Anna Samson | Contributing Writer | Friday, 9 October 2015

A Budget Girls Guide To Drinking Budget Gin

A Budget Girls Guide To Drinking Budget Gin

The Debrief: Cheap booze doesn't always have to be horrible

Mother’s little helper or mother’s ruin: gin has been long regarded as the Jekyll and Hyde of the drink world, either transporting you away from the mundanity of everyday life, or torturing you into some kind of painful downfall. As my favourite comedian Dylan Moran said, ‘Gin is less of drink, more a mascara thinner’, and you just have to spend a few minutes in a club toilet at 3am to realise that he’s not wrong.

And yet, when approached with a degree of caution, it really is a wonderful drink. While vodka tastes of pain and tears, and rum is a just a sticky mess of disappointment, gin tastes like a aromatic blend of herbs and fruits, wrapped up in the warm tang of liquor. Which, oddly enough, is exactly what it is.

But enough of this. I know why you’re really here. How do you ensure that the £10 bottle of gin you’re necking tastes as good – OK, not good – decent as possible? Once again, in the name of investigative journalism, I stocked up on tonic, deleted the phone number of every lad who has ever wronged me, and got ready to throw myself headfirst into the volatile world of supermarket gin. Ross Kemp on Gangs got nothing on this.


Do get stuck into the supermarket brands

Sainsbury’s (£10.50 for 70cl) is perfectly acceptable and Tesco (£10 for 70cl) offers good bang for your buck, but Aldi’s London Dry Gin (£9.99 for 70 cl) has the crispest taste and smoothest flavour. It’s actually won awards from people who know about booze, and do the whole sniffing, swirling, spitting thing without even looking slightly self-conscious about being a twat.

If you can get past the fact that the packaging looks like it belongs in a souvenir shop at Leicester Square, then you’re all set.


Don’t make a martini

I know you’re trying your best to be classy like a Bond Girl, but let’s face it, you’re not classy like a Bond Girl. Cheap alcohol was made to be disguised, not just tarted up with just an olive and a slug of vodka to cover its modesty. Since martinis taste like jet fuel at the best of times, you really need good quality booze to avoid a future of heartburn and regret.


Do pretend it is Hendrick’s

I used to be adamant I would never like gin – but in the way I was once adament I wouldn’t like kissing boys with tongues (gross lol) or the novels of JRR Tolkein (so lame), I have since revised my stance. It was Hendrick’s that made me change my mind.

It’s lovely posh gin famously drank with cucumber rather than lemon or lime. Sadly, right now I don’t have the budget for Hendrick’s, but there’s nothing to stop you pimping your own brand wonder with cucumber, is there?

Don’t actually pour it into a Hendrick’s bottle

Who are you trying to kid? You need to be open about your poverty and deception, otherwise it really is fucking tragic.

Do make a White Lady

Shake up some gin with a splash of Cointreau, a squeeze of lemon and an egg white for a cocktail that’s easy but really looks like you have your shit together. Oh, and definitely don’t be scared of the egg white. I know it sounds like a salmonella-based lawsuit waiting to happen, but it really is incredibly delicious – creamy without the cream, if you get me.

Don’t drink it at room temperature

There’s something about warm cheap gin that makes my skin crawl. It’s best to throw it in the fridge for a couple of hours, and when it’s time to get loose make sure you have plenty of ice.

While we’re at it, I also feel that straws are often overlooked when drinking at home. They’re quite good for fooling yourself into thinking you’re a real person who isn’t wasting away their life drinking budget booze. You’ve made an effort. You have a straw.

Do invest in a good tonic water

Ah, the humble G&T. At 5pm on a Friday you can almost feel the earth move as people simultaneously reach for their drinks cabinets. If you can’t afford good gin, try picking a decent tonic water.

Fever Tree is brilliant, and Fenteman’s is pretty good too – they also come in fancy looking bottles that are very good at convincing you they’re worth the couple more pounds.

If it has to be Tesco, avoid the ‘with lemon/lime’ tonics at all costs because christ, they are awful. Use a 30p lemon instead, and enjoy that vitamin C goodness. Who said drinking is bad for you?!

Every health professional? Eh, OK then.

Don’t take any of this too seriously

Because at the end of the day, you’re drinking supermarket gin and within a few glasses you won’t even remember your name, let alone the dos and don’ts of drinking it!

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Follow Anna on Twitter @AnnaVictoriaSam

Tags: Boozing