The Gin Professors
A review of three French gins
Although we long for our usual season of travels, we decided to review three French gins available here in the US to give us that sense that we’re sipping gin martinis in the French countryside.
Le Gin de Christian Drouin
A friend joined us for a tasting and described this gin as having strong notes of apple. And for good reason, as Le Gin’s makers use over 30 varieties of apples from their family orchard along with eight other aromatic botanicals, including juniper. The gin has hints of cardamom, vanilla and rose, all of which are well balanced with the gin’s other complex botanicals. A martini is the best way to appreciate the carefully selected botanicals in this gin. Try garnishing with a rose petal, a cardamom pod or star anise to elevate the floral notes. A slice of cucumber also adds delicious freshness.
We discovered Generous Gin at a duty-free shop in Rome. We knew nothing about the gin but were immediately attracted by its beautiful bottle. We were pleasantly surprised by the taste of this delicate gin, which has become a mainstay in our home. Generous Gin comes in four different varieties, each with its uniquely patterned and colored bottle. The original, which is still our favorite, has a fine floral bouquet. Elderflower and jasmine give the gin an herbaceous sweetness. The gin also has strong citrus notes, with a peppery after taste. Overall it’s such a fresh flavor that we love sipping it as a martini garnished with a citrus twist or a sprig of lavender.
Diplôme is an historical gin that was born in Dijon, France, after the end of World War II to supply the American GIs with gin.
After the American soldiers left their bases in 1966, the distillery retired from gin production but held on to their innovative formula. It wasn’t until the 21st century that the recipe was “rediscovered” and created again with the original French distilling methods.
Diplôme is more alcohol forward than the other two gins discussed here. That said, there is a spicy cinnamon aftertaste that reminds us of eating Red Hots. This is a highly versatile London Dry gin. Garnished with a cocktail onion would hold up well when served as a Gibson.
A gin and tonic with a Mediterranean tonic water can bring out the slight salinity of the gin. Alternatively, a Bitter French would make quite the international affair.