Gin 101: The Basics of the Popular All-Around Alcohol Spirit

Gin is a popular distilled spirit known around the world. Every country has a different version of it, making each gin-drinking experience unique for everyone to enjoy. However, most people who have tried the beverage a few times do not seem to know the drink’s humble origins. 

A Closer Look at Gin

Similar to other alcoholic drinks, gin is made out of grain and flavoured with botanicals. People commend it for having a solid pine flavour coming from one of its main ingredients, the juniper berries — they are small, berry-like fruits where people source the gin’s unforgettable taste. The berries give the drink its distinctive flavour and aroma, making it recognisable from other beverages.

Today, due to people’s changes in taste, modern gins reflect a more approachable and less piney taste. Despite starting as a Dutch creation, more countries like Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK now serve gin. A classic martini isn’t the drink it is today without a splash of gin.

What is Gin Made From? 

Aside from the ingredients used, gin is also made of various procedures to extract the liquid from its source. The process starts with a distilled alcohol base blended with juniper berries and other botanicals for recognisable flavours and aromas. Afterwards, the mixture will undergo a steeping, infusion, vacuuming, and ageing.

1. Steeping

Steeping is the original procedure used to make gin. Nowadays, most distilleries still use it, especially those that aim for unique brands and products. Steeping occurs by heating ethanol in a drum-like container to separate the alcohol and condense it.

The result is a robust base with which the other ingredients can be infused. Distillers can often repeat the process to ensure a more concentrated mix before adding water to dilute it to get the right balance.

2. Vapourisation

Vapourisation follows the first step of steeping—heating ethanol. But instead of adding the botanicals to get the desired tastes and aroma, distillers do it differently this time. They place the ingredients to steam on top of the heated ethanol. As a result, it releases the essential oils and flavours the gin with its core tastes.

The vaporisation process produces a lighter mix of gin, focusing on floral flavours. The most common product made out of the process is Bombay Sapphire, one of the first blends produced by the method.

3. Vacuum Distillation

Vacuum distillation is one of the most modern ways to produce gin. If traditional gin-making temperatures rise to 78 degrees Celsius or 172.4 degrees Fahrenheit, vacuum distillation uses cooler temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the end product’s taste has a more botanical flavour than a pungent alcoholic taste.

4. Ageing

Among all the methods used to create gin, ageing isn’t as typical as it was before. The process creates a more profound, smokier flavour, almost similar to scotch—ageing stores gin in oak barrels for months, producing a more acerbic mix.

Conclusion

Often confused with vodka, gin is a clear spirit with its own identity. Although people tend to compare the two alcoholic products, they are different in their ingredients and creation process. Gin is made using juniper berries, while vodka comes from potatoes, rye, or wheat. Moreover, Gin uses distilling methods to produce the substance. But Vodka uses distillation, fermentation, and purification processes to make the end product. Despite their differences, both Gin and Vodka drinks remain popular as they are the main ingredients of martinis and gimlets—two of the the most popular cocktails to order in a bar.

Jim and Tonic is a London-based distillery bar offering sustainable urban gins. Besides the face-to-face service, we also provide DIY gin and tonic kits as ideal gift sets. Who needs to go outdoors if you can make your cocktail at home? Check out our other products and expect 100 per cent satisfaction guaranteed.