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Gin, the spirit that´s booming the last couple of years, often enjoyed as a Gin & Tonic cocktail in a large balloon shaped glasses with fruits as garnish.
Gin is a spirit made predominantly from the small blue juniper berries. The name Gin comes from an old English word genever, that on its turn comes from the Dutch word jenever, a juniper-flavoured traditional drink that was developed in the 17th Century for medicinal usage. It became popular in England when William of Orange from The Netherlands occupied England & became king.
Gin is produced by distilling a neutral base spirit mixing it with botanicals. There are 3 main ways of distilling:
- The most familiar way & wide available is the ‘’London Dry Gin’’ style. An alcohol neutral spirit (made from grain, potatoes or grapes) is mixed with a selection of botanicals & distilled in a copper still. Sometimes still process is done multiple times, with at the end a high in alcohol (at least 70% ABV) spirit. This is then mixed with pure water with clear, no added flavours nor colourings, gin as result.
- Another way of producing gin is known as compound gin. Hereby botanicals are added after the distillation of the mix of the neutral spirit & base botanicals. The reason is that the botanicals that are added after the distillation are too delicate for the distillation process. Hendricks Gin is a gin brand made the compound gin way.
- The Old Tom style of producing gin is not very known. Almost died out in the 20th century, it’s now making a comeback. Sugar is added with the distillation of the mix of the neutral spirit & base botanicals, making it sweeter than the (almost) sugarless London Dry Gin (hence the dry in the name;)).
With the main botanical juniper, the distiller often uses other fruits or spices to create their own unique variations. Popular are citrus fruits such as lemon & orange peel, & spices like anise, angelica root, cinnamon, coriander, liquorice root, almond & other.
For the record, just to get all the speculation out of the air. London Dry Gin can be made everywhere in the world, as long as its distilled to at least 70% & not contains any artificial ingredients, flavours nor colourings with minimum amount of added sugar. Cheers!