For the uninitiated, the over 60 different bottles at Gilarmi Lounge’s Gin Library in Discovery Primea can be a daunting undertaking. It is after all, the biggest collection of gin in Makati. Never fear! The Gin Library was designed for you to explore the world of gin at your own pace, and experiment with the different tonics and garnishes all laid out for you.
But to give you a little jump start, here are the top 10 gins from the Gin Library’s “devotees”.
Some have exclaimed that drinking Nordes neat is like drinking straight from a glacier. Nordes did, after all, choose to name their gin after the constant trade winds that blow across the Atlantic sea in the mysterious Spanish region of Galicia. Made using Albarino grapes, ginger, hibiscus and liquorice, it smells of cool mint and refreshing florals. Enjoy it with a clean, neutral tonic, and garnish with grapes and fresh mint leaves.
2. MONKEY 47
The gin with an almost manic cult following, Monkey 47 is a cheeky spirit made in extremely low quantities, and with 47 botanicals found and handpicked from the Black Forest in Germany. It’s a burst of cranberry and wild berry flavors, as well as pine and lavender. And 47 doesn’t just stand for the number of botanicals – it’s also the ABV. Certainly not for the weak of heart – or palette. With all that’s going on, it’s best to garnish a Monkey 47 G&T sparingly, with a wedge of lime, or a couple of Sage leaves.
3. THE BOTANIST
This special gin was made by the lads at the Bruicladdich Distillery, well-known for making exemplary whisky. The excellence – and loving attention to detail – that the distillery puts into their whisky, they’ve done with the Botanist as well. Made with 31 botanicals, 22 of which are foraged, hand-picked, right in the island of Islay. The aromas explode with citrus, menthol, flowers and even apple. Garnish it with a pretty slice of grapefruit, and maybe a sprig of rosemary to match.
Needing no introduction, it was most likely Hendrick’s that made gin cool in the late 90’s. Those familiar with the Victorian-imagery tied to the brand know the value of rose and cucumber. These two essences aren’t added to the other botanicals upon distilling, but instead, are added after, giving Hendrick’s its distinct flavor. And yes, in a G&T, you must have it with cucumber. Add a dash of red or black peppercorns for a bit of spice.
5. TANQUERAY 10
Who says only small batch gins are any good? Tanqueray 10 is a gem and a favorite for a reason: it is the only gin mad with whole citrus fruit, giving it a unique note not found anywhere else, and it’s the only gin included in the World Spirits Competition’s “Hall of Fame”. Every self-respecting gin collection must have a bottle or two of Tanqueray 10. Enjoy it in a martini, in a G&T, or even neat with a wedge or grapefruit, lime or apple.
6. SIPSMITH LONDON DRY
To say that Sipsmith takes their gin seriously is an understatement. Their dedication to quality is such that only the heart (the middle part) of the distillation is used to create any of their gins. Their London Dry in particular is blended with pure water from the Lydwell spring, while they keep their botanicals to a carefully selected 10, along with English Barley. It is dry and sweet, with aromas of honey, ripe fruits, chocolate, and grape jam. Mouthwatering for sure, and best with a wedge of lemon.
7. FOUR PILLARS NAVY STRENGTH GIN
Navy Strength indeed – this gin is a whopping 58.8% ABV! But the delicious scent and taste of finger limes, special to Four Pillars Navy Strength, makes it deceptively delightful. The botanical selection that makes up the gin is proudly Australian as well: Tasmanian pepperberry, lemon myrtle, and more. The gin is also made with whole oranges, but even if it may be too on-the-nose, go ahead and garnish with orange as well.
8. GIN MARE
The Spanish love a gin and tonic, so it’s no surprise that they make great gin as well. Gin Mare is a Mediterranean-inspired gin made in a small town on the Costa Dorada, in an old converted chapel. Despite the old world charm of the location where it’s made, Gin Mare took quite a modern and unconventional approach to choosing its botanicals. The flavor of olives and thyme are reminiscent of its Mediterranean roots, and it’s best to enjoy this gin with fresh basil leaves or a silvery sprig of rosemary.
9. ROKU (六)
Roku, the Japanese word for the number 6, is so named after the six Japanese botanicals used in creating this unique gin: sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, Sencha tea, gyokuro tea, and sansho pepper. Another interesting point: the botanicals are cultivated over all four seasons. Everything about this gin is authentically Japanese: the reverence for nature, respect for history (it is part of the Suntory group, one of the oldest Japanese alcoholic distribution companies), and meticulous, simple design. The flavors are bold with a bitterness you will crave. Enjoy it neat, or in a very dry martini.
10. PLYMOUTH GIN
Perhaps what makes Plymouth Gin most special is that it’s a gin class on its own. Its recipe has not changed from the combination of 7 botanicals as it has been since 1793: juniper, coriander seed, cardamom, orris root, angelica root, orange peel, and lemon peel. They continue to distill the gin at Black Friars Distillery in Plymouth, the oldest British distillery to still be in operation on its original site. Historical allure aside, Plymouth is perfectly balanced in citrus and earthiness in aroma, and you can taste the botanicals and citrus. Have it in a no-frills G&T with a neutral tonic and wedge of lemon.