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Things To Know About Gin

Did you know that originally it was Gin that gave birth to ‘Dutch Courage’? Over the decades, gin has seen the resurgence to become one of the most popular drinks around the world. It is by far one of the most preferred base spirits in many cocktail drinks. But, have you ever given a thought about what’s the story of its origin and what makes it popular and what is it made from?

With this article, we give you a quick sneak-peak about this trendy drink.

Origin
The root of the word ‘gin’ is derived from the Dutch word jenever, genièvre in French and Juniperus in Latin.
The earliest major mention of the ‘juniper-based health-related drinks’ can be found in 1269 in a Dutch encyclopedia work Der Naturen Bloeme (The flower of Nature) by Jacob van Maerlant.

It is believed to trace its origin in the Middle Ages where it was considered a herbal drink used for medicinal purposes. Juniper was added to mask the otherwise poor taste of this medicinal drink.

Gin saw a rise in popularity during the 80 years’ war of English on the Dutch land when the soldiers drank genever for its calming effects before the battle. This gave birth to the famous phrase ‘Dutch Courage’.

While it is documented to have originated in Holland, it progressed to become a popular drink for the English too. It became a drink of commerce in England when the government allowed unlicensed production of gin and simultaneously imposed heavy taxes on the imported spirits.

What is it made from?
The versatile clear spirit usually made from corn or barley grain mash with the infused predominant flavour of juniper berries. The individual flavouring of gin also depends upon the other herbs & botanicals, such as anise, coriander, lavender etc. It is said that no two Gins are alike, and some gins carry as few as 3- 4 flavours and the Scottish Gin botanist has a whopping 31!

The flavours of gin are added with the process of re-distillation, and generally range from citrus, floral to fruity, and it is bottled at 80-90% proof.

Resurgence of Gin
From the traditional medicinal and commercial use of this clear spirit, Gin has come a long way. It is an essential ingredient in many of the classic cocktails, including Tom Collins, Martini, etc.

Gin is clear & light and easily binds as a base spirit in cocktail recipes. It is the versatility and its short production time of gin in comparison with whisky or rum, that makes it so popular.

Distillation Methods
The main three methods of distillation are –

Pot Still Method is the traditional way of making gin by pot-distilling fermented grain mash from barley or other grain used. It is then re-distilled by infusing the botanical flavours and extracting their aromatic compounds.
Gin produced by this method is often aged in tanks and wooden casks and alcohol content of the distillate is relatively low due to the use of pot stills. This gin has a heavier- malty flavour.

Column Distilled Method was invented in 1832 when the distillation of high proof neutral spirits from the fermented mash using reflux such as column still.  The concentrated spirit is re-distilled with juniper berries or other botanicals in a pot still. Mildly flavoured gin is yielded by this method.

Compound Gin is made by flavouring the neutral spirits with natural flavours without redistillation.

How many types of Gin are there?

Primarily, the EU recognizes 4 types of gins, namely-

London dry, Plymouth, Old Tom & Navy Strength.

So, as the summers have arrived, it’s probably time to perk up your evenings by exploring the different flavours of this refreshingly calming alcobev.

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