Gin 101: A Casual Drinker’s Introduction to the Spirit

The best way to enjoy a drink is to know its components and how you can combine them with other ingredients to enhance the drink’s flavour. The same is true even with alcoholic drinks, particularly gin. 

If you’re curious about the gin and want to know more about how you can enjoy a gin bar in London, the following paragraphs will let you get a better look at this fascinating alcoholic beverage.

Gin’s Production Requirement

Gin comes from juniper berries, which are tiny seed cones that have a considerably stronger woodsy or pine flavour. This gives gin its particular, yet noticeably strong taste.

A juniper berry infusion is essential in the ultimate result of gin. Other herbs or spices, such as rose petals, coriander, lavender, or mint, can be added to it, but it must have juniper berries at its core. In the UK, gin must be bottled at a minimum of 37.5 per cent ABV iin addition to having juniper berries.

Making Gin

Gin is easier to make than whisky, scotch, or bourbon because it does not require time in the barrel. Because of this nature, it’s easier to bottle and sell compared to other spirits.

Gin is made from a grain mash comprising maize, barley, and rye (or a combination of these grains), which is distilled several times. Although the initial distillation yields alcohol, it is not particularly pleasant to consume yet. The distillation process is repeated to purify the spirit further. The catch with gin is that the juniper berries and botanicals must be added.

Some distillers prefer to simply steep the berries and botanicals in the spirit, allowing the flavours and aromas to absorb into the liquid before the second distillation. Others use a vapour infusion method that infuses the juniper berries and herbs using baskets suspended above the stills. After the final distillation phase, water is added to the mixture to get the spirit to the desired strength.

Gin’s Low-Calorie Count

Okay, get this: A 12-ounce shot of gin contains 97 calories. When compared to Everclear, which has 190 calories per one-ounce shot, and Bacardi 151 Rum, which has 122 calories per shot, gin is a great alternative for people cutting calories.

Another attractive feature of gin is that it goes well with a wide range of mixers. For instance, in a gin bar in London, you can get a gin and tonic, which would be about 150 calories. However, if you’re still concerned about your diet, you can use soda water for the tonic. This option will not add any more calories to the mix. To add more taste, finish it off with a wedge of lime.

Cocktails with Gin

Bartenders love experimenting with cocktails using gin. Because it is a clever liquor, it can match better with juice, soda, tonic, soda water. Dark liquors like whiskey and bourbon have aromas of vanilla, caramel, and spice from maturing in barrels, so fruity mixers aren’t as easy to match with them.

Gin has a mild woodsy, pine-like flavour from juniper berries and other botanicals and herbs, making it the ideal liquor to mix with unusual fruity alternatives.

To fully highlight the flavour of the botanicals in the spirit, bartenders love to use gin to make the classic gin martini. However, it’s also a great addition to fruit smash drinks like the strawberry gin smash, which mixes crushed strawberries, lime, sugar, gin, and club soda.

Check out our online gin cocktail recipe hub for some great drinks to make at home.


The ‘Ginnaisance’ in the UK has been in full force since about 2013 as more craft distilleries and gin bars spring up, and more gins and flavours hit the market.

You will find an excellent London-based distillery of gin for your alcoholic needs at Jim and Tonic! We are a gin distillery with three cocktail bars in London. Visit our online shop to find out more about our products!

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