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June 24, 2024

Gin 101: An introduction to Gin

Jade Crasto 
Gin has a lengthy and distinctive history that starts in Europe. The name ‘gin’, as it is known today, may have originated from the Flemish words ‘genever’ or ‘jenever’, which were originally used to describe the beverage’s medical properties. In addition to berries from the coniferous juniper shrub and other botanicals, it is produced from a distilled grain. In the past, a less expensive variety of gin would have been flavored with turpentine, but it has gone a long way since then! Gin today is perhaps a little bit different because it is purer and offers a wide range of distinctive flavors and styles.  
Gin spirit connoisseurs can enjoy a variety of gins. They’re all distinctive in their own way and may be used to make some of the world’s most well-known cocktails, including as the Martini and the Negroni, or they can be consumed neat. 
London Dry Gin  
Photo Courtesy: Beefeater
Soon after the ‘Coffey’ continuous still was constructed in 1831, allowing the manufacture of a highly rectified and almost pure spirit, London Dry arose as a dry refined form of gin, initially only made in London. Because of the high distillation strength, the disagreeable aromas prevalent in older gins were eliminated, allowing the new spirits to be offered unsweetened or “dry.”
Photo Courtesy: Tanqueray
London dry gin is mostly utilized in the making of mixed beverages and is rarely consumed straight. It is distinguished by its softer finish, which makes it ideal for creating rich cocktails. London dry is considered as an unsweetened gin that may be created anywhere in the world. When it comes to distilled gin flavour types, juniper-forward gins with classic botanicals like coriander seeds, angelica root, citrus peel, and orris root are termed London Dry. Tanqueray and Beefeater are two classic examples of this type that still exist, but only one is presently produced in the city of London and both are bottled in Scotland.
Photo Courtesy: Rutte Dry Gin
Modern London Dry-style gins still created in London include Sipsmith’s Gin and Portobello Road Gin. Rutte Dry Gin is one of several London Dry-style gins produced in different cities and countries. 
Old Tom Gin 
Photo Courtesy: Secret Treasures
Often characterized as a sweet or ‘cordial’ style of gin, ‘old tom’ gins were highly sought after in the 18th and early 19th centuries when gin was more pungent due to the small amount of purification of the base spirit achievable in copper pot stills at the period. The gin’s rough-tasting congeners were very probably concealed by flavouring, usually with lemon or aniseed and/or sweetening with liquorice, and subsequently, in the 19th century, with sugar. This sweetened kind of gin became known as ‘old tom’.
Photo Courtesy: Haymans
The name Old Tom Gin is said to have originated from wooden plaques styled like a black cat that was put on the outer wall of several taverns over a public walkway in 18th-century England. A few known Old Tom Gins include Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Booth’s old Tom and Secret Treasures old tom. 
Plymouth Gin 
Photo Courtesy: Plymouth
Coates has been manufacturing Plymouth which is produced in a 7,000 litre copper pot still that has been in continuous operation at the distillery for over 150 years. Plymouth Gin is the traditional British navy gin used in the making of pink gin.  
Photo Courtesy: Plymouth Fruit Cup
It is unsweetened and has a stronger flavour than London dry. It also has a strong citrus scent, and the combination of seven botanicals may result in a peppery aftertaste. They produce a great earthy note, making it ideal for Martinis and Negronis. Plymouth gin was granted Protected Geographical Status (PGI) under European Union law in 2008. This meant that only gins made in the southwest English city of Plymouth with a minimum alc./vol. of 37.5% and a pronounced juniper taste may be labelled as Plymouth gins. Examples of Plymouth include, Plymouth Navy Strength, Mr King’s 1842 Recipe, and Plymouth Fruit Cup. 
Genever, ancient Dutch or Flemish for “juniper”, is the closest modern descendant of the 1500s Gin and is frequently sweeter than classic British Gin. Genever is also known as jenever and geneva. It’s made by fermenting rye, malted barley and corn, distilling it in pot stills and then redistilling at low proof with juniper berries and coriander seeds.  This results in a full-bodied gin with distinct malt and juniper flavours. This drink is not appropriate for cocktail making since its flavour overpowers the other ingredients. It tastes best straight and cold. 
Genever is classified into various sorts or sub-categories: 
Jonge (Young) Genever 
Photo Courtesy:Wynand Fockink
This originally developed at the turn of the century, with the introduction of continuous column stills and the scarcity as well as high expense of malted grains, resulting in a new or youthful type of Genever. It contains up to 15% malted wine, neutral grain spirit, and no more than 10 grammes (0.35 oz) of sugar per litre (0.26 US gallons). As a result, the spirit is dry, clear or barely coloured, and medium-bodied, akin to a British-style Dry Gin. 
Oude (Old) Genever 
Photo Courtesy: By The Dutch
This is the classic or old form of Genever, with a minimum of 15% but up to 50% malted wine, a maximum of 20 grammes (0.7 oz) of sugar added every litre (0.26 US gallons), and a minimum ABV of 35%. Although it is not required, it is often barrel aged for 1 to 3 years and is amber in colour, fragrant, sweet, and has an oily texture. This is the type that most people think of when they think of Genever and, while sweeter, is possibly closer in style to Whisky. 
Korenwijn (Corn Wine) Genever 
Photo Courtesy:Zuidam
This is the closest variant of Genever to the 16th century. It is created from 51 – 70% malted barley wine (and no other type of grain), is typically distilled many times, may contain up to 20 grammes (0.7 oz) of sugar per litre (0.26 US gallons), and must have a minimum ABV of 38%. It is matured in hardwood barrels no bigger than 700-liters (185 US gallons) for a minimum of one year, with barrel ageing continuing up to ten years. It is dark amber in colour, malty, full-bodied, sweet, rich, and has a strong flavour. 
Graanjenever (Grain Genever) 
Photo Courtesy: Jonge Bols
Genever, in addition to neutral grain spirit, may incorporate spirit manufactured from sugar-based alcohol, a frequent component employed during the First World War when grain was scarce. To distinguish Genever distilled only from grain, it may be labelled as “Graanjenever” and is most typically column distilled and manufactured without, or with very little, malted grains. 
Cold compounded gin 
Photo Courtesy:Bathtub Gin
Gins are prepared from a neutral spirit base that has already been distilled from fermented carbohydrates. The botanicals are often added to the basic spirit before being redistilled as the following stage in the process. Compound Gins skip the second step of redistillation, with the botanicals or botanical flavourings simply added to the high-proof base spirit and let to infuse at room temperature, hence the sometimes-used full-term ”Cold Compounding.” The resulting spirit is subsequently purified and diluted with water to bottling strength. Gin remained a rough and ready drink until 1830, when the coffey column was created and paved the way for more refined and purer spirit manufacturing.
Photo Courtesy: Tappers
Cold compounding was a common method for adding flavour. The ensuing development in higher-quality spirit manufacturing ushered in the London Dry Gin style, while cold compounding went out of favour, with Gin transitioning from a working-class drink to one at home in the drawing halls of the middle classes. Examples of this “inferior” gin include, Desert Juniper Gin, Tappers Darkside Gin, Bathtub Navy Side Gin and Cascade Mountain Gin 
* Column distillation or Coffey still: is similar to stacking pot distillations on top of one another. The heat source (steam) in this process resides inside the still, flowing from the bottom through its various chambers and up to the top. Wash enters the column towards the top and sinks down through the chambers in a liquid condition. The ethanol rises back through the chambers as it warms and evaporates, condensing and re-evaporating at each stage. 
*Pot still distillation: The wash warms in the main chamber during pot distillation until boiling ethanol vapour rises to the still’s head and leaves through the lyne arm. The vapour then travels through the cooling coil, where it condenses and flows as a liquid into a collection tank. 
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Jade Crasto


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