Turns out gin is the most versatile thing ever

Ellie Weston – 20th Aug 2019

Our Unicorn Tears Gin is marvelous, but there’s more to it than just a fantastic drink. Some say it’s too delicious to waste on anything but a G&T, but with all these other uses, you’re not really making the most of your bottle if you’re only sipping it.

1. Remove red wine stains!

Sod’s law dictates you never seem to spill your drink when you’re sipping on lovely colourless water, it always has to be coffee or Ribena or, worst of all, red wine. That crisp new shirt of yours will never be the same. And you may as well go ahead and bin those suede heels, unless you’re willing to embrace a funky new tie-dye look like this clever lady did:

If you’re not quite brave enough to pull that off, you’d better hope there’s some gin to hand. You might have heard white wine is excellent at removing red wine stains, but in reality it’s just the alcohol content that’s having any effect - meaning gin is probably a much better shout.

Simply pull the stained area taut, splash some Unicorn Tears onto it and then soak it up with a cloth. Remember to blot the stain rather than rub it to avoid mashing the wine further into the fibres. Repeat if necessary. When you’ve got the stain out, bung it in the washing machine (if it’s washable) on its recommended setting, unless you like the smell of gin and the look of shimmer.

Well, the stain's still there, but at least now it's shimmery!

If the stained item isn’t machine washable, take it to your local dry cleaner for some advice. Most are happy to give you tips for free and won’t try to coerce you into paying for anything.

This tip only really works a short time after the spill occurred, if you leave it a few days to dry then we can’t promise anything. And remember to use original Unicorn Tears and not the pink or black versions, unless you just want to change the hue of the stain.

2. Deodorise your shoes!

It’s nice to know that nobody on this planet, no matter how rich or clever or beautiful they may be, is immune from having feet that honk. Anyone who’s worn the same shoes every day for a week in summer has shared this struggle. There are things you can do to prevent it, but sometimes there’s only time for an instant quick fix.

Oh come on, they're not THAT bad...

First step - take your shoes off. Let those babies breathe for a minute. Maybe give your feet a quick rinse if there’s a sink and water available to you. Then slosh a measure of Unicorn Tears onto two paper towels or napkins, wring them out, and then pop them in your shoes.

The alcohol in the gin should help to reduce the stench in two ways: by covering it up slightly and by actually disinfecting the parts of the shoe that smell, slaying the stank-bacteria. (That’s definitely the scientific term for them.)

Be sure not to make your shoes too damp or you’re going to feel pretty damn uncomfortable next time you slip them on. Alternatively, give your feet a wipe with the gin-soaked napkins for a similar, smaller effect.

In an ideal world, you could decant the gin into a spray bottle and give your shoes a light misting, but who can be arsed? What kind of madman carries around an empty spray bottle?!

3. Glaze a pie!

Put on your lab coat and goggles, it’s time for a science lesson. Then, over your lab coat, tie on an apron: it’s also a cookery class. We know you’re busy so we thought we’d combine the two.

"How's dinner coming along?" "Don't know, but the cells of these peppers are mental!"

You’ve got a pie that’s ready to go in the oven. You’ve spent ages on this pie. Hours spent slowly browning the meat and chopping the vegetables and rolling out the pastry. It could all go to waste if your crust goes soggy in the oven. “Delicious filling, shame about the pastry…” your guests would say, downtrodden. How embarrassing. Now everyone thinks you can’t cook.

There’s a simple solution to avoiding this complete defamation of character: gin on your crust.

Getting that perfect golden hue and crisp texture is less about the ingredients and more about what you glaze it with. Alcohol doesn't promote gluten formation, unlike other popular glazes, which helps the crust stay flakey and tender.

H e a v e n l y.

Paint your pie top with gin and the ethanol will evaporate into the air as it bakes, leaving behind a flakey, crisp crust that doesn’t taste or smell like gin. Nobody will know. Everyone will love it. Next stop: Bake Off.

4. Keep malaria (and scurvy) at bay!

The simple gin and tonic has an extraordinary history for a drink that's just two ingredients. And what iconic ingredients they are - partially thanks to their alleged malaria-preventing properties.

Back in the day (1875), the British Crown took over India and lots of Brits reckoned it would be a fab place for a holiday. Malaria, a deadly disease spread by mosquitoes, took it upon itself to thwart our colonialism in its tracks.

"Could you make it a double please? I'm going to India later."

Not ideal, but we found a solution in tonic water. It’s packed full of quinine, an extract from a South American plant called the cinchona tree. It was shown to cure and prevent malaria, so it was recommended to anyone going on a jaunt to tropical climes. Only downside was it was a bit grim - modern tonic contains nice sweeteners and less quinine compared to its 19th century counterpart. So they combined it with gin and suddenly it was palatable, not to mention a fantastic excuse for a tipple.

Chuck in a few limes and you’ve got scurvy taken care of, too! Probably would have been easier to crunch a few vitty-Cs in the morning but we appreciate they probably couldn’t just nip down to Boot’s back then.

Many still swear by a good old G&T to keep the buzzing bastards out of their bloodstream, but we reckon you’re probably better off with a can of bug spray and some malaria tablets from your GP. Better safe than sorry.

"I'm sorry, I don't think the NHS covers gin..." "Guess we should both stop grinning at my prescription then!"

5. Make pickles!

You like gin, you like pickles. Why not combine the two?

"I said ONE slice of cucumber. This is the last time I volunteer to coach the new bartenders."

For anyone who isn’t sure just how simple it is, the humble pickle is nothing more than a cucumber that has been left to ferment in brine or vinegar for a while. There’s no magic to it. Well, some of them are soured by lacto-fermentation and that’s a bit more complicated, but nobody is asking you to start procuring your own lactic acid bacteria farm.

Give Mrs. Elswood the day off and drown those cucumbers in Unicorn Tears. All you need is two cucumbers, a sterilised jar and a bottle of our pride and joy.

It’s unlikely that your jar is big enough for your cucumbers, so cut those bad boys up either using a knife or a mandolin slicer. Cover with gin and you’re good to go!

Of course, that’s just a basic pickling. For the perfect gin pickle, we recommend you also throw in the following:

  • 1 lime’s worth of lime juice
  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of granulated white sugar
  • 12-15 juniper berries
  • 4-8 finely chopped shallots

But we appreciate that that’s quite a bit more effort. Either set of ingredients will produce juicy, shimmery pickles with a hint of sweetness, delicious enough to tempt even the most ardent pickle-skeptic.

6. Clean your hands!

You’ve just been on the bus and seen someone sneeze a fat wad into their hand, then proceed to grab onto the handrail. Without wiping their hand on a tissue.

Not to worry, it’s not the same handrail as you’re holding onto.

But what if someone else did that to your one before you got on?!

Suddenly your hand is tainted, alive with a hideous crawling sensation. There’s only one thing for the job: hand sanitiser. Except you’ve not got it on you. It must be in your other bag or a different coat. You’re stuck with a germ-coated hand, potentially smothered in someone else’s nasal goo.

You want to pull out your phone and do a sarky, disgusted tweet about how dire the situation is, but don’t want to contaminate it. You are stuck balling your hand into a fist and hope you don’t forget about all the nasty pathogens and start reflexively bite your nails until you can find a sink and a big bottle of antibacterial soap.

Ahhh, that's better.

Or you could splosh a bit of gin on your hands and be done with it. Yeah, it’s not a perfect solution, but that alcohol should help rid your hands of most of the germs. You may be a tiny bit sticky and glittery afterwards, but it certainly beats getting a cold because some people don’t have a grasp on basic hygiene.

It’s great for travel emergencies, staying fresh at a festival or just putting your germophobic mind at ease in a pinch.

7. Refill your reed diffuser!

When you bought that reed diffuser, you didn’t realise it would take maintenance to keep that lovely fragrance wafting through your home. The liquid evaporates, you know. It doesn’t just stay there forever, providing that nice scent for nothing. You have to work for it. You have to keep it topped up. You have to… sling it into the bin because having an empty jar full of bamboo sticks on your mantelpiece is a bit weird.

Wait, get it out of the bin! You don’t have to spend loads on overpriced scented oils to enjoy a heavenly home fragrance, just slosh some Unicorn Tears in there. You might need a funnel to minimise spillage but as long as you’ve got a relatively steady hand, there shouldn’t be too much fallout.

You'll never get the whole house smelling of gin with one of those tiny jars, it's time to up your game.

It smells surprisingly good and looks even better. Give it a little shake now and again to awaken the shimmer. Everyone who stops by will be asking you where on Earth you got that stunning glittery reed diffuser from. Your secret is safe with us.

8. Bake a cake with it!

You know what we were saying earlier about the gin pie-glaze being your ticket to Bake Off? Let’s take it one step further and make something that would WIN.

Gin and cake are an odd but sophisticated pairing. The sweetness of a plain sponge is the perfect partner in crime (or ‘base’, for you star bakers out there) for lashings of lime, a twist of tonic and a swirl of our bestselling gin.

Here’s what to do:

  • Whip up your favourite plain sponge as usual, but stir in 75ml of Unicorn Tears and the finely grated zest of 1 lime at the end of the mixing.
  • Bake it according to the instructions of your chosen sponge recipe.
  • While you wait for the cake to cool, combine 200g icing sugar, the juice of 2 limes, 3 tbsp gin and 125ml tonic to make a light icing for the top.
  • Be sure that the cake is completely cool before icing or your lovely G&T glaze will go all melty and weird.

Feel free to swap limes for lemons if you prefer them. For best results, make sure you’re using a good quality tonic, preferably not slim-line. You’re making a cake, for goodness’ sake! Go big or go home.

9. Wash your mouth!

You never have bad breath when you’re just hanging around the house. It always strikes at the worst possible time: before a big job interview or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time or when you’ve finally begged the one that got away to reconsider you and you’re taking them out for dinner. It knows when you’re weak. It can smell fear. And anyone you meet will be smelling pure fear if they catch a waft of your mouth. Grim.

One swig of Unicorn Tears later and you’ll be laughing. The alcohol kills germs, hopefully neutralising the scent of something crawling down your throat and dying. This is one tip that’s probably better saved for the evening, lest any bloodhound-nosed people you meet get the impression you’ve been doing some AM-boozing before leading that big meeting.

"Don't worry, boss, it's just mouthwash!"

Okay, so it’s not as good as a good brushing or a capful of Listerine or an entire packet of Smints, but you’re not always going to have access to those. Whereas you definitely always have gin on you - at least, you will now after reading this list of things you can do with it.

-

That’s enough tips for one day, there are only so many things you can do with gin. Stay tuned for next week’s versatile gin suggestions, featuring ‘makeshift antifreeze’, ‘emergency contact lens fluid’ and ‘last minute enema’.