to prove the rule.

Sipsmith make a habit of being exceptional*, they more or less made the current Gin renaissance possible. When they finally started production in 2009 they were such a small operation that it had taken 2 years and a change in the law for them to be able to do what they did (before 2009 if your still capacity was under 1800 litres it was more or less impossible to get a licence thanks to nineteenth century laws designed to improve the quality of Gin then flooding the cities).

It's easy to overlook Sipsmith on a supermarket shelf now, but it's a really good quality Gin, one that won't let you down, and is great for mixing with (other gins I'd put in this class are Martin Millers and 6 O'clock gin). Coming in under £30 it's at the premium end of the market, but you can spend a lot more without getting anything noticibly better for your money. You also get a gin that you can genuinely enjoy neat which is more than I might say for a lot of the cheaper ones.

'Sip' which is only just out is subtitled 100 Gin Cocktails with only 3 ingredients, it could be viewed as a cleaned up and streamlined take on 'The Savoy Cocktail Book', it has a lot to recommend it (at least I think so, but then it conforms to all my preferences). It also gives a brief history of gin, and a genuinely useful guide to bar equipment and glassware.

Because a lot of the cocktails are classics, or riffs on classics, Vermouth features frequently with proportions better calibrated to modern tastes than the early cocktail and bartenders guides give. Using just 3 ingredients for each drink also means that each element gets to shine (hence the importance of using a good quality gin, and a good fresh vermouth as well). Everything in here is easy to make, and make well, at home.

*This is all my genuine opinion, nobody is giving me free Sipsmith gin (though I'd welcome it if they did) and I bought the book. I'm also going to recommend the Sipsmith website for its cocktail section which I've used a good bit for work in the past when I've wanted inspiration for customer tastings.

I've also had to give myself a mental shake reading through this book because there's so much in it that would have been perfect to try out on customers and I'm just not going to get the opportunity now. At least not with my current customers, and I'm a little bit sad about that. These drinks based posts have always been a lot about work, the research for them feeding directly back into my day job.  Writing this series is really bringing home to me that I really don't know what I'm going to do next.

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