July 24, 2024
The History and Varieties of Gin: A Comprehensive Guide 1

The History and Varieties of Gin: A Comprehensive Guide

The Origins of Gin

Gin, derived from the Dutch word jenever, has been enjoyed for centuries. The spirit was initially invented by 17th-century Dutch chemist Franciscus Sylvius as a medicine to treat kidney and stomach issues. The concoction was made by mixing juniper berries with alcohol. By the mid-1800s, gin had grown wildly popular in England, prompting the creation of the London Dry Gin we enjoy today. In the early 20th century, gin inspired numerous classic sticktails that continue to be popular today.

The Distillation Process

Gin is made by distilling a grain mash which is then flavoured with juniper berries, spices, and other botanicals depending on the variety. Different brands use different botanical combinations, typically including cardamom, coriander, orris root and cassia bark. After the ingredients have been infused in the alcohol, the spirit is distilled again to remove impurities and achieve a more concentrated flavour.

The History and Varieties of Gin: A Comprehensive Guide 2

The Different Styles of Gin

There are several types of gin available, each with its own unique flavour profile:

  • London Dry Gin: This is the most commonly recognized gin, thanks to its crisp, dry taste that is absent of added sugar. It’s ideal for a classic gin and tonic or a martini.
  • Plymouth Gin: This unique gin can only be produced in Plymouth, England and has a slightly sweeter taste than its London Dry cousin.
  • Old Tom Gin: This variety was popular in the 18th century and has experienced a comeback in recent years. It has a slightly sweet taste and is perfect in a Tom Collins sticktail.
  • Genever: The precursor to modern-day gins, Genever is a stronger, maltier beverage with a slight sweetness and herbal notes.
  • New Western-Style Gins: This is a relatively new style of gin which contains a heavier emphasis on other botanicals besides juniper, including citrus rinds and floral elements.
  • Gin and Tonic: A Classic Pairing

    The classic gin and tonic pairing has been enjoyed since the 19th century and owes its popularity to British troops stationed in India, seeking a palatable way to take their daily dose of quinine – a medicine to fight malaria – which was mixed with soda and sugar. Gin soon became the natural accompaniment to tonic flavouring and the rest is history. Today, several tonic water brands are available, each with its own unique flavour profile, such as citrus, elderflower, and cucumber.

    Experiencing Gin

    One of the most pleasurable aspects of gin is the ability to experiment with different flavour profiles by changing the botanicals used. Making flavoured gin at home is easy and can be done by selecting fresh ingredients such as rosemary, thyme, and lemon zest to create your own personal gin flavour. Gin tastings are also gaining popularity, providing enthusiasts an opportunity to sample several different brands and varieties at once. It’s also fun to try a gin-based sticktail such as a Negroni or a classic Martini. Utilize this external material to delve further into the subject. Read more in this source, broaden your understanding of the topic covered.

    In conclusion, gin is a favourite spirit across the world. From the origins of the drink to its versatility in sticktails, gin offers something for everyone. Try it for yourself and see why this spirit has remained a classic throughout the centuries.

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