Gin: All You Need To Know About This Delightful Distilled Liquor

Gin, a type of distilled liquor, is well-liked for its distinct flavour and cocktail adaptability. Distilled from fermented grains or other plants, the main flavouring ingredient is juniper berries. Let's take a deep dive into the gin culture and learn about its origins, distillation, and most common uses in mixed drinks. 


The history of gin goes back many decades, if not centuries. It was originally made in the Netherlands as a medicinal spirit in the 17th century. The Dutch believed that juniper berries had medicinal properties, so they added them to distilled drinks. "gin" originates from the Dutch word "jenever," which means juniper. Gin manufacturers moved to England, where it experienced rapid growth in demand and further refinement. 


The art of crafting gin entails a meticulous distillation process. The primary alcoholic component, typically derived from grains like barley, corn, or wheat, undergoes initial fermentation. After undergoing fermentation, the mash is subjected to distillation in order to elevate its alcohol concentration. Juniper berries are carefully infused into the initial spirit during the distillation process to impart the quintessential piney and citrusy notes that are the hallmark of gin. Incorporating diverse herbs and spices like coriander, citrus peels, angelica root, orris root, and an array of herbs and spices can yield unparalleled taste profiles. 


The Dutch and the Belgians have the original style of gin, which they call Genever (or Schiedam gin). It was first made for medicinal purposes, but by the 19th century it had surpassed Old Tom as the most popular gin in classic American cocktails. Like whisky, genever is distilled from a mash of malted grains. In comparison to its English counterparts, it often has a lower proof (70 to 80 proof). Genever has two distinct types, both of which typically spend between one and three years ageing in wood casks. The original, straw-colored Genever is called "oude" (old) and it has a relatively sweet and fragrant flavour. Jonge (young) genever has a lighter body and drier flavour.

Over the course of history, a variety of gin styles have surfaced. London Dry Gin is renowned for its arid and juniper-centric flavour profile. For a truly authentic taste, the distillation process must incorporate a blend of carefully selected herbs and plants, without any artificial additives or sweeteners. The renowned Plymouth Gin, crafted solely in the city of Plymouth, England, boasts a subtly sweet and earthy flavour profile. Old Tom Gin, a beloved ingredient in classic cocktails, offers a subtle sweetness that distinguishes it from the drier London Dry Gin. This gin variety serves as a delightful intermediary between the earlier genever-style gins and the more contemporary London Dry style. 

The versatility of gin truly shines in cocktails, as evidenced by the classic Martini and Negroni, which both highlight its unique and distinctive flavours. The classic Martini is a harmonious blend of gin and dry vermouth, adorned with a delicate twist of lemon or a plump olive. The Negroni is a classic cocktail that expertly combines the botanical notes of gin with the bitter and sweet flavours of Campari and sweet vermouth, resulting in a perfectly balanced and refreshing libation. Some of the most sought-after gin-based libations include the classic Gin and Tonic, the refreshing Tom Collins, and the zesty Gimlet. 


In recent years, craft distilleries have produced a plethora of unique and artisanal gins, sparking a renaissance in the gin sector. These gins feature a wide variety of exotic medicinal plants and flavour profiles, making each sip a fascinating new adventure. Gin's flavour varies greatly from brand to brand and style to style, so keep that in mind as you sip. The citrus flavour of some gins may be more prominent, while the herbal flavour of others may stand out more. The flavour of a cocktail made with gin can be substantially altered by the addition of garnishes and mixers. 

How To Drink 

Gin is consumed nearly exclusively in the form of mixed beverages; it is rarely consumed neat or on the rocks. The Dutch still favour drinking genever neat, and when they do so, they frequently use a small glass in the shape of a tulip that was developed expressly for the beverage. The most prevalent types of gin cocktails, both in bars and in private homes, are long soda mixed beverages garnished with a wedge of citrus and short martinis. Some people believe that shaking a gin martini causes the botanicals to become muddled, hence it is recommended to swirl the drink instead of shaking it, unless it is mixed with rich flavours such as fruit juice, cream, or egg. Gin does not appear in very many shooters; nonetheless, there are a few exceptions to this rule. 

In totality, gin is an intriguing spirit thanks to its varied origins, complex production, and rich flavour profiles. Gin's botanical complexity and enduring allure make it a popular spirit, whether it's consumed straight or used in traditional cocktails or innovative new drinks.