“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Gin gets its most dominate flavors from juniper berries.
It’s original intent was to be drank as a herbal medicine.
Today the drink is one of the most common spirits that is used in a variety of cocktails.
How to Drink Gin
The most traditional way to enjoy the drink is a martini. To make a martini you pour gin and dry vermouth into a mixing glass with ice, then you stir it and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. The drink is garnished with a green olive or a lemon peel. It is also used in a large variety of cocktails.
The History of Gin
Gin has a long history dating back to the middle ages. Although it was not the drink that we know today, during the 11th century, Italian monks were experimenting with distilling spirits with juniper berries. A Dutch physician by the name of Franciscus Sylvius is given the credit of inventing the drink. In the middle of the 17th many Dutch distillers had made the re-distillation of wine with juniper and other herbs very popular.
Pharmacies sold these drinks as treatment for many ailments including gallstones, gout, and stomach problems. Eventually the popularity of the drink reached England after the English government allowed unlicensed gin production. After this tons of gin-shops popped up throughout England which is now known as a period called “The Gin Craze“.
During this period the drink was blamed for many social problems and although there is no evidence, some directly contribute the drink to the higher death rates during this time. An artist named William Hogarth portrayed the time period in his pieces “Beer Street” and “Gin Lane”.
The negative reputation that the beverage achieved during this time still survives today. This can be seen in terms like “gin mills” or the often used phrase “gin joints”, both terms used to describe low class seedy bars.
How Gin is Made
The way the drink is made as evolved since its origins. Currently today there are three common ways to make the drink.
-Pot Distilled – This is the earliest way gin was made. In this method gin is produced by pot distilling a fermented grain mash from various grains including barley. Then the process of redistilling the spirit begins. During this redistilling process flavouring botanicals are added.
The aromas from the botanicals are captured within the spirit adding flavor to the drink. This type of gin is often aged in wooden barrels resulting in a malty flavor that bears a resemblance to whisky.
-Column Distilled – This type of gin evolved from a special still called a column still, also known as a Coffey still. During this process high proof neutral spirits are distilled using a column still.
After the first distillation the highly concentrated spirit is then redistilled with juniper berries and other botanicals in a pot still.
Most of the time the botanicals and juniper berries are suspended in what is called a “gin basket”. This basket is positioned at the head of the still. The hot alcoholic vapors help extract the flavor from the botanicals.
Compound- This kind of gin is made by simply adding flavouring to neutral spirits. This kind of gin is not distilled twice and is not as highly regarded as the previous two methods.