Gin and tonic is everywhere around Dublin right now.
We have restaurants with special gin menus. We have specialised gin bars. Some bakeries have even started serving gin and tonic cupcakes.
Gone are the days when a gin and tonic meant Cork Dry and Schweppes. We have an embarrassment of choice nowadays, from the relatively well known Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks, to the newcomers like Monkey 47 and Gin Mare, as well as Irish-grown favourites like Dingle Gin and Blackwater Gin.
Bars even give you a choice of tonic in your G&T now that there are many more bespoke options.
The question now is, has gin reached the point of market saturation? Is there anywhere to go from here?
As gin is reaching peak hype, a few entrepreneurial bartenders are looking towards the next trend, hoping to make a name for themselves by launching the next big thing in Dublin.
A good indication of what’s coming next may be what’s happening in Australia at the moment.
When I went there for a year in 2012, the gin trend was already well underway. For us here in Ireland, it only really came to fruition in the last two years.
When I returned to Australia in 2014, a few new tequila bars had just opened.
I was sceptical. Most of my experiences with tequila had involved shots and massive hangovers. You needed to down it with salt and lime. Who would drink it straight?
But the problem was, in fact, that the tequila I had been drinking was bad. Not only was it bad, it was fake.
As it turns out, Mexican law lets you write ‘tequila’ on the bottle as long as it’s 51% tequila. The rest of the bottle was grain alcohol, water and molasses. After all, why bother doing the other 49% properly if people were just going to be downing it as shots?
The real deal is closer to a good whiskey than the tequila we know. It has complex tastes and no sugar, so it give you less of a hangover. It’s smoother than vodka and goes really well with tonic water. It also has slightly less calories than gin.
Tequila only needs to be aged for a few months too, rather than a decade, which makes it cheaper and faster to ramp up production than whiskey. Similarly, gin isn’t aged at all, which is why so many gin brands have been able to open up so quickly.
Drinks Industry Ireland say that whiskey and tequila are predicted to be the fastest growing spirits globally and tequila bars have also taken off in a big way in the US so there's definitely weight to the theory that it's about to take over our shores.
Mexican restaurants like Xico, 777 and Acapulco are hugely popular and could be key to bringing tequila appreciation to the masses.
It’s still mostly drunk in the form of margaritas and cocktails but it probably won’t be long until people are drinking it straight. Trust us, give it a try.