Yes, it’s true. The infamous corked G&T is something that I’ve experienced countless times – and by God, it gets up my nostrils. I (and I imagine you would too) feel a bit of an idiot returning my Gin & Tonic with the statement ‘it’s corked’ to the unsuspecting barman. The simple fact is that this is not an uncommon occurrence, yet it often goes unnoticed, largely because it’s hard to believe that ‘corked’ G&T actually exists.
So how does a G&T become ‘corked’? Well, in the years that I’ve been drinking this perfect aperitif, the corky component always come from the same source….. Remember when the barman asks you if you want ‘ice and a slice’? And you say ‘yes please’? And he shovels the ice out of the cooler into your glass? And then he picks up a slice of lemon on the end of a cocktail stick? STOP RIGHT THERE AND SOUND THE ALARM – WHOOP, WHOOP!
Unbeknown to the barman, those pesky cocktail sticks (the same ones we use as toothpicks and God knows what else… we’ll not go there) are the corky culprits.
You see, if not treated correctly, it’s these little guys that carry the dreaded TCA chemical compound – best known for creating wine taint or ‘corked’ wine. TCA (or Trichloroanisole to those in the know) can develop on cork or wood that, somewhat ironically, has gone through a bleaching/sterilizing process. You’ll know soon enough if it takes hold, as a musty, mouldy niff occurs (TCA is ridiculously pungent – very easy to spot, particularly in a G&T – and pretty nasty!).
So next time you fancy a refreshing spirit-based alternative to my beloved wine (I know, we all need a break now and again), then beware of those beastie sticks and umbrellas. Stay away from fruity bits ‘n bobs floating about in your drink and at all costs, keep those wooden objects away from your glass!