Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gin vs. Vodka: The grudge match

I'm a gin guy.
It's flavorful. It's clean. Churchill liked it. It's a quality liquor.
My buddy Tim is a vodka guy (closet communist).
It's flavorless. It's boring. It's the liquor of choice for brutal Soviet dictators and the cast of "Sex and the City."
But who am I to criticize another man's liquor? When that "man" insists on ordering vodka martinis.
The martini is my drink. Ice cold with a lemon twist, it just doesn't get any better.
It does, however, get much worse when you insist on subing out the gin for vodka. That's effectively saying, "Hey, I hate flavor!"
So, after going around and around about the merits of the true martini verses the vodka martini, Tim and I agreed to hold a tasting. My favorite gin verses his favorite vodka. The goal being to convince each other of the virtues of our spirits.
Well, it worked.
I really am surprised. I've had my fair share of vodka and never really thought much of it. Tim's had gin. Good gin. Hendrick's gin. And yet, he's not thought much of it.
To change his mind, I brought a bottle of Plymouth gin. Distilled and bottled in the English port town the pilgrims launched from lo those many years ago. It's the best gin I've ever had.
Tim brought Tito's Handmade Vodka, produced in of all places Austin, Texas.
Yee haw.
He also offered up a bottle of Chopin Polish vodka. He should have gone solo with Tito.
To show off the qualities of the gin and vodka, we did a straight tasting and made a couple cocktails. Tim made a caipiroska. I made a martini and a gin and bitters.
I gotta admit, Tito makes a quality vodka. It's smooth and rich. I enjoyed it as much straight as I did in the caipiroska.
The Chopin tasted like alcohol.
In turn, Tim really digged the Plymouth gin (no surprise there).
The tasting availed him to the slightly sweet, herbal qualities that make gin such a pleasant spirit. The gin and bitters (made with Regan's Orange Bitters) was just a popular.
The martini, however, wasn't to his taste.

3 oz. of Plymouth gin
1 tsp. dry vermouth
lemon twist

Fill a shaker half full with ice and add the dry vermouth. Stir and vermouth to coat the ice cubes and strain the excess. Add the gin, stir and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Gin and bitters
3 oz. of Plymouth gin
4 shakes of bitters (preferably, Regan's Orange Bitters)

Add the bitters to the cocktail glass. Swirl the bitters to coat the sides of the glass and pour out the excess. Pour the gin and enjoy.

1 lime
1 tsp. sugar

Wash the lime and cut it into quarters. Muddle the sugar and limes in the glass. Add ice and vodka, stir and serve.

1 comment:

scfowler said...

Informative and interesting comparison. Sounds like you both have open minds (palates).

I'm a vodka guy, but your description of gin's attributes has inspired me to pick up a bottle of Plymouth's at my next visit to the spirit's store. Cheers!