Author Ian Buxton is a liquor champion who has written 101 Rums to Try Before You Die. 101 Rums is a handy volume to carry in your ventures in liquor stores as a personal buying assistant.
Here’s an equally important book from Ian: 101 Gins to Try Before You Die. Yes, there are resurgences in liquors of all types: whiskey, rum and most certainly gin.
There are a few pages devoted to gin, it’s history and the chemistry of making the brew. Of all the boozes out there, I suppose “demon gin” is the one most scandalized. The gin dives of London were, it is true, a pathway to decadence. But that was all centuries ago and now gin is in an unprecedented renaissance.
In this list of 101 of the best, the United Kingdom dominates, easily dominates. 68 of the 101 come from the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. The remaining 33 are distributed over 13 countries:
- 6 from France
- 4 from Germany
- 4 from the USA
- 3 from Finland
- 3 from Sweden
- 3 From Japan
- 3 from Spain
- 2 from Australia
- 1 from Portugal
- 1 from Ireland
- 1 from Italy
- 1 from The Netherlands
- 1 from Canada
That distribution can tell you a great deal. First, gin is a worldwide phenomenon but the core of gin making remains the United Kingdom. And while a country in this list may have only one entry, like Italy, that entry can be awesome: Malfy con Limone is sublime.
Each of the 101 gins here comes with a dense page of background and history. The people, the scale of production, and some of the secret ingredients are presented for you salivating consideration. That’s why I want to find some Makar from Scotland. It’s a brand new distillery and the product is made with the classic ingredients: juniper, angelica root, rosemary, licorice, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cassia bark, and lemon peel. But of course, the trick is in the proportions. And which pepper seeds and which lemons?
I do browse a half doze liquor stores in Manhattan, Upstate New York, and New Jersey. On those shelves, I have only seen perhaps fifteen of these 101 recommended gins. No, I can’t find many of these UK products on Amazon. I’m afraid I need to find one of the “British” bars in New York City. Or, buy a ticket for London. Specialization here does connote globalization. The gins here are very local and very specific. To enjoy them, some research and travel are essential. We would not even know these delights are out there if we did not have 101 Gins To Try Before You Die.
I need to dig out my passport and make some travel plans. And I need to find some liquor store in London that can ship bottles back. I’ve googled and found several promising list of stores, including:
Ready, set, go. With 101 Gins To Try Before You Die right in my hand.