Gin: The Basics

The Basics | The Full Story | Reviews | Brands | Spirits Home

What You Need To Know

Gin, the original flavored Vodka. It was invented by the Dutch, where it is known as Genever (Dutch for juniper) and later adopted by the British. Traditionally there are two main styles; Dutch, or Genever style, and London Dry. Genever is rich, and sweet with a substantial palate weight. London Dry, as the name suggests is dry and crisp, often with a citrus like edge. Gin is often bottled at a slightly higher proof than typically found in other white spirits in order to keep its delicate mix of botanicals evident and in balance. Gin is the primary ingredient of the “real” martini.

The Experts Rap

Although Juniper is certainly king, Gin is often made with a number of botanicals (herbs & spices) including ginger, anise, caraway, coriander, citrus peel, and cinnamon to name a few. Quality is determined by the integrity of the base spirit as well as the botanicals used and the method in which they are introduced to the spirit. Grain spirits are preferred over neutral spirits made from molasses. British Gin producers are forbidden from making their own neutral spirits. Consequently, much of the base spirit that is used to create the countless brands seen at market is produced in just a handful of distilleries. This singular fact best demonstrates the importance of the botanical recipe and the method of extracting these aromas and flavors. Steeping whole spices as opposed to the addition of extract yields a finer product.

When and How

Martinis and the classic Gin & tonic are welcomed year round albeit primarily enjoyed in the warmer months. Gin is great with nearly all citrus juices. Best served at cocktail hour or as an aperitif. The bright and crisp flavors found in Gin are the perfect for whetting the appetite. Avoid mixing with creams or milk as the result is just awful! Get the full rap on Gin here.