What makes a gin a craft gin?

In a nutshell, a true artisanal gin has a real person or a small team behind it. It is often owned by the master distiller, what determines the recipe is the person's knowledge and passion; often, he selects the ingredients by hand and also makes the stills. It is usually distilled in small batches, most likely to include some type of local forage botanical products. Gin is produced using juniper berries and other botanical ingredients to flavor a neutral alcohol that has already been distilled.

In the case of cold compounded 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. 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.

We've seen dozens of videos that explain how gin is made, but this one, created by Bombay Sapphire, is one of the most complete and attractive in existence. Whittaker's gin leaves two botanical ingredients out of its 24-hour room temperature maceration process, adding the lemon peel at the end, just before distillation. The shape of the still can also affect the flavor of the gin, since the amount of internal reflux varies between the different forms of the still. Another English gin, Plymouth gin, comes specifically from the city of Plymouth, just as American bourbon must be made in the United States.

That's why this process can be described as something like the holy grail for gin lovers and artisanal gin lovers. So, you can see why gin can have a predominant juniper flavor without the pine flavor that many people don't like. 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. Come have a drink with us on any of the following social platforms to stay up to date with everything related to artisanal alcohol, find out about upcoming events, connect with manufacturers and more.

Although all gins use juniper berries as their main flavor, distilleries have literally hundreds of botanical ingredients that they can add. Many people think that drinking gin is like chewing on the floor of a pine forest, going back to the “Christmas tree” association, but the truth is that juniper berries have multiple shades, such as lavender and pepper. Gin became even more popular in the United States during Prohibition, when homemade gin flourished on the underground scene, particularly in the jazz movement. As a result of increasing demand for this artisanal juniper liquor, well-established alcoholic beverage brands and gin clubs began to change the name of their classic liquors to artisanal gins.

A famous example of this is Hendrick's gin, which uses two separate stills (one to soak the botanical ingredients for 24 hours before boiling them and another for the steam infusion of different botanical ingredients) and then combines the distillates to obtain the final blend, together with the addition of its renowned botanical ingredients cucumbers and roses petal essence.

Terrance Wilson
Terrance Wilson

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