Imagine this: you’re at a party at one of your friends’ house and you and a few friends want to take some shots. You walk over to the kitchen and see that there’s only a bottle of gin left. None of you have ever taken shots of gin before so you wonder ‘can you take gin shots?’.
Technically speaking, yes you can of course take a shot of gin if you really want to. However, if you ask a gin expert, they will always tell you to not take a shot of pure gin. Gin is not meant to be shot as the spices and botanicals etc. really only come to life in cocktails or when drunk normally.
Even though drinking shots of pure gin isn’t recommended by gin experts, it really depends on your own taste. Some people actually really like gin without anything to mix it with. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into if you should take a shot of gin and if so, what’s is the best way to do it.
Should You Take A Shot Of Gin?
Gin is quite a popular drink, you yourself have probably drunk it at least a few times, but you never really hear anything about a shot of gin. Why is that?
A lot of experts on gin (or alcohol in general) have the opinion that gin should always be mixed with something else. This mix can be some other kind of alcoholic drink, a soda, or at least a few drops of water.
Most shots of a spirit (vodka, tequila, rum, etc.) are made of purely that type of spirit and nothing else. This is mostly because spirits like vodka, tequila and rum don’t really gain any extra flavors by mixing them, unlike gin. These spirits are meant to be drunk straight or be mixed with a lot of other sodas and/or alcoholic drinks.
The amazing flavors that most gins offer however really only start to pop out when you mix it with something.
The main ingredient of gin is the juniper berry, but every gin also consists of a lot of different botanicals and herbs. Each gin is different in what kind of botanicals are used and they can range from anise to citrus, to rosemary, to cinnamon.
These botanicals only really come to life after they have been mixed with something like tonic water, just normal soda water, or when drunk straight on ice. Drinking gin without something like that may mean that you miss out on the great taste that it is supposed to have!
So to answer the question if you should even consider taking a shot of gin. You can most definitely try a shot of pure gin. Although it’s debatable whether you’ll like it.
You will probably want to mix your shot of gin with something to bring out the nice flavors some gins have to offer. Try to at least get a cold shot of gin, as room temperature gin can come across even worse. On its own, though, an ice-cold gin can actually be very enjoyable. We have written a whole other article about drinking gin straight and the best ways to so, which you can find here!
How To Take A Shot Of Gin
So basically there are two ways to take a shot of gin: the first one is to just drink it pure and the second option is to mix your gin with a little bit of some kind of soda.
Even though experts don’t recommend shotting gin, you might still want to see for yourself. Maybe you really like it, everyone’s preference is different and there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to that.
If you want to try a shot of pure gin there are a few things to take into consideration beforehand. As you can imagine, shotting something means you down your small drink really quickly. This also means that you might not taste every flavor that a drink has got to offer.
So before you take a shot out of a really expensive and extraordinary bottle of gin, think about if it’s worth it. Are you really going to enjoy the gin as much as you would like?
In some cases, shotting pure gin might be better with a somewhat cheaper and more bland bottle of gin (you could consider a London Dry Gin of a cheaper brand). This way you make sure you don’t waste a perfectly good gin, which otherwise would’ve been able to taste amazing.
This does of course mean that the flavors that you do encounter while drinking are much less enjoyable compared to a bottle with a little more distinct taste, but let’s be honest, who really shots a spirit to enjoy its taste?
In the end, this is probably more a question of how intoxicated are you already and how much of the unique flavors are you actually going to taste while you take a shot of gin.
You can also decide to pair your gin with other flavors to make it a little bit easier to drink and to make the different flavors come to life. A few different gin shots could be:
- With some soda water
- With ginger ale
- Different herbs like mint, rosemary, or fresh sage
- Tonic water (a classic of course)
- Freshly squeezed citrus juice
To top these shots of you can always put a little bit of crushed ice in there to cool down the drink which helps soften the alcohol perception. If you really want to make a fancy shot of gin you can freeze some Blue Curacao beforehand and crush this up to put in your gin shot. This will give a nice and fancy blue effect to your shot.
‘Gin Is Meant For Cocktails’
As we said before in this article, most people see gin as a spirit that is mainly made to be a perfect addition to cocktails. You can of course drink your gin neat, as some gins are amazing on its own, but most commonly you’ll see it used as a base in a cocktail.
If you want the full experience of a nice bottle of gin, there are two ways to go about it. Firstly, I do recommend you try at least on glass neat. Experiencing the rawest form of the gin will make you understand the palate and, if the gin is actually good, will make you appreciate it much more.
From there, try it in your favorite gin-based cocktail. A classic such as the gin and tonic will always be great, but you can also play around with the flavor palate. Most gins have been infused by different botanicals, so you can mix and match to your liking.
To conclude, yes you can take a shot of gin if you really want to, but please don’t waste a (expensive) gin with a really great taste pallet on a shot.
Gin is meant to be enjoyed, either in a nice cocktail that brings out all the amazing botanicals and flavors or drunk straight. If you want to take a shot of gin, make sure to add something extra to it to compliment or contrast your gin.