The word “gin” conjures up some serious mental pictures in my head. My Dad and Mom enjoyed a G&T at happy hour most nights when I was growing up. Those drinks, chock full of ice and with a pudgy chunk of lime always looked so delicious and refreshing. I’d try sips as a kid and always walked away slightly repulsed, however.
But as it does for so many things, college changed my opinion of gin. Hot Texas nights and G&T’s went together naturally when there was actually enough money in my pocket to buy something other than cheap beer. In the summers between school, I worked outside mowing lawns. Inevitably, I’d steer my big riding lawn mower around the hedges of one particular church (unintentionally) and catch the branches of juniper bushes, snapping them just enough to release their otherworldly scent. That gave me an appreciation for the process of gin.
Shortly after came a love of Bombay Sapphire, straight, with ice. That drink will always stand in my mind as inextricably linked to my time as a double-income-no-kid husband in Washington, DC’s trendiest restaurants. The blue bottle still beckons and it’s still one of my favorites.
So, it had been a long time since I had tried any “new” gin. However, on my birthday, a friend saw to it that I try something new. G’Vine is not a gin I would have bought myself. First of all, it’s French. I’ve long chided my Grey Goose drinking buddies that “the French do wine and cheese, not vodka.” And frankly, I still stand by that. But something about gin makes French dabbling a bit more acceptable – yet wholly apart from the purists idea of gin. Of course, how pure is it if it was invented by the Dutch?
I think of G’Vine as more flavored vodka – like most gin, of course. But this is by no means the “London Dry” in your dad’s liquor cabinet. It’s full of heady, confusing and contradictory flavors. So it’s fitting that it’s made in France. (Wonder if it retreats?)
Distilled from grapes, it is nothing if not smooth. There is absolutely no bite to this liquor. There is no need to mix it with anything. In fact, doing so would most likely result in a terrible outcome. The mixture of green grape flower, juniper and licorice used to flavor this gin give it a tremendously unique flavor unlike anything I’ve had before. But there’s an inherent floral sweetness demands the spirit be served on its own.
With G’Vine, I’m happy to comply. Lightly stirred in a shaker with crushed ice, I strain it into one of my leaded Czech crystal martini glasses and watch the workweek melt away. Paired with some briny rich Italian Olives, you might even forget that the French don’t do gin.