Today most will think of this as a primary ingredient for a Martini or a Gin & Tonic, but this iconic drink has a long and complex history. People have been mixing juniper berries with alcohol for over a thousand years often as medicinal drinks.
Today, things are somewhat more sedate, but gin retains a special place for many drinkers. It is made from a distillation process which begins with extracting ethanol from a base spirit before mixing it with juniper berries and other botanicals, such as orange peel, grapefruit peel and Cassia bark. Different brands and types of gin have their own distinct flavours. In general, though, this is known for the sharp flavour from the juniper berries. Some of the biggest brands include Gordons, London Dry Gin and Hendricks.
How is gin made?Different types of gin are made in different ways. For example, London Dry Gin is distilled in a column still with a high alcohol level and an herbal flavour. Old Tom Gin is a mix of malt wine and neutral spirit that's been aged in oak barrels for up to 20 years, giving it rich bourbon undertones when consumed straight. Holland style gins use open pot stills which captures more subtle flavours from any botanicals or spices they add, while American gins are based off the London Dry Gin formula but swap out the pure alcohol base for grain spirits like Rye Whiskey or Bourbon.
Is gin gluten free?Gin is made from distilled alcohols that naturally destroy or remove any traces of gluten. Gin is distilled from the botanical known for adding juniper berries to it. The law forbids gin distillers from adding any gluten containing grains or starches to the batch, so gin will typically be 100% gluten-free. Glad tidings!
How is gin different from vodka?The major difference between gin and vodka is that gin is distilled from grains, while vodka is distilled from potatoes. Vodka generally has a more neutral taste than gin because it's simply filtered twice before it goes into bottles, whereas most gins rely on both filtration and abstinence for natural flavours. And vodka will always be less expensive than any type of grain-based spirit because the production process doesn't require grain or additional ingredients like hops, barley malt, or anything else.
What gin goes best with an elderflower tonic?We would recommend Tanqueray London Dry Gin because it's made with high quality ingredients including locally sourced London spring water, Cornish sea salt, juniper berries grown in the British Isles, angelica roots grown exclusively on Romney Marsh.
What is the smoothest gin?There are few smooth gins we'd recommend. First up is Tanqueray. Another, called Blue Coat Gin, is new to the marketplace and has been impressing critics. What we can say about both of them, though, is that they have a dry taste to them - no sweetness whatsoever even with added liqueurs or tonic water. Another company making liveable quality gin on the market right now is Hendricks.