The invention of gin is apocryphally credited to one Franciscus de la boe, a medical professor at the university of Leiden in Netherlands, sometime in the mid 17th century. Even he is the true progenitor of gin, however, he was not the first to add juniper berries for medicinal reason to a pure distilled spirit. The 12th century monastery at salerno, where European distillation was born, is the more likely origin of the basic recipe.
Juniper was already well known for its medicinal qualities so the spirit proved to be useful to the Dutch wanting to protect themselves from tropical disease in the East Indies while the Juniper made the spirit taste better as well. Lucas Bols built his first distillery in 1575, followed by De Kuyper a century later.
Gin is a distilled grain spirit flavoured with juniper berries and other botanicals. It originated from Holland over 400 years ago, and took its name from the Dutch word for juniper, “Genever”. Gin is an agricultural product and not an industrial creation.
Styles of Gin
•London Dry Gin is the dominant English style of gin. It is a light, dry style, using lots of citrus botanicals, which works well for mixing and using in cocktails. London Dry Gin can be made anywhere in the world, but is most popular in the UK, US, former British colonies and Spain.
•Genever is the Dutch style of gin. It is straw-coloured and relatively sweet and aromatic. It may be aged for up to three years, and usually has less alcohol than the English gins. It is usually served neat (no ice or mixer) and chilled. Genever is produced in Belgium, Holland and germany. It is sold in stoneware bottles.
•Plymouth Gin is a clear, fruity, full-bodied and very aromatic gin nowadays made only by one distillery in Plymouth, a city on the South coast of England.
•Old Tom Gin is an old-fashioned style of gin, popular in the 18th century. It was lightly sweetened, and was the gin to be used in the classic cocktail, “Tom Collins”
•Sloe Gin is a gin flavoured with sloe berries.
•Steinhager A German Gin, distilled from fermented juniper berries, colourless and with a heavy juniper flavour. Sold in stone flagons.
•ALMOND Bitter almonds, ground to release their oils.Hint of nuttiness.
•ANGELICA An aromatic and earthy root with floral character. Used to stabilise the other flavours.
•CARDOMON Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with a coolness similar to mint, though with a different aroma. Tiny seeds used to sweeten the breath and aid digestion.
•CASSIA BARK A relative of cinnamon but stronger and more bitter with the smell and taste of chewing gum.
•CORIANDER The second most commonly used botanical, similar to parsley but with citrus undertones.Warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured.
•CUBEB BERRIES Member of the pepper family from Java, with spicy, peppery aromas.
•GRAIN OF PARADISE Peppery berry with hints of lavender and camphor, sweet smell and accentuate citrus.
•JUNIPER A purple berry, native to Europe, bittersweet with hints of pine, lavender and camphor. Gives the basic stimulating flavour and essential freshness to Gin.
•LICORICE Bittersweet roots.
•NUTMEG Brings warm, sweet, delicate flavours to the gin.
•ORRIS A root from the iris plant that, like Angelica, fixes the taste during distillation.it adds an exotic fragrance to the gin.
• CITRUS PEEL – freshly citrus peel to add a delicate, bittersweet flavour which has the freshness and subtlety to lift the aromas of the rest of the botanicals and help create a distinctive citrus flavour. A clean flavour, rich in oils and used to enhance the dryness of Gin.
Gin in the market
Dry gin from London; it comes in a tinted blue bottle with the 10 various botanicals and herbs that flavour it on the side of the bottle. A very popular export brand and although unclear where the name originates from, the City of Bombay in India is located on a bay and was named ‘Bombay’ by the British. As there is a sea view from Bombay this may explain the colour of the bottle. A sharp and peppery gin.
Distilled from grain, it’s the only gin that is still solely distilled in London, near Oval & Stockwell. The name derives from the yeoman Warden at the London towers. A well rounder gin with peppery finish.
Many stills were used when the distillery was opened, and number 10 seemed to produce the most excellent batch, possibly due to the location in the building; commonly known as the ‘sweet spot’. It has medium body, floral taste with a steel finish. Unique bottle shape remind us with New York fire hydrant or Cobbler shaker.
In 2005 South Gin made by Pacific Dawn Distillers of New Zealand received the ‘Grand Gold with Palm Leaves’ at the Monde Selection in Brussels rating it as the best gin in the world.
Blackwoods Vintage Dry
Made from using botanicals from the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Shetlands local fishermen gather wild water mint from around the lochs, sea pink flowers, angelica and juniper berries.
Made in Cognac in France. The recipe was first created in 1771 at a distillery in Dunkirk. It is distilled with wheat grain neutral spirit and contains 19 different types of botanicals ranging from juniper, coriander, orange peel, fennel, almonds, angelica, star anise etc….
Gabriel Boudier Saffron
The saffron based Gin is apparently based on a colonial recipe from the 17th century. It is based on fresh botanicals, juniper, saffron, coriander, angelica seeds etc.. and distilled in a traditional pot still.
Gordons Original special Dry
Gordon’s was established in 1769 and is the UK leading gin brand. It is also one of the top ten best selling brands worldwide. It is said that basically ten bottles are sold every single minute all over the world. It now uses a two step production method. A slightly sweet-esh gin.
Often described as the most unusual gin in the world, this product was created in Scotland in 1999, launched in the US in 2000 and in the UK in 2003. The main botanicals used here are juniper, angelica, coriander seeds, angelica, two types of lemon peel and two types of orange peel as well as cucumber. It is distilled in two different stills. The first still in charged with the botanicals and neutral spirit and left to infuse between 24 to 36 hours before commencing distillation. The second still then uses the vapour infusion method to flavour the spirit. The two spirits are then blended together. After distillation cucumber and rose petal essence are then added.
Launched in 2001, this gin is packaged in a hand decorated bottle in keeping with the Hampton’s up scale image, USA. The botanicals are distilled separately and then melded with the gin.
The base spirit is distilled using traditional pot maceration in England with botanicals including junipers, cassia, coriander, nutmeg cinnamon, citrus peel etc. The distillate in then shipped to Iceland where it is blended with glacial water to bring it down to bottling strength. A secret ingredient of cucumber is then added during the process of blending after which Millers is then bottled in Iceland.
Plymouth was first set up in 1793 by the Coates family. To be know as Plymouth gin it has to be made in Plymouth now. The Gin is now made in a 7000litre copper pot still which has been in regular use at the distillery for over 150 years. Plymouth uses seven main botanicals which are juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, sweet angelica, orris root and cardamom. No bitter botanical are used to flavour this gin.
NO 209 Gin
209 gin started in 1870, USA. The gin uses a traditional one shot distillation in a custom made copper pot still. They have created a distinct flavour by adding orange peel alongside traditional botanicals such as cardamoms, coriander and of course juniper. The botanicals are stooped in natural grain alcohol overnight.
Launched in 2000, this is an ultra premium gin based on the traditional tanqueray botanical recipe but incorporates a couple of extras such as camomile and fresh grapefruit. It takes its name from the distilleries No 10 pot still, known as tiny 10. A wheat grain neutral spirit is used which is infused with chopped oranges from Florida, Mexican limes and grapefruits to produce this essence.It is bottles at 47.3% while normal Tanqueray is bottled at 43.1%.
July 16, 2009