How is gin made different from vodka?

While gin and vodka are made as neutral liquors, gin has additional ingredients, such as juniper berries, that give it its characteristic pine flavor. In fact, gin can only be called gin if it contains juniper. Without this, the liquor is technically vodka. Gin is generally made from a grain base, such as wheat or barley, which is first fermented and then distilled.

Both gin and vodka can be made with just about anything, but some common bases include corn, wheat, rye, potatoes, grapes, and sorghum. Other possibilities include carrots, beets and even milk. Sometimes known as Chinese parsley, coriander became an essential for gin because of its spicy nut essence that gives more body to the spirit. Therefore, we have said that gin should always contain juniper, and with London dry gin, juniper should be the predominant flavor.

As for the characteristics of Plymouth gin itself, it is slightly sweeter than London Dry and has a strong presence of juniper, the berry here is softer. While there are only a few brands of aged gin widely available, such as Beefeater Burrough's Reserve and Bluecoat Barrel Finished gins, for example, they are ideal for those who appreciate a lively, kaleidoscopic beverage that impresses. Regardless of the alcohol the distiller prefers, the fermentation of gin creates a heavier, milkier gin than London Dry. The main difference between London Dry and other gins is that all their botanical ingredients must be added during the distillation process and all must be natural.

Both, of course, come from the namesake blackthorn of blackthorn gin, a small, plum-like fruit also known as blackthorn and is usually added to a ready-made gin. So, there are some key differences between vodka and gin, and we like to think of them as cousins, similar but by no means the same. And some of the best-known cocktails that include gin are gin tonic (duh), Negroni and martini (which was originally made with gin, not vodka, so saying gin martini is wrong and redundant). Once again, black pepper, a simple ingredient that gives gin a deceptively crafted nuance, can transform a dull gin into a more vivid version of itself.

Popular cocktails with gin include Negroni, the classic Martini (originally always made with gin) and Gin Tonic. With a neutral alcohol and more subtle botanical products, London Dry Gin allows spicy juniper to take the initiative and provide the dry flavor that gin is known for. The different combination of botanical ingredients in the distillation process causes variations in flavor between gin products. The ground cassia bark, sometimes called Chinese cinnamon, provides a warm and spicy nuance that gives gin an intense flavor that is especially suited to the winter months.

Terrance Wilson
Terrance Wilson

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