Winston Churchill once famously claimed that gin has saved more men’s lives and minds than all the doctors in Europe. Jo Brand, rather less famously stated that anything is good if it’s made of chocolate. Gin Is The New Chocolate – It was only a matter of time before someone put the two together.
Gin and chocolate tastings are popping up in every drink-loving city in the country, swiftly catching up with more commonplace wine and food pairings and even tipping whisky and cheese nights into the yesteryear. It’s a marriage not many people saw coming but when you think about it, chocolate and gin play very well together. Gin is known for displaying an almost infinite number of botanical additions and with the help of garnishes there’s no limit to what can be expressed. Chocolate as a food base can be rich or subtle, creamy or spicy, and is only as good as the favours imparted within. Who hasn’t jazzed up their evening hot chocolate with a helping of cinnamon or the lightest touch of chilli? And who hasn’t had a gin cocktail sweetened with gomme syrup (hello Tom Collins) or a gin Bloody Mary with a great dollop of Tabasco? If you haven’t, I suggest you go out immediately and get to it.
My gin & chocolate reflections
On the Gin Is The New Chocolate theme, in terms of Eden Mill, I’ve done some intensive research of my own. Our Hop Gin has a dry, floral character and the slight bitterness of the hops blends beautifully with the creaminess of a milk chocolate. Throw some honeycomb in the mix and you get a delicious reaction of alchemy; the honeycomb reverts to an almost raw state and the tacky mouth-feel creates a sumptuous texture.
The gentle rose and hibiscus flavours in our renowned Love Gin are suited to something delicate like white chocolate. The true beauty of white chocolate, and gin, lies in the botanics that can be added and a firm favourite of mine is a touch of jasmine. Picture a Scottish garden in summer and you’ll start to get an idea of this heavenly chocolate combination.
Whisky lovers have always been enticed by our Oak Gin as its maturation with bourbon staves makes it scream of caramel, toffee and honey notes. The slight sweetness of these flavours softens the juniper edge; an easy chocolate pairing would include caramel but to really get the taste buds tingling, add a sprinkling of sea salt.
Our London Dry Style Gin, the Original, has the added bonus of the sharp, citric burst of sea buckthorn. While it is the tartest of our expressions it is ironically best suited to a bitter dark chocolate as the astringent flavours are offset by the dark cocoa.
While gin and chocolate tastings are here to stay there will always be new pairings on the horizon. Perhaps we’ll be seeing gin and fried chicken by the end of the year? Maybe someone will crack open a gin and match it with foie gras.
For now though, I’ll enjoy my boozy chocolates.
1st May 2017