What percentage of gin is juniper?

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. Juniper is the only botanical found in all gins.

The law requires that the cones of the juniper shrub (often referred to as “juniper berries”) be present and perceptible in order for a liquor to be called gin. Juniper is found in 100% of spirits called gins. The juniper berry is known for imparting the traditional pine note of gin, although it can also appear as resinous, waxy, herbaceous or even green and fresh. The juniper in gin is generally Juniperus communis; however, occasionally distillers use local species that may have a very different flavor in gin.

Another gin distilled in London proper, “VJOP” stands for “Very Junipery Over Proof”. During production, a large amount of juniper (three times more than the standard London Dry) is added and the gin undergoes a “triple juniper” process. First, more juniper is added to the standard botanical recipe for Sipsmith gin, which is macerated with the base liqueur for three days. Then more juniper is added after maceration.

Finally, during the distillation, more juniper vapor is infused with the alcohol. How could Juniper NOT be the star here? Waiter, a very dry Martini, directly, please. It's a far cry from gin, but anything that combines juniper and alcohol is a step in the right direction. 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 mixture, together with the addition of its renowned cucumber and Rose petal essence.

Confusedly, it's not necessary to distill a gin in London, or in Great Britain, to be called London Dry Gin. The conservation charity Plantlife UK works to save England's junipers, appealing to the British fondness for gin and tonics as a way to promote habitat conservation and restoration. Interestingly, Hayman's gin line includes the same 10 botanical ingredients, but with varying proportions. There are many other variations between different gins: some may have a higher or lower ABV, some gins are made from grains and others, like ours, are made from grapes.

The juniper berry is known for conferring the traditional pine note in gin, although it can also be resinous, waxy, herbaceous or even green and fresh. It is named after its founder, Charles Tanqueray, who established the brand in 1830, and was originally distilled in London. While many of these new gins would also adopt London's classic dry-flavour profile, a lot began to be experienced. In gin production, purple, ripe juniper berries are used, either whole or can be milled or crushed gently to release more oils.

Their team of ambassadors conducts training across the country, not only on gin, but they cover everything you need to know there, but also about a variety of spirits. As producers try to develop new styles and flavors of gin, to boost the category and find a niche, the need has grown to try new ways to extract flavors and use more unusual botanical ingredients. Distilled gin is a step forward and is described as “a juniper-flavored spirit drink made by redistilling ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with an alcoholic alcohol of at least 96 percent” in the presence of juniper berries and other botanical ingredients. 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.

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Terrance Wilson
Terrance Wilson

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