What is Gin?
Gin is a clear re-distilled grain spirit flavored with various natural botanicals. Juniper is always prominent and other traditional botanicals include cassia, angelica, coriander and citrus peels. However, in the current ‘gin boom’ a huge range of botanicals are being used to produce modern twists on the traditional drink.
There are 4 main styles of gins:
London Dry Gin
The most widely available gin style is London Dry Gin. London Dry Gin doesn’t actually have to be made in London. London Dry gins tend to be flowery and aromatic with the botanicals being added during the 2nd or 3rd distillation. The vapours from these flavouring agents reach the alcohol as they pass through a specialised still with an attachment called a gin head.
Dry gins are the most common gins used in cocktails and are preferred for making the Dry Martini.
The Dutch style of gin and noted as being the first gin style, Genever is distilled from a malted grain mash similar to that used for whisky. Generally, genevers have a drier palate and lighter body. Some genevers are aged for one to three years in oak casks.
Old Tom gin is a slightly sweeter version of London Dry. After being the most common style of gin in the early 19th century, Old Tom was out of fashion for a long time. However in recent years it has been making a comeback and has become popular again.
Old Tom was the original gin used in the famous Tom Collins cocktail.
Compound gin is not redistilled: flavourings are added to a neutral spirit. In some cases, the gin is made simply by infusing juniper berries.