I was out of gin for about a month, and found room in the budget for some this week, so I made my way to Jungle Jim’s yesterday. I thought I might save a few dollars and buy Tanqueray Ten (not Tanqueray. Tanqueray Ten.) instead of Hendrick’s. If I drove a little farther, I could buy a full liter of Hendrick’s for nearly the same cost, but wasn’t into the idea.
Anyway. Shelved between those two brands was another I’d never heard of. I called the man and asked if he’d had it, and he looked it up online to learn…IT’S FOR MEN.
It is a gin for men. Because you see, women like all their drinks to taste like hummingbird nectar and lollipops, and this scares men from gin, since the new (American style, let’s be honest,) labels are much too girly in taste profile, and there is only one kind of man and he refuses to drink any gin that might accidentally turn his martini into liquid cotton candy. Except from my experience that’s new-style vodka, not gin, and a topic for another day.
This “gin for men” idea is, of course, a marketing gimmick, but I don’t know that they are actually pursuing it other than as a testament in their advertising. I realize I made an apron yesterday and I will confess to silver polish on my toes this week, however, have you ever had the impression I would enjoy something like Fruitlooptini? Maybe the stamp was a little smudged when I was printed. Here’s a look at the concept, anyway.
But in terms of what it means to be a woman drinking a “man’s gin,” this author sums it all up much better than I can, and it was hearing her review of Langley’s No. 8 over the phone that cemented my decision to buy it. I’d been wanting a gimlet all day, anyway, so she struck a chord. You really must read what she wrote about her experience with this gin. Go on, I’ll wait here.
Back? Good. Wasn’t that sharp? I do not, however, use Rose’s Lime as she did. Honestly, I find it cloyingly sweet, and why should you have to add lime juice to fix it? I like Stirrings Key Lime syrup if I can find it, but will make my own with limes, sugar and water, or, better, with Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime juice and sugar, and I also use a higher ratio of gin to lime syrup. So mine is a sterner gimlet than hers, ‘cause I guess she and Raymond Chandler are more girly than me, or whatever.
So to further commit to the science of understanding what makes a gin a man’s gin, I have crafted a martini this evening, which I chose to make with Lillet Blanc, in the usual 6:1 proportion, though I’ll drink one from a bar that’s 5:1, as happens from time to time. That’s probably easier to sling into a glass without fuss, just guessing. I can pour an accurate ounce from a bottle, but that’s the extent of my bartending flair.
Mainly, the thing about the Langley’s is that it’s middle ground. Have you had Junipero? Middle ground like that, but…if Langley’s is manly in the “I’ll be at my ‘no girls allowed’ club" sense, Junipero is manly in a really terrific pair of shoes, with a great haircut and the often delectable scent of “yes, girls are allowed, because I like them a lot.” I don’t know, the metaphoric comparison got off track between brain and keyboard. Anyway. Langley’s No. 8 is partly classic, partly “new” botanical. It doesn’t taste entirely of tree like old-timey gins, nor entirely of garden, which is what their copywriter dismissed about brands such as Hendrick’s.
So maybe that’s what men like and women don’t: middle ground. That hasn’t been my personal experience, but what do I really know, after all? I probably like an Aviation because it’s lightly purple. That’s probably why Ernest Hemingway liked it, too. He was known for being such a girl.
I'd say it's very good, well-balanced, and gives one ideas about things, which a good martini should always do, but again, not my favorite. This gin, I think, is well-made for tall fizzy drinks, which is not my arena. Still, if you like gin, and I do mean styles of gin created since Germany was reunited, I recommend giving Langley’s No. 8 a try. I paid $38, whereas Hendrick’s is generally $34, but this will vary according to region.
PS: At the Langley’s website, there’s little mention of this man’s gin business, but there are several recipes which are rather more fussy-sounding than most of the ones I make. Your mileage, of course, will vary.