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Preparation of Gin

Gin is made from grains (usually wheat or rye), cereals, natural sugars and other carbohydrates. It is a distilled, neutral spirit. It is distilled at least twice, first in a continuous still to neutralize the flavor, then a second time in a pot still with any number and variety of flavoring agents.

The neutral spirit has no colour or flavour at all. It is at least 96% alcohol by volume (ABV). Adding the Botanicals. These are the mixture of herbs and spices used to flavour gin. All use Juniper - others vary from brand to brand but could include coriander,angelica,orris root, licorice, caraway, cinnamon, grains of paradise,lemon and orange peel. The still is heated to remove the essential oils from the botanicals. Finally pure water is added to bring the strength down to the EU legal requirement, a minimum of 37.5% ABV.

Gin derives its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries. In addition to juniper berries, other botanicals may be used, including angelica root, anise, coriander, caraway seeds, lime, lemon and orange peel, licorice, clalmus, cardamon, cassia bark, orris root, and bitter almonds. The use and proportion of any of these botanicals in the gin formula is left to the producer, and the character and quality of the gin will depend to a great extent on the skill of the craftsman in formulating his recipe. The more discerning producers formulate their aromatic ingredients on the basis of the essential oil content in the raw materials to assure a greater degree of product uniformity.

Fast Facts

  • Gin was created in Holland in about 1650 to treat stomach complaints.

  • The name gin comes from the word for juniper (genievre).

  • The Dutch worker called the “sniffer” saw to it that returned gin jugs were not soiled.

  • Some claim England's love affair with gin began when British soldiers brought back the "Dutch courage" from Holland.

  • Others ascribe England's gin appreciation to the ascent of Dutchman William of Orange to their throne. He hindered the import of liquor from all countries but Holland, especially targeting his enemy France's brandy. He also gave English citizens the right to brew their own gin with an easily procured permit.

  • By the 1720's one in four houses in London was producing and/or selling gin partially due to the fact that it was safer to drink than the water. Public drunkenness was a problem to say the least. By 1751 legislation was put into place to end this "gin madness".

  • London dry refers to a style of gin originally made in and around .The term "London Dry Gin" originated to distinguish itself from the sweet variety. Since dry gin was more highly distilled, the sweeteners added to mask impurities were no longer needed.

  • Foreigners drank tonic water while visiting the tropics because it contains quinine, a cure for malaria. Mixing it with gin helped make this “tonic” easier to swallow; thus a beautiful partnership was formed.

  • The "cocktail hour" may have come from the British fondness for cooling off after a hot day in the tropics by drinking a gin and tonic.

  • A number of gins are 90+ proof (compared to most commercial vodkas at 80). Check each brand's label to determine the strength.

  • Sloe gin includes the flavoring of the small plum-like sloe berry. The term "sloe-eyed beauty" also comes from this fruit.

  • In England, gin is also known as Schiedam and Hollands.

  • "Bathtub gin" became popular during the depression because it didn't have to be inconveniently oak-cask aged as other spirits did.
  • Gin Brands


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