By Rianna Clark, May 18, 2016
Did you know?
Spain gets through 3.2 million cases of gin per year, with 75% of this made locally. Consumption has dropped from 6 million cases in the ’90s, but the Spanish still buy 5 million litres from the UK every year and is Spain’s second largest export market.
Did you know!
Gin with a slice – but why is it lime, not lemon? It did used to be a lemon, until Gordon’s were putting together a marketing campaign and thought the yellow lemon clashed with its green bottle.
How they drink it…
In Spain, a ‘dash’ really is a dashthey like their “gin-tonics” strong, maybe even half/half. It has to be served in a pseudo-goldfish bowl (a large balloon glass, called a copa) with plenty of chunky ice to keep it cold without melting. And, here’s the wacky bit, the Spanish go gaga for garnishes. We’re talking peppercorns, star anise, nutmeg, mint leaves and more. While some bartenders take this to the extreme, there’s no doubt making a gin-tonic is something of an art form in Spain.
Which gin do they like?
Given the Spanish penchant for potency, you really can taste the difference in your glass between the plethora of gins on offer. Should you ask for a gin-tonic in Spain, the first question from the bartender will be ‘Which gin?’ often followed by ‘Which tonic?’. Some bars even dedicate an entire menu to gin-tonic, with tonics ranging from Fentimans and Q to Original and Boylan.
Spain has more than 30 gin brands of its own – Gin Mare from the Costa Dorada being the botanical star, with a pretty funky bottle to boot.
Why do they love gin so much ?
The revival of gin-tonics started off in Dicken’s Bar in San Sebastian, where top chefs networked over a good G&T. Then the word spread and the rest is history. Now, gin appreciation societies and workshops extol the virtues of this blend of juniper or that hint of rosemary from Barcelona to Madrid and dedicated gin-tonic bars figure all over the country.
Did you know!
The best way to taste gins for comparison is at room temperature, diluted with an equal measure of water. This reveals both qualities and flaws.
When do they drink it?
Perhaps surprisingly, gin-tonics are rarely served as aperitifs in Spain but rather postprandially or in nightclubs. There’s a growing trend towards a tipple with a plate of tapas, too. Quality gin-tonics aren’t just the preserve of the up-market bars, though, as even the lowly spit ‘n’ sawdust bartenders can rustle up a gem.
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