For those of you that received the March Gin explorer box, you will have noticed that there were 5 bottles for sampling rather than the usual 4.
The additional bottle was Dingle Vodka.
On first appearance, it would be difficult to tell the difference between a glass of gin and a glass of vodka. Both are clear and colourless and can be made from a variety of grains such as barley or wheat.
Gin has a distinctive taste – from juniper berries. To be considered gin it must at least contain juniper and to be a London Dry, juniper must be the predominant flavour. Other botanicals are also used and can include literally anything provided the juniper is there. Vodka, on the other hand, is pretty tasteless (unless you find a flavoured vodka of course)
Vodka likes the cold – as vodka has simple flavours, chilling it doesn’t’ affect the taste. However, gin isn’t too keen on being served from the freezer. If you serve really cold gin you won’t notice the botanical flavours at all.
Gin is the new kid on the block – as we know, genever was used in 17th century for ailments with sailors however Vodka can be traced back to Russia as late as 9th century.
Vodka can be used for a variety of cocktails – because it doesn’t have a super strong flavour, bartenders use vodka a lot as a base for their cocktails. The botanicals in gin can hinder a cocktail which is why it’s more suited for something much simpler like a gimlet.
Gin has more variety – a gin isn’t just a gin…do you want a London Dry, Old Tom, Plymouth, a New Western or a Jenever (if you can find it). Vodka is vodka – OK you can tell the difference between a cheap or more expensive vodka. A decent vodka is soft and smooth; never harsh or burning.
Vodka is stronger – most Russian vodkas are around 80% ABV. A London Dry Gin, must by law, be at least 37.5% ABV. There are stronger gins with a Navy Strength being at least 57% ABV.
Vodka has fewer calories – 95 calories in a vodka and diet tonic vs 114 calories in a gin and diet tonic.
Both can be made into a Martini – vodka will give you a softer, earthier flavour whilst a gin martini will have a more prominent flavour from the botanicals. The first martini was made with gin.