Gin is an alcoholic beverage that is obtained by distillation from a grain base (wheat or barley). In an additional procedure, botanical ingredients are added together with water until the desired flavors are met. To be called gin, the spirit drink must have a predominant juniper berry flavor. Juniper is a type of aromatic “fruit” that grows along the branches of junipers.
Have you ever found yourself in a bar thinking in bad taste: “What berry is gin made of? That would be the tiny juniper berry. They are quite bitter on their own, but they give gin its pine and citrus flavor. The only ingredient that all gins have in common is juniper, a characteristic botanical used to flavor this liquor. Since it is a main ingredient that defines gin, distillers use juniper berries in their puree, helping to highlight the traditional pine notes often found inside.
While many distillers like to combine juniper with a variety of other spices to help achieve more complex and sophisticated flavors, juniper is the star of the show that brings it all together. Believe it or not, you can make a custom-made batch of aromatic gin at home, without any high-tech equipment or a degree in chemistry. Gin is made by distilling a neutral-grain alcohol with juniper berries and other botanical ingredients to create the fragrant liquor we all know and love. The botanical ingredients are infused into the raw liquor to release their flavors.
You can also vary the recipe by adding different spices, fruits and floral elements. One such form is the vacuum distillation method, preferred by producers of Sacred Gin, Cambridge Dry Gin and Victory Gin. After that, the alcohol can be collected for immediate bottling or placed in barrels or barrels for aging. Whether you're making a classic Negroni, a French 75, or a tasty martini, you'll want a good bottle of gin.
What sets gin apart from other liquors is the use of juniper and other botanical ingredients during the distillation process. As producers try to develop new styles and flavors of gin, to boost the category and find a niche, the need to try new ways to extract flavors and use more unusual botanical ingredients has grown. To be classified as a gin in the United States, the liquor must contain a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume, as well as the addition of juniper berries. That said, rye is most popularly used for gin liqueurs, as it provides a strong white canvas for all the great flavors that will be infused into it later.
A simple and refreshing way to start drinking gin is to pour 2 ounces into a glass of ice, add about twice that amount in tonic water, and then serve with a splash of lime juice. Internationally and nationally, many distillers are improving their gin by including botanicals from their specific location to create an authentic representation of their land and culture. This method is said to give Spirit a milder flavor, and is used by producers such as Sibling Gin and the iconic Bombay Sapphire, who preferred this production method to create a lighter Spirit style.