Your Guide to the Gin Universe

In the issue of Philadelphia magazine currently on the stands we put forth the premise that one of the things wrong with the world today is that people (meaning you) aren’t drinking gin like they used to. Once the most popular, most drunk and most beloved spirit in America, gin’s reputation and standing was wrecked by the advent of vodka. And nothing in the drinkable world has been the same since.

Iconoclast and boozy luddite Victor Fiorillo held forth on the topic, saying (among other things), “Churchill was a fan. So was Lennon. Fitzgerald. Hawkeye Pierce. Arthur, as in Bea … And yet with all this gin worship out there, you still won’t drink it. Or at least, you won’t if you’re the average American–who still prefers, in addition to Olive Garden, Budweiser and Two and a Half Men, that colorless, odorless, tasteless and downright benign Russian import, vodka.”

But maybe you’re not drinking gin simply because you don’t know how to drink gin. That’s where we come in, offering this annotated chart of the gin universe. Not every juniper consomme cocktail is represented here, but we’ve touched on many of the more interesting derivations of and uses for this overlooked and under-loved spirit, and have included recipes, prep hints, histories and some gin wisdom from those who know and appreciate the stuff (you can click the image to enlarge).

To take things a step further, we also decided to throw a party at Cook to celebrate gin in all its herbal glory. Along with our local gin-pushers, Philadelphia Distilling (makers of Bluecoat Gin, among other things), we’re going to be taking the place over on September 8 and drinking gin, talking about gin, drinking gin, declaring our undying love for gin and drinking (more) gin–having the bartenders there mix up some classics off this list and the cooks pair some appropriate snacks. The only problem? Our gin night is already sold out. But if you weren’t quick enough this time around, don’t worry. There’ll be other nights and other parties, for sure. We’re just getting started.

The Gin Universe [f8b8z]