Gin: Distilled, an introduction to the spirit.
Gin Foundry releases Gin: Distilled, an introduction to the spirit.
We love a good Gin book, and lately we’ve been spoilt for choice! There are dozens of them out there – brilliant reads penned by knowledgeable and talented authors. There are books that we pick up and reference on a weekly basis, books that changed our perception of everything gin and books that we push our fellow gin fans to discover on a regular basis.
Because of this, we’ve always been a little apprehensive when asked if we wanted to do our own. Truth be told, none of the briefs that we have been invited to pitch for, nor the books that we were fortunate to be approached about, really captured our imagination. There really is no need for yet another book about the history of Gin – it’s transformation from medicinal elixir to the darling of the cocktail world has been documented (and documented well). We require no more words on William of Orange on the Gin Craze – Jessica Warner covered it perfectly in her book Gin: Debauchery in an Age of Reason and Richard Barnett brought it to life with his brilliant prose in The Dedalus Book of Gin, while David T Smith and David Wondrich have gone back and filled in the gaps on and missing decades in the spirit’s long and winding past.
Many have simply re-iterated the same ground and the same research (typically abridged), and while entertaining to read and good to remind oneself of this history, none have actually gone any further nor uncovered something different. Similarly, the tried and tested format set out in 2001 by the grand master her-self, Geraldine Coates, is untouchable. Her book, Gin, was THE reference, and something that hasn’t been eclipsed in the 17 years since its release.
Gin books get even more exciting when they’re bigger too, with glorious images adorning double page spreads on richly textured paper. We will always be the first to hold our hand up to ask for more Bible-like tomes filled with moody images, but does there really need to be a new coffee table book? Simon Difford and Tristan Stephenson have nailed this format with their two fantastic books, while we publish a Gin Annual each year that includes very similar features about brands, cocktails and insight. At the other end of the market, Dan Jones and Jassy Davis have the fun illustrated cocktail prints honed to a tee, and we also publish our little book of gins, tonics and garnishes in collaboration with Fever-Tree.
We have never felt the need to print the content that’s already up on our site for all to see, nor do we want to work on a project in which all of the editorial is submitted a minimum of 12 months ahead of release – the gin scene moves fast and we’d much rather keep up with that by publishing digitally, five days a week.
So it was with great pleasure when an idea from the team at Penguin came into our inbox that truly sparked our imagination. Hardback and with lovely detailed artwork? Yes. Printed in the UK and within four months of manuscript submission? Yes. Affordable for the mainstream and the casually interested? Yes. All these things may seem like “no brainers”, but go and compare offerings on the shelf today and you’ll seldom find this combination.
The idea was a simple one. Gin: Distilled is not targeting Gin superfans and those whom already know vast amounts about the category and taking them to a new level. No, we’re looking to help those who are just curious enough to pick something about the spirit up. This book will take the reader on a journey through modern gin – they’ll learn everything the category has to offer today, and they’ll learn it all within a few hours of peeling back the front cover. It’s deliberately made to be a quick, condensed read.
Gin: Distilled tackles the story of modern gin and how the craze has come about, starting somewhere in the 60’s and talking about the core pillars that have influenced the scene today. We’ve tried to provide an overview while steering clear of the same old information available far and wide. We wanted to start the conversation about what’s happened lately, to inform about what’s influencing makers, drinkers and enthusiasts in 2018, in the hope that there can be more done in this area in the future. It’s about gin NOW, not what happened centuries ago; in fact, some of the gins featured are only a matter of months old.
It’s about more than tasting notes too, it’s about understanding the context in which something is made, or why certain genres taste the way they do. Most of all, we hope it arms readers just approaching the category with the confidence to continue their journey of discovery.
To take someone from novice to pro, we talk about how to taste gin and how flavour works when distilled into a clear liquid in your glass, as well as how to go about making cocktails – these are important in any summary of the spirit and really help to build understanding. It’s short at only 128 pages and delivered in a quick, fast paced editorial that is easy to go through, reference and read.
Gin: Distilled has been great fun to work on and we would like to take the chance to thanks all those at Ebury publishing for their faith in our Gin knowledge. For £8.50, we hope that it delivers fantastic value for readers and those looking for gifts for gin lovers this winter.
Copyright © Gin Foundry