New territory at the ISW: For the first time, the Meininger International Spirits Award ISW was dedicated to the combination of spirit and matching filler at the June tasting. The search was on for the perfect matches for gin with different tonic waters. More than 150 combinations of nearly 30 different gins with six different tonics from the Schweppes and Goldberg brands came to the table of the tasters, who rated 25 of them as perfect match.
In the blind tasting, the judges were each given 5 cl of gin freshly mixed with 15 cl of tonic water on exactly five ice cubes and served without garnish.
A difficult task for the taster round from spirit connoisseurs and bar experts such as the Hamburg bar icon Uwe Christiansen or Mixology editor-in-chief Nils Wrage. First, the gins were tasted pure and analysed aromatically using a specially developed ISW evaluation scheme. This was followed at short intervals by the six gin & tonic combinations with the respective base gin.
The jury's task was to evaluate how certain tonic waters altered the characteristics of the gin, emphasized or suppressed certain aromas, and to select a perfect match for the respective gin with a specific tonic water on a scale of 1-10.
In the process, it crystallized that there are both gins that harmonize with various tonics and can always prevail due to their strong basic aromas, as well as gins that bring somewhat more fragile aromas with them and are dependent on a finely tuned sparring partner in the filler area.
Schweppes Dry Tonic emerged from the tasting as the winner in terms of versatility, with eight combinations accounting for the most perfect matches. The dry, tangy taste was well received by the experts and opened up exciting new flavors in some gins, which sometimes remained undiscovered in the pure tasting.
But the traditional GOLDBERG Tonic also performed very well with five perfect matches. The typical tonic taste, which every consumer is familiar with, harmonizes not without reason with a wide range of gin varieties, leaving them room to develop and play out their flavors.
The GOLDBERG Mediterrenean Tonic was also able to generate four perfect matches and also shows itself to be versatile.
“Gin in particular is currently drunk to a large extent in combination with tonic, so that we would like to offer both the consumers themselves and the trade, the gastronomy and the bar scene a little help with this competition. The number of gins and tonics on the market is now huge - with this first tasting we are doing our bit to help people find their way through the jungle a little better,” concludes Director Degustation Christian Wolf.