A bluffer’s guide to gin - how to impress your guests

THE great British drinks cabinet is never busier than at Christmas as people mark the festive season by indulging in their favourite tipple.

Gin is one of our favourite Christmas spirits, with 30 per cent in the north-east choosing it as their festive drink of choice according to new research from Drinks by the Dram, along with whisky (28 per cent) and cream liqueurs such as Baileys (31 per cent).

Getting the garnish right can make the difference between a 'good' or a great gin and tonic

Getting the garnish right can make the difference between a 'good' or a great gin and tonic

Gin sales in the UK reached £1.6bn in the year ending June 2018, up 38 per cent on the previous year.

However, the survey also reveals that 46 per cent of drinkers in the north-east feel they are in the dark when it comes to spirits.

Those surveyed said they want to know more about spirits, so they can make a more informed choice when buying a bottle – and impress friends with their new-found knowledge.

Drinks by the Dram has teamed up with gin expert and author David T Smith to compile a top 10 bluffer’s guide to becoming a ‘gin-noisseur’ this Christmas:

Drinkers can impress their friends by using words like floral’, herbal, citrus and juniper to describe the flavour, garnish their gin with grapefruit, apple or strawberry, freeze slices of citrus beforehand to serve with your guests’ gin, pre-chill glasses in the freezer, use the biggest glasses so they can hold the most ice, try gin with sparkling water and a dash of Angostura bitters, or surprise your guests with ‘The Southern Exposure’ – gin and cola. For ideal food pairing with gin, choose olives or cashew nuts, create a White Cargo – a simple mixture of gin and vanilla ice cream - for dessert and, if you really want to find out what a gin tastes like, just drink it neat.