Many of the best (and my favourite) gins have been created by bartenders. Ford’s Gin (Simon Ford), Portobello Road (Jake F Burger), Aviation (Ryan Magarian) and West Winds (Jason Chan).
Jinzu gin was created by British bartender, Dee Davies for Diageo’s Show Your Spirit competition in 2013. Named after a river in Japan, Jinzu is a British gin with a Japanese flavour. Cherry blossom and yuzu are used as botanical ingredients and then Junmai sake is blended with the finished gin.
I caught up with Dee who answered a few questions about how she came up with the idea for Jinzu.
What made you choose gin as your spirit for the competition?
How long did it take you to get the botanical recipe right?
Why did you choose Junmai sake over other styles?
Did you have a hand in the bottle design?
What’s your favourite way to drink Jinzu?
Juniper, coriander and angelica are macerated in the pot still before cherry blossom and Yuzu are added.
There is a mix of familiar and unfamiliar with Jinzu. On the one hand, juniper is still present (thank goodness) so we know it’s gin, but on the other, the unfamiliar (to me) earthiness of the Junmai sake gives a different finish. On the nose citrus from the yuzu together with juniper are evident. On the palate a good juniper and citrus flavour gives way to some floral notes from the cherry blossom. There is some warmth towards the end and it’s here that the sake comes through to create a smooth finish.
How to drink
As usual, I tried Jinzu neat, in a G&T, in a saketini and a negroni. Neat, it’s very smooth and easy to drink. Nothing overwhelming about the spirit at all. It makes decent G&T.
It was brilliant in the saketini, with the addition of more junmai sake in place of vermouth, Jinzu really shone. The only drink where it fell a little flat for me was a Negroni. I think the ratios would have to be changed a little, as the usual 30ml of each ingredient nuked the delicate flavour of the Jinzu gin.
If you are looking for a contemporary gin to experiment with then Jinzu is a great choice.
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