Gin is also one of those lucky spirits where it can quite easily be made anywhere in the world, others like Scotch or Bourbon have legal geographical boundaries. This freedom is what makes Gin one of the most dynamic and interesting spirits.
Gin is a spirit that is made from macerating/distilling a range of botanicals in a base spirit. This produces some of the most aromatically pleasing spirits of them all. The main botanical used in making Gin is, by far, Juniper Berries. Closely followed by a range of things; Coriander seeds, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Cinnamon and Dried Citrus Peels. This is one of the greatest elements to Gin production, though, as it has no rules. Distillers of Gin can make gins made from all world’s of aromatic and botanical elements, the combination is up to the imagination of the team behind the next new Gin. Some have a theme of citrus, others of a region – using local fruits to produce a distinct regional Gin.
Gin, itself, has quite a long history spanning back to around 1570. The earliest record of a gin-like recipe (made in an eau de vie style, labelled: ‘eau de vie de genievre’) was found in France and said to be made by Franciscus Sylvius of Leiden. Currently the majority of the world’s share of Gin comes from the United Kingdom, where it has been the majority spirit produced since the early 17th century.
Styles of Gin
This can be produced by simply flavouring a neutral base spirit with ‘natural’ flavourings giving an aromatic spirit, with a predominant flavour of Juniper. This is how many of the standard Gins are produced, namely Gordon’s Yellow Label.
This is the only Gin that has a geographical boundary (even London Gin can be made anywhere in the world – it is merely a style category) which covers all Gins made in a particular style in Plymouth, UK. Currently there is only Black Friars Distillery in the region making Plymouth Gin. This uses more spices and less fruity aromatics producing a more robust and earthy-flavoured Gin.
You start off with a neutral base spirit, which is then redistilled in the presence of many aromatic botanicals. This gives a much stronger amalgam of flavouring to the final spirit as well as a more textural and harmonious spirit.
London Distilled (Dry) Gin
This is identical to regular Distilled Gin, just it allows for some extra water and a minute amount of sugar to be added in with the botanicals in the redistillation process. This gives the resulting gins a much richer and rounder mouth-feel and softer overall texture.
This is the cheapest style of Gins produced. Flavourings or essences are added to pure ethanol, then watered down to 37.5% alcohol content.