Gin is a trendy drink, and its smaller brother, pink gin, is becoming more and more popular as well! But what is pink gin?
Pink gin gets its color from the fruits and berries that are used to give it flavor. Besides giving the gin a pink color, these fruits also make the gin sweeter and arguably improve its aesthetic.
But there’s a lot more to pink gin! It’s actually a very interesting drink with uses different from normal gin. In this article, we’ll go over everything there is to know about pink gins, their taste, and their use!
What Is Pink Gin And How Does It Taste
Pink gin is a sweeter version of gin that’s been getting more and more popular lately. What a pink gin actually is has been changing with time. Nowadays, many sorts of gin are pink gins, but back in the day, this used to be different.
Originally, pink gin was a cocktail comprised of gin and angostura bitters. Angostura bitter is a concentrated herbal alcohol preparation based on herbs and spices.
Angostura bitters are colored red, and when mixed with the clear-colored gin, you’ll get a pink colored gin. This is where the name ‘pink gin’ originated from. This drink is officially a cocktail and a tasty one at that.
Nowadays, though, a pink gin is, well, a pink-colored gin. It doesn’t really matter where it gets its pink color from. As long as it’s pink, it’s officially a pink gin.
Most commonly, you’ll find that pink gins get their color from the botanicals used to give them flavor. Some popular botanicals that give off a pink color are rhubarb, pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry, rose petals, and red currants.
As for taste, a pink gin is much sweeter than your standard gin. The most common type of gin is a London Dry Gin, which is juniper-forward and has a simple, crisp taste.
Pink gin, however, is infused with many different fruits and other botanicals aside from the main botanical which always has to be the juniper berry. These give off a much sweeter taste, resulting in a sweeter, more approachable, and easier-to-drink gin.
A pink gin is perfect for someone who hasn’t really tried gin or isn’t too big of a fan of regular gin, as this version is much easier to like. A standard gin, like a London dry gin, is quite bitter and ‘piney’. The sweetness of a pink gin makes it much more approachable while still providing a gin feel.
And this can be seen back in its popularity as well! In 2013, there were around 5 pink gins on the market. As of writing this article, there are well over 150 different pink gins on the market!
In fact, a pink gin holds the title of being one of the most successful spirits launches this decade. The Pink Gin from Gordon’s was responsible for around $85 million in sales in just its first year.
Safe to say, pink gin is received well and will continue to be at the forefront of the gin market. Especially considering its gorgeous color and aesthetic.
How Does Pink Gin Get Its Pink Color
As we mentioned before, pink gin gets its color from red and pink-colored botanicals. These botanicals are often added after the distillation process, causing them to color the drink itself.
This is also why other gins don’t get a different color after being infused with certain botanicals. These botanicals are added during the distillation, not after, which results in a clear spirit.
You could even see pink gin as a flavored gin. Just like with vodka, where you can get a raspberry-flavored vodka, pineapple-flavored vodka, vanilla-flavored vodka, etc, you can now get raspberry or strawberry-flavored gin.
Most bartenders aren’t the biggest fans of pink gins, as most are artificially flavored. A bartender would much rather make you a sweet gin cocktail than serve you a pink gin, but there’s no denying the popularity of pink gin.
This is not to discredit pink gin either. Pink gins definitely have their place in a liquor cabinet and make for a fantastic and sweet drink. Due to this, pink gins also bring in a ton of people that normally wouldn’t even think about trying gin!
What Are The Differences Between Normal Gin And Pink Gin
The differences between normal gin and pink gin are actually quite small. Gin is a clear neutral grain spirit that gets its taste from being infused with botanicals.
The main botanical in gin is the juniper berry. In fact, a gin without juniper berries is not officially a gin, by law.
From here, the simple grain spirit is infused with certain botanicals. Of course, juniper berry is one of them, but there are many, many more. The botanicals range from certain fruits to flowers, to spices. You can read more about a few commonly used botanicals and the taste they give off.
When you’re making pink gin, you simply take a regular gin, and, after distillation, you add the red fruits to it. These fruits, however, contain lots of sugar, making the drink much sweeter.
These are some of the key differences between pink gin and normal gin; their color and taste. That being said, pink gin is arguably one of the most aesthetically pleasing drinks there is. The gorgeous light pink color will look great in any drink and will do even better on social media.
There are some similarities as well. Both gins will have a similar ABV (alcohol by volume) and both are, of course, gin. But that’s where most similarities will end.
Pink gins are basically flavored, sweeter versions of regular gin, and can easily be compared to flavored vodkas or even flavored whiskeys. Although, there is an important difference between flavored vodkas and pink gins.
This difference is that gins always have to contain natural products like herbs and spices, whereas vodkas don’t have to be flavored with natural products.
The History Behind Pink Gin
Even though pink gin is gaining a lot of popularity lately, it has been around for a long while. The first sights of pink gin date all the way back to the mid-19th century. Here, the pink gins weren’t made pink by the gin makers, but by the people at home.
Back then, people used to mix their gins with the red-colored Angostura bitters. These bitters are made up of herbs and spices and have a strong taste to them. Mixing the gin with this red liquid makes a pink drink.
This mixture has its roots in the British Royal Navy. In the British Royal Navy, the soldiers used to drink gin and tonic on a regular. Gin and tonic were believed to help with sickness and other health-related issues (and it probably provided some of the soldiers with some much-needed courage).
Angostura bitters have a similar story, as they were believed to help with seasickness. It was only natural that the soldiers started to mix these liquids, thus turning their drinks pink.
Another added benefit of Angostura bitters is that just a few drops are enough to flavor several drinks. This made it incredibly easy for the ships to carry these bitters, as they don’t take up much space.
And besides the added benefit of helping with seasickness, Angostura bitters also add a nice flavor to the gin. This resulted in this drink becoming quite an easy to make cocktail simply called the ‘Pink Gin’.
As the British Royal Navy was sailing throughout the world, this pink gin drink was introduced in many places and resulted in a few different cocktails, like the Singapore Sling.
This drink is made in a few different ways, but important ingredients are gin, lime juice, pineapple juice, cherry liqueur, and simple syrup.
As time went on, though, pink gin started to get a different meaning. Red botanicals would be added to a gin after distillation, giving the gin a sweeter and fruitier taste, as well as a pink color.
This goes for how we know the pink gins today, but the cocktail ‘Pink Gin’ (gin and Angostura bitters) is still around as well!
How To Best Use Pink Gin
Pink gin, believe it or not, actually has many uses! Its sweet flavor profile actually makes it quite versatile.
Because of the sweet taste, pink gin is often drunk by younger people.
A bottle of pink gin would be great for a party, for example. The sweetness allows it to be mixed with many things, but also to be consumed on its own quite easily.
Yes, you can actually drink gin on its own. Besides mixing and drinking it on its own, pink gin is also a great contender for shots.
However, there are also more classy ways to drink pink gin. Again, on its own, poured over ice, is amazing. You can truly immerse yourself in all the different flavors, making for a delightful experience.
You can also use pink gin in your cocktails. Whether you want to make the original Pink Gin cocktail (gin and Angostura bitters), or use a modern pink gin and mix it with tonic, you’re sure to get a wonderful drink.
Not only has a wonderful taste, but the pink color will really make your drink stand out. Lastly, there are a few more extravagant cocktails that use pink gin, such as the pink negroni:
A pink negroni is a twist on the original negroni. Instead of using regular gin, you can use pink gin, making the cocktail a little sweeter.
For this cocktail, you’ll need 35ml of pink gin, 25ml of Vermouth, and 15ml of Aperol. Combine these liquids and serve over fresh ice, garnish with a pink fruit, and you’ve got a sweet and classy cocktail.
What Are The Dominant Brands In The Pink Gin Industry
Nowadays, pink gin is made by all relevant gin brands. However, some definitely have a larger focus on pink gins than others.
Earlier, we mentioned how Gordon’s Pink Gin was performing amazingly, however, Gordon’s is also known for its regular gins. Still, Gordon’s is a great brand that produces amazing pink gins.
Another brand that makes fantastic pink gins is Pinkster Gin. Pinkster Gin accidentally started to produce pink gin. The founder, Stephen, experimented with combining fruits and spirits.
He found that raspberries worked the best with gin, giving off the nicest flavor. However, a side effect of the raspberries was the pink color. From there, the company became one of the best pink gin producers.
Other brands that make great pink gins are Manchester Gin, Rives Premium, Musgrave, Burleighs, and Gin Lane 1751. Not only do all these brands offer great pink gins, but they also sell great regular gins as well.
Some Pink Gins Worth Checking Out
There is an article on this website dedicated to the best pink gins, which you can find here! However, to close out this article, we do want to list a few great ones right here as well.
1. Gordon’s Pink Gin
This pink gin from Gordon’s will always be a great choice. Gordon’s is a respected gin brand, ensuring you get a quality gin with a great taste.
This gin was launched in 2017 and perfectly displays the taste of strawberry, raspberry, and redcurrant. Along with these fruits is the signature juniper taste, making for a crisp, sweet, and fruity taste.
With Gordon’s Pink Gin, you simply cannot go wrong. A pink gin from a respected gin brand, that tastes fresh and fruity. What more do you want?
Gordon’s Pink Gin is great on its own, but is best served in a cocktail. You can make the perfect Singapore Sling with this gin, but a simple gin and tonic will already be amazing!
2. Pinkster Gin
Pinkster Gin is, as discussed earlier, a gin that turned pink by accident. Luckily, it tastes amazing and it’s definitely recommended to try this one out.
With this gin, you’ll get a crisp flavor of raspberry, supported by vanilla and some spices. This makes for a rounded taste that will always be in style.
The nice thing about this particular gin is that it’s rather dry for a pink gin. This gives the gin a more mature taste and takes away some of that youthfulness that other pink gins have. This, however, also means that some people who like the sweetness of other pink gins, will maybe not like this one just as much.
Pinkster Gin on its own is already amazing. Serving this with ice makes for a refreshing and summery drink. However, it works just as well in any popular gin cocktail.
3. Gin MG Rosa
Gin MG Rosa is a lovely gin with a taste of strawberries. In addition to the strong taste of juniper berries, the strawberry adds a light sweetness and fruity aspect to this gin.
This Spanish gin not only has a fantastic taste, but the color of the liquid is also beautiful. This pink gin makes for some of the most aesthetically pleasing drinks imaginable!
Overall, Gin MG Rosa is just a fantastic, straightforward pink gin, flavored with strawberries. This gin is great on its own but it’s best served in a refreshing gin and tonic.
Pink gin is a type of gin that has a light pink hue and a slightly sweet taste. It can be enjoyed alone or mixed in cocktails and is a great way to switch up your gin drinking experience.
Whether you’re a gin connoisseur or just starting out, pink gin is a great way to explore the world of gin and discover the many varied tastes and styles.
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