A bit on the side: how to choose the perfect garnish for your gin

When it comes to choosing a garnish for our gin and tonic we’ve come a long way from just ‘ice and a slice’ where lemon or lime (and OK, possibly cucumber if Hendrick’s is on the shelf) were the only choices.

Today we can count kiwi, basil, grapefruit, apple, samphire, rhubarb and even curry leaf amongst the many options that adorn our gin and tonic, with even modestly stocked pubs and bars usually having a jar of juniper berries and maybe a sprig of mint to hand. 

That’s great when you’re out and about but what do you do when enjoying gin at home as so many of us, especially members of The Craft Gin Club, do on a regular basis? It’s clearly not practical to stock your bar with a wide selection of fresh fruit, herbs and exotic spices — unless you’re hosting a gin party every night! That’s why we developed the Ginfusion Classic Tin of botanical blends to give you a choice of ready-made garnishes that have been carefully selected to match all the major gin types available today.

Ginfusion dried botanicals, cocktail shaker and gin and tonic and ice bucket

But with so many gins available, how do you decide what makes the best pairing? 

The first thing to bear in mind when choosing a garnish is the flavour profile of your gin. Of course, every gin is a complex blend of taste and aroma that gives us the fantastic variety we see today, but they can be grouped broadly into five categories that define the style and help inform your choice of garnish. The list below will help you match each of the four different Ginfusion blends with your chosen gin. If you’re not sure which profile most closely matches your gin and the description on the label isn’t helpful a simple web search for ‘your chosen gin tasting notes’ will give you the information you need.

Juniper

Juniper is at the heart of all gin and is found amongst the most traditional of distillations, with pine, heather and lavender emerging followed by that familiar tang of juniper. Match these gins with our Spiced or Tropical blends.

Tropical Ginfusion botanicals and gin and tonic

Floral

A more fragrant style of gin that may feature flowery or herbal notes, the freshness of many floral gins may surprise as well-balanced brands don’t allow the floral element to become too dominant. We’ve developed the Rose blend as the perfect foil for these gin types.

Ginfusion Rose dried botanicals and gin and tonic

Citrus

A popular style that’s found in both contemporary and older gin brands, orange, lemon and lime peel frequently form the base but many other exotic fruits are now making the mix in this category. We’ve created Citrus as the perfect accompaniment but the more powerful styles can also match well with our Spiced blend.

Citrus Ginfusion dried botanicals and gin and tonic

Spiced

The range of flavour prevalent in these types of gin is possibly as wide as any category. You’ll find old favourites like peppercorn and cinnamon but these are now being joined by a host of other including grains of paradise and cacao nibs. Choose our Spiced and Tropical blends.

Ginfusion Spiced dried botanicals and gin and tonic

Eclectic

These gins defy categorisation, with oak-aged, wasabi and even avocado featuring in their blends. Many need little garnish as you will want to appreciate the unusual taste but our suggestion is to seek the prevalent note from the above four styles and see how the pairing works. Some are so out there that it will be a case of trial and error to find the right combination.

We hope that gives you some food for thought but remember it’s all about fun. There are no rules, it’s a matter of personal taste. If wasabi gin and a chocolate garnish is your thing, go for it, but we hope these tips (and a Ginfusion Classic Tin in your cupboard) help bring something extra to your gin experience.