I'm hoping to eat at a "nice" place but wonder if some of the higher-end places frown on solo diners. Anybody have a good or bad solo experience at a nice high-end restaurant not too far from the Strip?
I applaud your branching out to my favorite spirit. I'm a recent convert but one sip of Plymouth was all I needed to make me a fan. I know that it is expensive but a pink gin made with Plymouth is what I'm sure the Almighty is sipping come 5 'o clock each evening.
Tanqueray -- or the Tanq as my friends and I call it -- reminds me much too much of the piney bushes I had growing out front of my house as a child. I always feel like I'm drinking floor cleaner when I mix my martinis with it. Gordon's is fine if one wants a fairly pedestrian gin - - it runs straight down the middle of Juniper Lane while making careful quick stops at Citrus Way - - but Plymouth...oh sweet Plymouth. :)
Having said that, I'd actually recommend Seagram's Extra Dry as your control. It is a bit off to my taste but having recently spun some gin through a similar tasting process, I'd say it is a better baseline than Gordon's.
Interestingly enough, I'd also recommend having a vodka drink -- as long as you've got a quality vodka -- as a baseline to see what dimensions the gin brings to your cocktail. This is an excellent way to get completely s-faced but I found in my tasting that this let me see precisely what the gin was adding versus the typical alcohol "flavor" if that makes any sense. I know that purists will frown on this recommendation but I found it let me appreciate what a good gin (Plymouth!!!) brings to the party I'm attempting to have.
I also found I like a Vodka Tom Collins better than a Gin Tom Collins, btw - - - but I'm sure that's just me. :)
As for your age and what you like - yes...I believe you are the youngest person i've read who could elucidate exactly why they liked gin outside of 'because that's what so-and-so drinks'.