At The Malt Gallery, we love to discover what’s new in the market; and who better to guide us than industry professionals. We caught up with Walid Merhi, co-owner and manager of Ferdinand Gastrobar, and head of the beverage program at Baky Hospitality, Egypt, for the lowdown on gin, his current spirit of choice.
What's special about gin?
In my opinion, gin stands out for several reasons, namely its versatility and rich flavor profile: from citrusy to light, floral and aromatic. Ease and efficiency of production plays a significant role too, as it can be consumed hours after it has been made, without compromising on quality or taste.
Also, credit must be given to the huge marketing of gin, mainly adopted by the modern single-malt distilleries that are producing gin to generate short-term revenues while their whiskies mature.
Why is gin a popular choice in cocktails?
Gin has become the spirit of choice in mixology because of how easily it is to handle. It can be used in a simple cocktail, such as a Tom Collins, and can also complement strong flavors without overpowering them, like in a Gin Basil Smash or a Bees Knees.
The sudden growth of the spirit-forward scene worldwide has also played a role in boosting demand for cocktails, especially when it comes to drinks such as Negroni, the Last Word, the Aviation and, in particular, the Dry Martini.
What's your favorite gin-based cocktail and why?
I love a frosted Dry Martini. Even though it consists of two simple ingredients, it’s very tricky to do well. A good Dry Martini depends on so many hidden factors other than the quality of the ingredients, namely dilution, temperature, the size and shape of the glass, dryness, the quality of the ice, mixing techniques and so much more. It is a clean cocktail that displays the integrity of the product and the intelligence behind the craft.
What gin recipe can you share with us?
I would like to share a cocktail from the new menu I am proudly crafting for the Malt Gallery experience. First documented in the early 1900s, it’s called “Marguerite” and is claimed to be the cocktail that inspired the original Dry Martini.
4.5cl Nikka gin
3.5cl Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambery
Stir the ingredients with ice for one minute. The ice should be fresh and dry.
Squirt the oils of a grapefruit peel into a Martini glass before straining the cocktail.
Garnish with lemon or orange peel.
For all your gin purchases, visit The Malt Gallery’s online boutique or visit our branches in Achrafieh and Batroun.