Why gin is so much more than just ruined vodka. – An open letter to Jay Rayner

‘Why am I supposed to like gin? It’s just ruined vodka.’ says Jay Rayner

Or as Ryan Reynolds puts it ‘Gin is just vodka after its wish was granted.’

I guess your view depends on the way you look at the subject.

A proper delicious Negroni

Dear Jay,

I hope this letter finds you well. You are a man of great esteem, great respect, and great reach, such is your status as a food critic and journalist.

I read your piece, ‘Why am I supposed to like gin? It’s just ruined vodka’. It’s got a catchy headline, it’s memorable and it’s reductive enough to resonate. Most people know a gin drinker with a penchant for a flat cap – I certainly do. However, in writing your sensationalist article, you have attempted to trivialize a growing industry that’s having a seismic effect on the global spirits business.

You know where you went wrong? Your article focused on what gin isn’t, rather than focusing on what gin is. Today, gin is the biggest story in booze. Gin has saved us all from dreary, generic drinks, and instead opened peoples’ minds to a world of possibilities. Remember vodka and coke? Seems weird now.

People have moved on. People want taste. People want gin.

They had a Twitter thing

Now, I need to address your ‘revelation’ that gin distilleries don’t make their base product. Venture to Cognac, as an example, and you’ll discover that the great houses of Remy Martin, Courvoursier or Hennesey do not make their own spirit either, they usually buy it from distillers (shock horror!), and age it in their barrels. That’s where the flavour is imparted for the great brandys of the world.

Beyond the world of booze, do artists make their canvases, do all chefs grow their produce, and do poets invent words? No. To create is to fuse, to mix and to concoct. Great gin distillers are artists, and it’s an art form that takes real passion, dedication and commitment.

But come on Jay, you know all this. Your piece was deliberately contrary, deliberately inflammatory and deliberately against the grain (or in this case botanicals).

But I believe gin’s strength is it’s popularity, because gin appeals to everyone. Old or young. Male or female. Straight or gay. Rich or poor. Everyone is drinking gin. In these divisive, tense and uncertain times, I think that’s a good thing. The gin renaissance should be celebrated, not lazily critiqued for clicks.

So, why don’t we stop the pointless bitching and just enjoy our drinks?

Much love, Leon

Written by Leon Dalloway @theginboss

Founder of the Gin Journey and proud protector of gin.

Instagram: @theginboss

Twitter: @TheGinBoss