We all love gin, be it straight, in cocktails, using in cooking, for some of us, it’s part of day-to-day life. But have you ever asked yourself What is Gin? That’s why Think Gin Club has created this article giving you the lowdown on What is Gin?
What is Gin?: The Origins of Gin
You might be surprised to hear when asking “What is Gin?” that gin is not too dissimilar in its origins to vodka. Like vodka, a neutral spirit is created from wheat, barley, potatoes and grapes. This is then infused with botanicals, and the main flavour must be juniper to be classed as a gin. These flowers, herbs, plants and spices help to craft a taste that we’ve all come to know and love.
Gin must be at least 37.5% of pure alcohol in the total volume of liquid. This can be identified on the bottle as the A.B.V, with three traditional types available. These include London Dry, Plymouth Gin and Old Tom, with sloe gin, gin liqueurs and other varieties available. When you’re next asked What is Gin?, we’ve got you covered!
What is Gin?: How is Gin Made & Can I Make It?
Gin is created through distillation, starting life as a grain-based spirit before the flavours are added. The different distillations include Steep, Vapor Infusion, a combination of the two and vacuum distillation. The most common method sees the base spirit placed in a pot still (where the liquid can be heated), along with the juniper berries and other botanicals. These are steeped as long as 48 hours, and once completed, water is added to reduce the distillate to bottling strength.
In Prohibition America in the 1920s, bathtub gin was a craze. Batches were made in people’s bathtubs using a far simpler process, with spaces added to the neutral base spirit and left to infuse. If you fancy yourself the next big gin distiller, you can click here to view our method on how to make your own craft gin.
What is Gin?: So it's Easy to Make Gins in Different Flavours?
Yes, the distiller has full control over the gin they make. Flavoured gin, as Think Gin Club members will know, has boomed in recent years. The gin connoisseur can now enjoy new aromatics and flavours. The alcohol content and production is similar to that of traditional gin, but the standard botanicals take a back seat to stronger flavours of spices, berries and fruits.
There can be some confusion around some products that claim to be ‘flavoured gin’, but due to a high sugar content, low alcoholic value and lack of juniper, they qualify as a gin liqueur.
What is Gin?: What is a Gin Liqueur?
Gin liqueurs differ from gin in several ways, mentioned above. Although labelled as a gin, sloe gin is in fact a gin liqueur. Next time you’re offered a sloe gin and told it’s gin, send your drink back and showcase your skills as a gin connoisseur.
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