Cocktails with… Ginebra San Miguel

Ginebra San Miguel, known locally as GSM, is the World’s Best Selling Gin. Never heard of it? Perhaps that’s because it is a largely domestic spirit made for the Philippine home-market. This market accounts for over 46% of the Global Gin Market, in the Philipeans Ginebra San Miguel has a market share of over 60%.

The gin was established in 1834 and, as the name would suggest, it is made by Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. which is a majority-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, the makers of the famous beer.

The GSM is made from sugar-cane alcohol and comes in four varieties:

Just like all quality gins Ginebra San Miguel comes in handy on-the-go sachets

Ginebra San Miguel Red
Bottled at 80 proof (40%ABV)
The original and best selling, this is the one I shall be reviewing.

Ginebra San Miguel Blue
Bottled at 65 Proof (32.5%ABV)
To quote the GSM website:

“Its smooth, sweet taste gives drinkers a light on the chest feeling without the hangover the following day.”

Ginebra San Miguel Premium
Bottled at 35%ABV this is the high-end version that said it still only sells for Php 88.00*

Ginebra San Miguel Lite
Bottled at 44 Proof (22% ABV)
This is a low alcohol version made from fine sugar cane alcohol and selected imported essences. From the website:

“Targeted at a younger audience it has light alcohol kick, a pleasant taste and aroma with the least negative physical after-effects. Perfect for longer parties and get-togethers.”

On with the tasting….

#1 Own
nose: minimal, some marizipan, cream and dry pear. Slightly biscuity.
taste: Wow! A really powerful punch of alcohol, boiled sweets, almonds and a hint of pear and citrus. Strong (alcohol-wise) and intense, rustic to say the least. After a little while it becomes more like a vodka and is somewhat reminiscent of Polish Pure Spirit.

#2 Gin & Tonic
A little bready and quite heavy on the citrus. Minimal juniper with a fruity/earthy/citrus element which is gin-like. Not bad but there is something unsettling about it.

#3 Martini
Another drink that really packs a punch, like a vodka Martini but not very smooth and with the unmistakable flavour of pear drops.

#4 Pink Gin
Not bad if a little soapy, quite warming and juniper is just about there. Perhaps a Pink Gin 7 Tonic would be the best way to drink this gin?

#5 Negroni
Very unusual, you get the bitter-sweet and then an odd alcohol flavour. Bit too sweet and syrupy. Almost like there’s something missing, probably the gin flavour.

#6 Milano
Fairly palettable (for GSM) citrus and vanilla and small hints of juniper and coriander. A fairly uncomplex drink and below the usual standard for a Milano.

#7 Gin Buck
A little musky quite citrusy, gin is pretty well masked. OK but a slight hollowness and the taste of cheap vodka at the end.

Worryingly this is stamped on the bottom of the bottle of Ginebra San Miguel


In Conclusion

My long-standing “worst gin I have ever tried” as Richmond made at Greenalls (available at Asda) but after a blind comparison with San Miguel despite the fact that Richmond has almost no nose and was rather sickly it was still the superior gin.
It was great to try this again and get a good handle on it’s flavour profiles, for a gin fan it’s worth trying as it is the world’s best selling gin but beyond this novelty I’d avoid it.

My sincere thanks to Chris of GinJourney for the kind donation that made this article possible.

*For a 750ml Bottle, 700ml of Gilbey’s Gin costs Php 130.00 and a 180g packet of Peanuts costs Php. 34.00.

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About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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