Gin. It’s everywhere now, isn’t it?
You can’t move down a high street without falling over at least one specialist gin bar and even the most modest of hostelries seems to be offering about a third of their bar space to the spirit.
Last year, just in the UK, we bought 47 million bottles. Sales have doubled in value over the last six years, reaching £1.2 BILLION for the year up to September 2017. It’s the country’s favourite spirit apparently with nearly 30% of people saying it’s their top pick.
That popularity saw retailers develop a range of festive gifts last year which included Gin-themed Christmas gifts including hot water bottles, baubles, advent calendars, Christmas jumpers, fairy lights, Christmas crackers and even gin-flavoured cheese.
It’s come a long way since its earliest origins in the Middle Ages where it was a herbal medicine. It as was developed based on the older Dutch liquor, jenever, and became popular in Great Britain (particularly in London) when William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, occupied the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones between 1689 and 1702.
Similarly to beer, craft versions are increasingly popular with people seeming to make a move away from the mainstream to something a bit more bespoke, and often locally created. And forget hacking a bit of lemon off and adding some generic tonic, the best-dressed gins are adorned with everything from fresh orange zest to rosemary sticks and juniper berries to cucumber and grapefruit peel to frozen berries. So, something to snack on while you drink at least.
The Gin industry is gearing up for World Gin Day on June 9th and we looked at how you can use it in cooking as well as for a tipple…and were astounded at just how many recipes are out there!
From Gin and tonic cronuts to Gin penne pasta, there’s a recipe using Gin out there to go with almost every meal (well, maybe not breakfast). Fish and salad dressings seem to be particularly well served by using Gin. However, meats, vegetables, fruits and all other ingredients seem to also benefit from a splash of gin, so there’s no limits!
Why not try this one for pork steaks with gin and coriander sauce?
2 juniper berries
4 tbsp gin, warmed
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
2 x 175g/6oz thick, boneless pork steaks
150ml ¼ pint English apple juice
4 tbsp crème fraîche
- Crush the juniper berries (try using a rolling pin!).
- Warm the gin (in a pan) then pour over the juniper berries and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
- Trim the pork of most of its fat but leave some on to help retain moisture. Drain the juniper berries, but keep the gin!
- Pound the garlic, rosemary and coriander seeds with the juniper berries and 2 tbsp olive oil and then spread the mixture over the pork. Cover and marinate for as long as possible (preferably overnight).
- Heat the remaining oil in a small non-stick frying pan until very hot. Add the pork and cook quickly on both sides until golden. Pour in the gin – boil fast until it disappears and then pour in the apple juice and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 10 minutes until the pork is cooked and the sauce reduced. Remove the pork and place on a warm plate.
- Stir the crème fraîche into the sauce. Bring back to boil and boil quickly for 1-2 minutes then season to taste.
- Try serving with piles of creamy mashed potato and buttered savoy cabbage – yum!