What is real gin made of?

Gin is made from a grain, starch or fermentable fruit, juniper berries and other botanical ingredients. To be classified as gin, brandy must contain juniper and have at least 40% alcohol by volume. Gin differs from other liquors by the use of botanical ingredients in the distillation process. Gin is generally made from a grain base, such as wheat or barley, which is first fermented and then distilled.

There are many ways to make gin, but most start with a distilled base alcohol. This liquid is then mixed with juniper and other botanical ingredients. 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.

Botanical ingredients are infused into raw liquor to release their flavors. You can also vary the recipe by adding different spices, fruits and floral elements. Gin is produced using juniper berries and other botanical ingredients to flavor a neutral alcohol already distilled. In the case of cold compound gins, after removing the botanical solids, the liquid is diluted and bottled.

Compound gins are rarely labeled as such because of the negative connotations of the term, but many inexpensive gins are made this way. Basically, “navy strength” is any botanical gin containing at least 57% alcohol, and the term itself has a dubious connection with the British Royal Navy around the 18th century. To see a variety of other Gin Guild Ginposium videos and presentations, visit their Ginposium page. Sometimes known as Chinese parsley, coriander is the second most common botanical gin, after juniper.

What is the story behind Navy Strength gin? Well, starting in the 18th century, for about 200 years, the Royal British Navy received rations of gin (for officers) and rum (for sailors) for them to drink during their long trips. London gin is made in a traditional still by redistilling ethyl alcohol in the presence of all the natural aromas used. Most of us recognize gin for its distinctive flavor and aroma, but we don't know what gives the liquor that distinctive flavor and aroma. That said, beginners and amateurs alike would do well to know the difference between gin distillation methods so they can learn what they like and what they prefer to avoid.

However, this is not for the reason mentioned above, since no botanical product has yet touched ethanol at that point in its process; instead, the reflux column is used to reduce the rate at which alcohol vapor passes through the gin basket. The “steam infusion” method involves keeping the botanical ingredients above the liquor and infusing the vapor; Bombay Sapphire is an example of gin distilled in this way. Another outstanding botanical gin, the sweet Angelica Root, adds a little sweetness and an earthy, healthy texture to gins, creating a more accessible flavor profile that adapts to everyday beverages and special occasions. However, in recent years, an increasing number of smaller gin producers have emerged to offer drinkers quirky alternatives to big brands.

With a neutral alcohol and more subtle botanicals, London Dry Gin allows spicy juniper to take the initiative and provide the dry flavor that gin is known for. The juniper in gin can be supplemented with a wide range of other botanical ingredients (see the box for exclusive botanicals, below) to incorporate many more flavor molecules into the mix. .

Terrance Wilson
Terrance Wilson

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