by Bernard Lahousse
on March 25, 2016

Mediterranean Inspirations: How to pair Gin Mare?

Foodpairing® is excited to announce its partnership with Gin Mare for its sixth annual Mediterranean Inspirations Cocktail Competition in Ibiza. As a member of the jury and official media partner for this year’s contest, we can’t wait to taste your ideas. Bartenders, inspire your creations with our Gin Mare aroma analysis below and unlock potential ingredient pairings, so that you can take your cocktails to the next level!

Flavors of the Mediterranean

For the Spanish, the “gin tonic” evinces something of a national drink, and rightly so. Different from the staid English “gin and tonics,” the Spanish versions are worlds apart, ripe with vibrant flavors and bold accents. Enter Gin Mare, with its signature blend of fragrant botanicals, citrus and Arbequina olives sourced entirely from the Mediterranean region. As anyone who has ever tasted this locavore’s premium gin knows, just one sip is enough to be a transportive experience, to say the least.

Situated along La Costa Dorada or “the Golden Coast,” the Giró family distillery began producing gin in the 1940s, along with other wines and spirits that date back to 1835. Unlike traditional gins, which are very juniper-forward in flavor, Gin Mare has paved the way for a whole new category of gins. In addition to the more typical botanicals and spices such as juniper berries, lemon peels, Seville orange peels, cardamom and coriander seeds, the most distinguishing element of Gin Mare is its use of hand picked Arbequina olives, prized for their Denominación de Origen (DO). But that’s not all. This specialty gin also features Italian sweet basil, Turkish rosemary and Greek thyme, further evoking the spirit of the Mediterranean.

Aromatic Analysis: Gin Mare

Aromatic Analysis: Gin Mare

As we can see from our Foodpairing® aroma analysis of Gin Mare, this flavorful spirit is largely characterized by its spicy, herbal and citrus notes. Although most commonly associated with cloves, aromatic compounds like eugenol are also present in other ingredients such as basil and orange peels. You can visualize the different botanical links to Gin Mare in the aroma wheel below.

Botanical Analysis: Gin Mare

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Botanicals like rosemary lend Gin Mare a piney, woody scent called pinenes, which is a key odorant also found in juniper berries, the primary ingredient for most gins. Juniper berries contain another herbal, aromatic note known as beta-myrcene, which is also present in basil and thyme.

Italian sweet basil imparts certain anisic (anise-like), balsamic (cinnamon-like) and camphor-like aromatic notes to Gin Mare’s signature blend. These three notes are present in varying degrees across all varieties of basil. Whereas Thai basil contains more anise odorants, African blue basil has more camphor odorants, and cinnamon basil, as its name suggests, has more cinnamon odorants. Try experimenting with the different varieties if you want to enhance these notes in your Gin Mare cocktail pairings.

Lastly, the small, black Arbequina olives impart a distinctive savory element to Gin Mare, rounding out its fruity, herbal notes with their fragrant green grassy, tomato-like aroma.

Gin Mare: Crafting a difference

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The balance of Gin Mare’s more traditional ingredients, along with the Arbequina olives, basil, thyme and rosemary, account for its markedly different aromatic profile when compared with other gins. The added benefit of these extra aromatic components enables us to pair Gin Mare with many more food and drink items than your average gins.

Inspire Your Cocktail Creations

Citrus like bergamots, blood oranges and grapefruits are obvious matches for Gin Mare, but we can also draw out its fruity notes by pairing it with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, guavas, peaches and mangoes.

Root vegetables (think: carrots, parsnips and beets) make popular gin pairings because they are naturally sweet and savory. But in the true spirit of Gin Mare, try experimenting with ingredients used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine such as fennel, bell peppers or even chickpeas to guide you in your recipe creations! Or, play up its pineapple notes by pairing it with celery and celeriac.

Gin Mare has a natural affinity for fresh herbs like basil, cilantro and mint, while others such as tarragon and dill can be used to emphasize its spicy, anise-like notes. Similarly, look to heady spices to accent those same notes, for example cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, anise seed and ginger.

True to its namesake (mare meaning “the sea” in Latin), the green, cucumber-like notes of Gin Mare pair especially well with marine-based ingredients such as seaweed, oysters, scallops and flounder. Served as appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, they make a perfect accompaniment to your Gin Mare tonics, aperitivos or Gin Mare cocktails.

Liqueurs like Amaretto or Cointreau, lambic-style sour beers like Geuze and even colas will pair well with this versatile gin. Let the Mediterranean be your guide...we’re waiting to taste your creations!

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Gin Mare’s Mediterranean Inspirations Cocktail Competition 2016

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To celebrate its sixth year, Gin Mare is holding its annual Mediterranean Inspirations Cocktail Competition in Ibiza, inviting bartenders from around the world to reinterpret the essence of the Mediterranean in unique cocktail form. Capture the “lifestyle, cuisine, climate and that unique promise of escape” by presenting your liquid dreams of Mare Nostrum.

“Mediterranean Inspirations is much more than just a cocktail competition. It’s how we embrace the values of Mare Nostrum by connecting with new people and cultures. It’s a chance for us to discover the many ways in which Gin Mare has inspired your craft.”

As a member of this year’s jury and an official media partner, Foodpairing® will also help you infuse inspiration into each of the following three categories:

■ Mediterranean Gin & Tonic: Be inspired to create your own personal take on this classic.

■ Mare Nostrum Cocktail: Your own interpretation of Gin Mare’s four brand values: “lifestyle, cuisine, climate and that unique promise of escape.”

■ Gastrobartender Drink: Get creative and develop your own signature cocktail, based on this year’s egg-inspired theme, a cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine.

For Gin Mare's full Mediterranean Inspirations 2016 cocktail competition details, click here.

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