After doing some research, you decided to pick up a bottle of gin. You excitedly opened it up and poured a serving, only to be shocked by how it tasted.
Like soap! How can people enjoy drinking gin when it tastes like bathroom and shower gel? Why does gin taste like soap?
Gin may taste like soap due to the botanicals used to make it. You may also be drinking too much gin at one go, which means the gin taste becomes too intense. Issues such as saponification and over-infusion can also cause soapy gin. This is an issue if you make your own gin.
This article explores why gin tastes like soap and how you can reduce the soapiness taste of your gin.
Why Does Gin Taste Like Soap?
Soap-tasting gin is usually caused by botanicals and the wrong way of drinking it. If you make your own gin, you may be dealing with saponification or over-infusion.
Many people are actually surprised by how gin tastes. This is even if they have never drunk in straight. Most people experience gin as a cocktail, with its taste mixed with other beverages.
There may be several reasons why your gin tastes like soap:
When distillers make gin, they mix their own blend of herbs and spices and infuse the flavor into the gin. These herbs and spices are collectively called ‘botanicals.’
The most common botanicals are Juniper berries, coriander, and angelica root. However, the complete list of botanicals may be much more, and gin makers keep their recipe secret.
It may not be surprising that some botanicals are also used in your soap and shower gel. Take, for example:
The flavor from these botanicals eventually ended up in your gin. As you drink your gin, you may smell or taste these botanicals. As a result, you may think that gin tastes like soap.
You Are Drinking Gin Too Intensely
We are not talking about you getting drunk on gin but about taking in too much gin in too short a time. In short, too intense.
Now, most of us enjoyed gin as a cocktail, which means the gin was mixed with other drinks. This means these other drinks have cut into the taste of gin, which may have reduced its ‘soapiness.’
If you are to drink gin straight, or worse, shoot it in, you may not have other drinks to cut into the soapiness. This means the botanicals will be much more intense. Making you think your gin tastes like soap.
If you still want to have your gin straight, it may be better to have some ice to help dilute the gin slightly. The colder gin also will be less soapy in taste.
If you arrived at this article because your own batch of gin tastes like soap, it could be saponification.
Saponification is a reaction that happens with natural oils and fats. It is also the process that helps make soap.
Saponification may happen during the second distilling after the infusion of botanicals. This is because the botanicals released their essential oils into the base alcohol.
As a result, some of these fats and oils were released into your gin. This causes a soapy taste. It may also cause your gin to look a little cloudy.
If this has happened to your gin, consider distilling it again to raise the ABV (Alcohol By Volume). It should make the fats and oils suspend on the top of the gin.
You can then scoop it away and redistill until you remove the soapy taste.
If you make your own gin, over-infusion may also be the reason behind soapy-tasting gin.
Botanicals are one of the hardest things to get right when making gin. Add in too much of something, and the gin tastes horrible. Too few, and the flavor becomes too earthy.
In the case of soapy gin, it could be that some of your botanicals have overpowered the others. These overpowering botanicals may be the ones used in soap and shower gels.
Consider reducing it if you use botanicals such as lavender, pines, or rose. Instead, add more juniper berries to help make the gin taste more ‘mainstream’ instead.
How To Enjoy Gin Without Soapy Taste?
To reduce the soapiness of your gin, try to drink it cold. Add ice to your gin, or at least shake it with a lot of ice to cool it down.
You can mix it with other drinks and turn it into a cocktail. Citrus juices and other spirits are a good combination.
Suppose you have purchased your bottle of gin and do not like the taste of it. In that case, there are still ways to make the gin drinkable and enjoyable.
The key is to cut down the gin’s taste, which will also help reduce the soapiness. Generally, there are two ways to do this:
Cool It Down
Notice how much nicer Coke is when it’s cold vs. at room temperature? This is because the intense taste is suppressed by the temperature. You can apply the same idea here with gin.
Consider drinking gin with ice to help cool it down. The melting ice will also help to dilute it as well. You can also pour your gin into a shaker with a lot of ice and shake until the drink is cold before you drink it.
This should help suppress the gin’s soapiness and floral quality to a level your palate is comfortable accepting.
Mix It To Make Cocktail
Another option is to mix it with other drinks to make a cocktail. In fact, this may be the best option since gin is mostly enjoyed this way. Gin usually mixes well with citrus juices, fruits, and other spirits.
Consider making classic gin cocktails such as Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, or Martini. These recipes should help make your gin much more drinkable and enjoyable.
READ MORE: Best Ways To Mix Gin
The reason behind gin tasting like soap can be attributed to several factors such as the botanicals used, over-infusion, and saponification.
If you are a gin lover and do not want to give up on your favorite drink, there are ways to reduce the soapiness in gin.
By using fresher botanicals, reducing the amount of gin consumed, or using distilled water, you can enjoy a smoother and more palatable gin experience.
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