I can get pretty passionate about my gin, so when I saw an article recently noting that British gins were really all you should reach for when mixing a cocktail I was skeptical. What about my beloved St. George's from California? Or how about Oola, distilled right here in Seattle?
The point of The Washington Post article wasn't to take anything away from all of the incredible domestic gin producers, but rather to point out the general differences in flavor profiles and why one is clearly better suited for cocktails than another. The main difference between many American gins and British gins? Writer Jason Wilson discusses how the British gins are far more botanical or "juniper-forward" whereas many American gins are either fruitier or more floral, "which can get lost when bitters and liqueurs are added".
In our house, we often have this very debate in a roundabout way, not so much in terms of British or American gins but in terms of our nicer gins vs. mixing gins: what's the point, really, of using a really floral, special bottle of gin if you're just watering it down with tonic? So we always have at least two bottles at home: one for mixing and one for making "real" cocktails.
I haven't thought much about the British vs. American debate, but I think Wilson has a point, really: if you're going to add competing flavors to gin in a cocktail, you've got to use a gin that's big and bold enough to stand up to them. Many British gins are so juniper-forward that this isn't a problem; many of the American gins that I quite love may struggle to hold their own in this way.
→ Read the Article: Navy Strength Gins are Perfect for Cocktails by Jason Wilson