With gin making a huge comeback in the cocktail world, we’re seeing more and more prohibition era drinks making their way into trendsetting bars. TV shows like “Boardwalk Empire” and the upcoming Hollywood film “The Great Gatsby” are giving the 1920’s an air of glamor. But why is gin (along with whiskey) so identified with the 1920’s era?
Gin has been around for at least four and a half centuries. Of course, there are many different styles from the malt heavy Dutch Genever to the independent distiller boutique styles coming out in 21st century America. What we call bathtub gin was pretty much all you could get during prohibition in the 48 states. Basically it was roughly distilled vodka, cut heavily with water and mixed with gin flavoring. You could even purchase juniper extract from the Sears catalogue.
However, one of the mainstays has been and continues to be the English Dry style. Crisp, elegant, refreshing and dry, it epitomizes the type of gin that most cocktail drinkers expect. One of the best of these gins is Tanqueray which has been around since 1830, but is no longer distilled in England. Instead, they’ve moved their headquarters to Scotland. Regardless, their products are the mark of excellence. Oh, and the unique bottle shape? It’s design is taken from the ubiquitous cocktail shaker.
Here are a few prohibition era cocktails for you to try.
1.5oz London Dry Gin
1tbsp dry vermouth
2tbsp olive juice ( I use Dirty Sue brand)
Fill a mixer with all ingredients including the olives. Cover and shake hard 3 – 4 times. Strain contents of the mixer into the cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive. The Franklin, a dirty martini, is the drink that brought it all back and the cocktail with which FDR celebrated the repeal of Prohibition.
1.5oz London Dry Gin
.75oz orange liqueur
.75oz lemon juice
Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker, fill with ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Introduced in the late 20’s, The White Lady was born from a drink named “Delilah,” which included crème de menthe. The Savoy’s Harry Craddock replaced it with orange liqueur and it became an instant classic. In 2013, it is one of the 10 most popular cocktails served around the globe.
Tanqueray (94.6 proof)
Nose: Bright high notes of juniper and pine along with citrus, bits of black pepper.
Taste: Intense juniper with a perfect balance of other botanicals and a slightly sweet but dry midrange. Elegant and very English.
Finish: Lingering notes of talc, ending in an ultra dry finish.
Overall: Perfect in a martini, and subdued enough to mix well with juices, and liqueurs.
GSN Rating: A
Tanqueray No. 10 (94.6 proof)
Nose: Darker and more verdant than regular Tanqueray, with a fresh quality that is unique amongst gins.
Taste: Softer than Tanqueray, yet more citrus forward and spicy. Tasty on its own, but exceptional as the base spirit in any cocktail.
Finish: Lingering sweet notes with more fresh spruce.
Overall: A world-class spirit that defines the gin category. Every cocktail is lifted to a higher level with Tanqueray 10.
GSN Rating: A+
Tanqueray Rangpur (82.6 proof)
Nose: Lots of lime on the nose, with only the slightest tinge of juniper.
Taste: Very light and smooth, akin to a lime vodka. The lime is natural and not bitter. Refreshing and reminiscent of summer.
Finish: The lime flavor goes on and on.
Overall: A great gin for a G&T or sipping on the rocks. The lime will overwhelm most gin based cocktails, so keep this for special occasions.
GSN Rating: B
For more information go to: Tanqueray