Gin

Started as a Dutch speciality, Genever. Brought to England in the 1600s and grew in popularity. Most popular style back then from known as "Old Tom" made from corn spirit, juniper heavy and sweetened. Gin changed when the Coffey column still was introduced, providing a better quality base spirit. More complex botanicals recipes were also used. These advances led the Gin style "London Dry" to become Englands national drink and exports to the USA began. Gin was an important part of the cocktail craze, before vodka gin was the mixer. 1960s saw the introduction and growth of vodka and the decline of gin. 

Base 

  • flavours/aromas are obtained from botanicals 

  • flavours are added to a HRS 

  • natural flavours or nature identical flavourings 

  • HRS - each base ingredient will give a different HRS 

  • grain HRS >  usually premium gins, crisper feel

  • molasses HRS > softer feel 

  • own-label gins use the cheapest HRS 

Raw Materials > Botanicals 

Main botanicals 

Juniper 

  • needs to be added by law 

  • sourced from Italy or the Balkans 

  • pine-like note

  • heather and lavender 

Coriander seed

  • 2nd most important botanical

  • in every premium gin

  • add spicy notes

  • nature varies depending on its origin

  • Moroccan - peppery

  • Eastern Euro and Russia - spicy, citric, sometimes floral

  • Indian - overtly citric 

Angelica Root

  • musky

  • earthy, dry, woody

  • helps to balance the perfume of other botanicals

Orris Root 

  • iris family 

  • ability to hold onto other more volatile aromatics 

  • earthy

  • violet roots and leaves 

Dried citrus peels 

  • not in all gins 

  • lemon and/or orange

  • sweet orange (Plymouth gin) sweet

  • seville orange (Beefeater) zesty

  • first aromas released when gin is diluted

  • links well with coriander

  • adds complexity

Other botanicals 

  • Angelica Seed > dry hop flowers 

  • Cinnamon/cassia bark > sweet tropical

  • Almond > marzipan

  • Liquorice > both, sweetness, 20x sweeter than sugar. helps to soften harshness of juniper

  • Nutmeg

  • Cardamom

  • Whole citrus fruits 

  • rose petals 

  • cucumber

  • native botanicals 

Distillers will weigh out the botanicals, small variations can impact the final product significantly. Almost all distill them together. 

When distilled together, many compounds that are released combine together to create new aromas. If botanicals are distilled separately the gin will be different.

Distillation Options 

  

  • Re-distillation in copper pot still  ( spirit is heated with botanicals)

  • Caterhead still 

  • maceration > alcohol/water mix

  • Gin concentrate > large brands. Huge amount of botanicals are used. Need to be diluted being bottled. Gin only includes 4-5% concentrate. Water and HRS are used to dilute the concentrate.

Making the Cut 

  • cuts are made to achieve the correct flavour profile

  • botanicals have different volatility, come off in sequence

  • 1st aromas to come through is citrus

  • 2nd Juniper

  • 3rd Coriander

  • 4th orris and Angelica  

  • more a citrusy gin - early cut points 

Re-distillation 

  • pot still

  • HRS is diluted with water to 60%abv

  • liquid is heated in the presence of botanicals

  • flavour-rich vapours are condensed and collected 79-80%abv

  • shape/size of still and rate of distillation will impact the final flavour

Maceration (botanicals in the still)

  • botanicals placed in a alcohol/water mix

  • either started distillation ASAP or allow maceration

  • maceration - fix aromas 

Caterhead Still

  • botanicals are placed into a suspended basket

  • basket is in the neck of the still OR between the neck and the condenser

  • produce a lighter style of gin

Post Distillation 

Adding flavours

  • Natural flavours and nature identical

  • cheap gins, made by adding flavourings to HRS

  • some Distilled gin will add after distillation, some botanicals are damaged by heat (cucumber) also to allow a certain aroma to stand out. 

Maturation 

unaged, kept in inert vessels

Finishing 

  • blend between batches for consistency

  • if diluted too far aromas can be lost

  • citrus held at 40%, below this there is a risk of losing the fresh citrus character

Types of Gin 

Juniper flavoured spirits drinks 

  • 96%abv spirit or gain spirit

  • natural or nature-identical flavourings 

  • must have juniper character

  • minimum bottling strength 30%abv

Gin

  • 96% HRS

  • natural or nature-identical flavourings 

  • taste predominantly of juniper 

  • minimum bottling 37.5%abv

Distilled Gin

  • redistilling 96%HRS with juniper and other natural botanicals 

  • natural or identically flavourings may then be added 

  • bottled with the addition of water/HRS and water

  • taste predominantly of juniper

  • minimum 37.5%

London Dry

  • distilled gin

  • NO other flavourings or sweeteners can be added

  • no GI

Plymouth Gin 

  • production, 1 distillery in the city of plymouth

Genever/Jenever

  • Juniper flavoured spirit

  • protected GI

  • The Netherlands, very north of France, Belgium

  • may be oak aged 

Base 

  • low strength grain spirit called "moutwijn"

  • + HRS

Moutwijn 

  • low strength grain spirit "malt wine"

  • direct impact on the aroma/texture of Jenever

  • rich is texture

  • character diminishes the aromas of juniper 

  • amount of moutwijn used in the genever will determine the class

Styles 

Jonge Jenever

  • new-style 

  • maximum 15% moutwijn

  • no legal minimum 

  • colourless

  • sweetened up to a maximum of 10g/L

  • neutral taste like vodka 

  • slight aroma of juniper and malt wine

Oude Jenever

  • old style

  • minimum 15% moutwijn

  • can have colour, adjusted with caramel

  • sweetened up to 20g/L

  • very aromatic

  • malty flavours 

  • sometimes oak aged 

Graanjenever

can be used for both Oude and Jonge styles if the HRS used is made from grain only.

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