Sweep the patio, clean the BBQ, chill the mixers, slice the condiments and get your West Winds Gin a ready – summer is coming!
Spring gives way to the summer heat, life’s most precious moments migrate outdoors. From Christmas to family reunions, barbeques to weddings, the right gin and fare can make a casual event shine, and a more formal affair sparkle. Let’s play with The West Winds Sabre & Cutlass gins and celebrate the start of the season in style.
For many, gin at a barbecue seems a little out of place, kind of like the guest who shows up in knee-high leather boots when everyone lazing around the pool is in thongs. When we think of those brawny meats charring away on the grill, our immediate thought is to quench our thirst with an iced beer from the esky. Sometimes, we might be handed a disposable cup filled with a friend's latest sangria experiment, or their too-boozy fruit punch.
If there is a round of enthusiastic gin sipping happening on the patio while the potato salad is being made, typically that rapidly draining bottle will be pink. There is perhaps no gin more emblematic of summer than this chilled, blush-coloured beaut—mix my West Winds Wild Plum Gin with prosecco, please!
At the first glimmer of a hot day, along with the excitement of slipping into sundresses or shorts, comes the confident purchase of gin. As soon as the nights grow cold again, it gets unfairly shunned, much like iced coffee, for warmer, toastier counterparts. I’ll save the merits of sipping gin on even the most frigid of July eves for another time. Right now I’d like to point out that while gin will be welcome at any alfresco fête, at least if you are hanging out with the right people, The West Winds range offers gin for everyone and should be opened with relish as the steak sizzles in the background.
Sabre Gin (40% Alcohol Percentage)
Vegetables & Arrival Plates
If London dry styled gin is your thing, The Sabre offers a uniquely Australian spin with flavour bursts of lemon and coriander seed plus creaminess from wattle seed making it a good fit for any skewers stacked with vegetables, or a blackened ratatouille salad as well as olives, haloumi and chorizo.
You may not immediately think washing down eggplant or grilled zucchini or the like with gin is a good thing. After all, so many of them are heavy-handed with juniper. Yet Sabre surprises, unfurling lovely flavours of all things citrus, balanced juniper and soft botanicals. Extend the length by adding freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon rind, mix with a good tonic and boom – G&T’s with the arrival classics.
For BBQ Seafood
Marrying a seafood dish with white wine has long been tradition, why not continue to enjoy the simple G&T with your grilled fish, naked saved for a few squirts of lemon and a light brushing of olive oil. Let the citrus notes of the gin work with the simplicity of the fish.
A meatier fish, like say, a swordfish steak, does need some backbone, and that’s when a dirty martini is what you shake for all; the saltiness and the ice neutralise the heat of the alcohol and brings back the delicacy of the botanicals and citrus cutting through the texture of the fish. When it gets paired and sipped, it pops!
If you’re grilling up a side of salmon or other softer-flavoured fish, think of a mixer of green tea or prosecco for a lively blend of citrus and mineral flavours.
Cutlass Gin (50% Alcohol Percentage)
Truly Australian charmer known for it’s beautiful aromatic character. Tasted neat it’s punchy and fresh. It leads with subtle sweet notes which build as you sip. There is a lovely border fruitiness which comes from the hearty bush tomato and the middle is dry and lightly bitter which builds to a peppery finish which activates the roof of the mouth with a lovely tingle. It has a clean, sharp linger which is very pleasant indeed.
For BBQ or Grilled Chicken
Often deemed a blah substitute for the array of smoky meats favoured on the grill, chicken can be its most flavourful when seared over coals. While an everyday roast chicken goes well with, say, a delicate Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir, a bird’s time on the grill provides intriguing contrast to easy- drinking gin!
With tonic, a halved cherry tomato and a good sprig of basil you will find balanced herbaceous and creaminess and the pleasant acidity makes you happy to have it in your glass all dinner long.
At first, a hearty red seems like a boon with grilled sausage. But given the meaty coils’ predilection for spice and snap, a basil gin smash or gin mint julep provides a rush of acidity that enlivens like no other.
It’s a familiar adage, one oft repeated because it’s true: steak and red make the best of buddies. It does not mean, however, that the red in question needs to be a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. Not only does that varietal instantly conjure a roaring fireplace—which has no place in summertime daydreams—buying a good bottle is often a pricey investment. Remember, you’re at a cookout eating off paper plates, not a white tablecloth steak house or brasserie. This is a good opportunity, then, to savour the depth of more offbeat gems like a Cutlass Red Snapper!
If You Had to Pick Just One…
Well, I can’t!
Sabre should be in your kitchen at all times. But so should Cutlass! Delicate blends of aromas, juniper berries and surprises of bursting flavour, loads of freshness and acidity and magically goes well with almost everything — whether you’re just waiting for the steaks to flip or you want to linger on the patio all night.