Introduction to gin
Introduction to Gin
Join us as we dive into the beauty of gins and why you shouldn't shy away from this bottled juniper berry goodness.
What is considered a gin?
Gin is a neutral spirit distilled from a natural product like wheat, barley, potatoes or grapes. Aside from that, for a drink to be considered a gin it has to contain juniper berries and the predominant flavour must be that of juniper. The other aspect of the flavor of a gin comes from its botanicals like herbs, seeds, flowers, plants or spices that are added during production.
Additionally, gins must contain at least 37.5% of pure alcohol in the total volume of liquid which is indicated by the ABV written on the bottle.
Types of gin
Traditionally, there are three types of gin: London Dry, Old Tom gin and Plymouth. There are also gins that are more recent like flavored gin, gin liqueurs and sloe gin.
There are also Japanese gins such as the Roku gin which uses different botanicals.
London Dry Gin
Contrary to its name, this spirit does not need to be produced in London! Instead, it refers to a certain type of production process that qualifies a gin to call itself London Dry. The main difference between this type of gin and others is that all the botanicals must be all natural and added during the distillation process. Additionally, nothing but water and a very small amount of sweetener can be added post-distillation unlike other gins which can have synthetic/ artificial flavors or sweeteners added after distillation.
It is also considered by many distillers to be the most sophisticated type of gin to produce.
This variation of gin is slightly sweeter than London Dry gins with a less prominent flavor of juniper. Plymouth gins tend to place a greater emphasis on root botanicals like liquorice and orris. To consider a gin as a Plymouth Gin, it also has to be made in Plymouth.
Old Tom Gin
This is a much sweeter style than the two mentioned above. This style was popular in the 18th century when lots of sugar or honey was added to conceal poor quality gin. As of late, this style has seen a revival as bartenders use this style of gin to give classic cocktails a sweeter edge/
How is it made
As mentioned earlier, gin is usually made from a base of grain through fermentation and distillation. Juniper berries and other herbs, plants and spices will then be added to the fermented grain mixture along with water until the desired mixture is achieved.
How does gin taste?
As with other liquor products, different brands have different distinct taste profiles; however, all gins have a consistent flavor- a subtle piney scent which is the result of juniper berries! Some other botanicals that contribute to the flavor of a gin include angelica root, cassia, cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, ground almonds. These add subtle notes to your gin, somewhat like the different notes of citrus or spice you might detect in wine.
How do you drink gin
There are many ways you can drink gin! Here are the top 3 ways we enjoy our gin:
- The classic gin + tonic
- In a cocktail (especially a Martini)
- Neat (a lot more modern gins are designed to be taken neat, featuring flavors that you might prefer such as citrus or floral notes)
There are many ways you can enjoy gin, you can try mixing it with different mixers or having it in different cocktail styles; don’t be afraid to experiment and find a combination that you enjoy! Some experts even recommend playing with temperature by sticking the bottle in the freezer and tasting it as it warms up.
However way you wish to experiment with drinking gin, it is definitely an essential liquor that you should have in your collection. Also, you now have the knowledge to be that smartass at the bar and educate your friends with some gin facts.