Gin is an old spirit drink with a taste of juniper that has become very trendy in recent years. Smaller distilleries have sprung up and there is a lot of experimentation with the seasoning.
What Is Gin?
Gin is a generally dry and tasty spirit with a clear character of juniper, coriander and citrus. Modern gin varieties have other spices, but juniper berries must dominate the taste for the drink to be called gin.
The Story of Gin
During the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, the English came in contact with the Gin. The Dutch drank gin and got “dutch courage” which later became a British expression for the gin. During the Thirty Years’ War, trade increased across the English Channel and liquor flowed into England.
Gin Becomes English National Drink
In the 19th century, London Dry Gin was created, a drier and more elegant type of gin. Better distilled spirits required less sugar to be able to drink, and the taste changed. The dry gin gained a foothold in the upper strata of society.
Genever was tricky to pronounce and the word was shortened to gin. Towards the end of the 17th century, William III became King of England. He hated Catholics and French and banned the import of brandy. In 1690 he deregulated the production and whoever wanted could distill. Gin became a folk drink. In London alone, there were thousands of boilers. A tsunami of gin swept across the nation. The drinking was gigantic and the societal problems even greater. The king and the crown did what they could to stop the consumption of gin. The black taverns were innumerable and the ingenuity to avoid tax was impressive among the many burners and maple taverns.
The tonic made its entrance in the second half of the 19th century and the opportunity to mix drinks gave a new gin renaissance. During the 20th century, vodka took over the spirit throne and it would be until the first decade of the 21st century before small-scale craft gin once again created a wave of gin interest.
What Is Included in the Recipes?
Gin is made almost exclusively from grain-based base spirit, distilled to at least 96%. In Europe it is generally produced from wheat, in a few cases the basis is wine spirits. In Japan, the raw material is usually corn and in the United States there are other grains. What determines the choice of raw material is the world market price of grain. Some types of gin are sweetened, for example with honey, before bottling. Some post-seasoning, and more rare storage in barrels, also occurs.
Normally 6–10 spices are used. A common, classic distribution is 40 percent juniper, 40 percent coriander seeds and 10 percent angelica. The rest is a mixture where, among other things, licorice root, orange peel, citrus, bergamot, paradise seeds, iris root, cinnamon, ginger and bitter almond are common.
The more “root spices” used, the drier the gin. Innovative producers sometimes use unripe junipers to release other spices.
How to Make Gin?
The most common and cheapest way to produce gin is to pour essences into neutral spirits. The most common and cheapest way to produce this drink is to pour essences into neutral spirits. The result is just gin. Distilled gin is something completely different.
The spices are then leached out in spirits and distilled together with neutral brandy in copper pans used in, for example, malt whiskey production. It is a more expensive method but gives an elegant and tastier result. The alcohol content must be at least 37.5% by volume.
Some spices and fruits macerate in the spirit while others are placed in baskets inside the pan and leached out with the alcohol vapors. There are also pans with special baskets hung in the pan’s “gooseneck”. The technology varies depending on the producer and type of spice. Citrus aromas, for example, are volatile and are therefore added quite late.
Different Varieties of Distilled Gin
- London Dry Gin: Dry gin with distilled spices without the addition of flavors or sweeteners. It’s a type of gin and no origin mark – London Dry Gin can be made anywhere.
- Old Tom: Sweeter, fuller type of gin that is sometimes described as the link between gin and gin. (Often with a cat on the label.) Rediscovered gin style that is on the rise.
- Navy strength gin: Term with its roots in the 18th century and the British navy. Indicates high alcohol content, at least 57.1% by volume.
Other Gin Designations
- Rosé gin / pink gin: Gin dyed pink and / or infused with red berries, grapefruit and rhubarb. Can be dry or a little sweet and is sometimes called pink gin. Not to be confused with the drink of the same name
- Sloe Gin: blue-red liqueur made from sloe berries leached in gin and sugar. Contains 25-30% alcohol by volume.
- Gin liqueur: Liqueur with gin base, often flavored with fruit, berries or flowers.
Drinks With Gin
During the first half of the 20th century, before vodka really took off in the export markets, gin was the obvious choice to mix drinks and cocktails with. Some well-known examples are Dry Martini, Tom Collins and Negroni.
Gin Is Trendier Than Ever
After steadily declining in popularity, gin returned in the mid-1980s thanks to new brands and investments in premium versions. In the 2000s, interest in gin has completely exploded and small and large producers all over the world now produce gin with a personal touch.
As gin has had a renaissance as a small-scale and artisanal spirit, it is common today with seasonings such as rose petals, cucumbers, hops, rhubarb and more. Some producers are also experimenting with barrel storage and the latest strong trend is pink gin with flavor, and sometimes the color of red berries.