Looking for one cocktail to please a diverse crowd? Look no further than gin. Contrary to its stuffy reputation, gin is the “it” spirit to infuse your 2017 holiday gathering with trendy pizazz. According to HM Revenue & Customs, the U.K.’s tax, payments, and customs authority, sales of the juniper-based alcohol rose by 12 percent in 2016 – a pace that is expected to be shattered in 2017. Need more proof? More gin is exported to the U.S. than any other country, which means you’ll be in good spirits, so to speak.
In an interview with The Guardian, Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said, “The quality of the gin combined with the world’s love for brand Britain has seen British gin breaking records both at home and abroad.” In fact, according to sales figures, gin is now more popular than it has been in a century. Much like the beer craze of a few years back, craft gin is leading the charge in it’s rising popularity, with new distilleries popping up constantly. Consider making your cocktail extra special by visiting or buying gin made from a local or regional distillery. If you visit the distillery, ask if they have any stickers, coaster or other swag to offer your guests at the bar to further personalize the cocktail.
For those new to gin, you’re in for a treat. It has a neutral flavor that is derived from grain or fruit and is infused with (or distilled a second time) with botanicals. The only gin requirement is the juniper. It offers extreme versatility and unlike some stronger spirits (tequila, bourbon) it tends to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s also easy to use and there are simple cocktails that require very little know-how or additional mixing gear.
Need inspiration? Try this yuletide twist on a classic that’s sure to get any party started.
Orange Cranberry Gin & Tonic
3 oz. gin
1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. cranberry sauce
4 oz. tonic water
2 1-inch pieces orange peel
In a cocktail shaker, add gin, orange juice and cranberry sauce. Stir clockwise until combined. Fill a high ball glass with ice and pour the mixture from the shaker into the glass. Top with tonic water. Garnish with orange peel.