Sangria = Another word for Gin and Juice?
May 23, 2014 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to a Memorial Day pool party, and I'm planning on making this peach-rosemary white sangria. Problem is, I need to buy gin and I don't know anything about gin. Please help!

I understand that different brands have different flavors depending on which botanicals they use. Also, the recipe specifies London dry gin. Wikipedia says that has to do with how it's distilled, but how do I know which gin is London dry? Gin-drinkers of Metafilter: what would be a good gin to complement the peach-rosemary flavors of this sangria?

(I do think the herbaceous qualities of the gin are important to the integrity of the drink and what I'm going for with it, so suggestions of other alcohol to use are welcome, but I'm really looking for gin recommendations. Thanks!)
posted by Weeping_angel to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
(This is, of course, provided I can get decent peaches, but I'll punt on that if it comes to it...)
posted by Weeping_angel at 6:33 PM on May 23, 2014

I doubt you'll be able to taste any subtle distinctions against the sangria background. I'd just do beefeater or tanqueray and not stress about it.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:34 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

For this application it doesn't matter much what gin you use. If there's a Trader Joes near you get their London dry gin. If not, get Gordon's. Even Seagrams would be okay for this application.
posted by mollweide at 6:38 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

I like Seagrams for stuff like this.
posted by ryanrs at 6:41 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

London dry is what you're looking for, so go get some! It's just like if a recipe calls for bourbon whiskey - bourbon is defined as bourbon by its ingredients in the same sort of way as London dry gin.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:41 PM on May 23, 2014

I'm not a big gin drinker (I like it just fine, but generally don't drink much liquor), but one thing to consider is the proof. A bottom-shelf gin like Gordon's is more likely to be 80 proof (the standard proof of most liquors), but better gin is typically 90-96 (e.g., Bombay Sapphire). If it calls for London dry specifically I'd make sure to get that, but not go for top shelf because all the mixer is going to mask the quality. Beefeater or Gordon's are your best bets, I'd think, but factor in the proof to the ratios (or just mix to taste).
posted by axiom at 6:46 PM on May 23, 2014

It's sangria. Just get Tanqueray or whatever.

The whole point of sangria is that you add all the different ingredients together so that you can't taste the relative quality of any one thing. And there isn't really enough gin in it to get the tasting notes of whichever brand.
posted by Sara C. at 6:55 PM on May 23, 2014

Almost all popular gins are in the London Dry style. This is to differentiate it from the Dutch Jenever style which is definitely a different kettle of fish. Given all the ingredients and sugars in your recipe the brand (or quality) of the gin used probably won't be that important. Save yourself some money...
posted by jim in austin at 6:57 PM on May 23, 2014

Also to differentiate between Hendricks or others which aren't London dry either. Gordon's or new Amsterdam will serve you well.
posted by Carillon at 7:03 PM on May 23, 2014

This is one of the few gin-related things where I'd consider Seagram's acceptable. That or Gordon's or Beefeater. All of those satisfy the fundamental requirements for London dry gin.

It's not really a cocktail where you need to be fussy about proportions, either: if it tastes too ginny, add more wine and another peach. If it doesn't taste ginny enough, add more gin.

(How to tell if it's not ginny enough? Pour out a serving, taste; add a splash of gin, taste; repeat until it's too ginny.)
posted by holgate at 7:27 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a gin snob and I agree that you don't need to worry about this. Gordon's or Seagram's will be totally fine.
posted by dfan at 7:49 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grr. This isn't a sangria at all. It's closer to a cobbler than anything — sangrias have red wine (hence blood — white wine? bug blood?) and usually brandy as the fortifier.

BUT, to answer your question: It pretty much doesn't matter. The thing is that for a mixed drink like this where the gin is the accent, pretty much all mass-market gins are A-OK. Seagrams, Beefeater, Gordon's, Gilby's, Bombay (not sapphire) doesn't really matter. They're all slightly different, but all dry, juniper predominant with a citrus twist. In fact, for this if I was going for the best suited, I'd probably go with New Amsterdam, which is pretty heavy on the citrus — too citrusy for most martinis and G&Ts, in my 'umble, but still decent enough and it's often on sale for absurdly low prices.

One of the best things about gin as a drink is that while you can certainly bump up and pay more, the mid-shelf stuff is just a matter of which one you happen to prefer; they're pretty functionally interchangeable. They're all made for martinis and mixing, and they all do an OK job of it. Pick whatever label you like best or what's on sale; so long as you're not paying $10 for a handle you'll be fine.
posted by klangklangston at 8:16 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love gin and will only have it in shots straight up or, if I am in the mood, in dry martinis with lemon twist. I don't normally drink cocktails (for gin or any other liquor) as I find the mixers interfere with the unique taste of the liquor. Gin is my dangerous weakness and always gets me in trouble, even though red wine is my everyday beverage of choice, and whiskey my other go to.

I agree that with a cocktail it doesn't really matter what brand you use. I personally like Plymouth straight up. Tanqueray is nice enough and you really can't go wrong with it, and I find Hendrick's decent but too "smooth" (for lack of a better word). I have no shame in admitting that after Plymouth I really enjoy Bombay (and would put it ahead of Tanqueray). I must say I also like it's value for the dollar.

To me, it is a waste to put good quality alcohol in a fruity cocktail since you won't be able to savour the flavour. My personal feeling (not saying this is true for anyone other than myself) is the cocktail helps make the alcohol more palatable to casual drinkers, or alternately lets the more serious drinker unwind without getting too tipsy. That said, regarding cheaper options, I do find Gordons harsh and that harshness will come through in a cocktail - I have had Gordons as my "emergency booze" in the past because it is not a nice sipping option even for a seasoned drinker that enjoys gin such as myself. Bombay Sapphire is more mellow and will please people who are not accustomed to a strong burn or who would appreciate a bit more complexity without being too pricey. I think Bombay is a happy medium in terms of price and cost
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 8:34 PM on May 23, 2014

Whichever gin you pick, consider adding a splash of triple-sec.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:06 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most gins are London dry. Tanqueray is fine for this; Beefeater if you want to go a little more pricey or upscale.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:18 AM on May 24, 2014

Don't get Hendrick's -- it tastes like cucumber.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:19 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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