The ultimate guide to gin

It has been a huge resurgence in gin and cocktails in the last few years.

But what is gin?

The definition of gin states that it has to be juniper dominant flavored spirit. An agricultural origin and then bottled above thirty seven point five percent alcohol by volume.


Gin has a thousand years of history to it. It dates all the way back to 1050 A.D. to an Italian monastery, so it is Italian.

Gin wasn´t popularized until the 16th century in Belgium and Holland. It was here during the 30 Year War the term. The British soldiers would take a wee nip of the local Genève; give them a bit of courage to get out onto the battle fields. They brought it to England and shortened the name to just gin and claimed it as their own.


When I say botanical it stems from the word botany that basically means anything that has grown like a herb, root, spice, plant or even a nut.

But you have to have juniper in your glass to be a gin.

Some of the most common botanicals are lemon peel. It gives a wonderful bright fresh citrusy element to the gin. Other botanicals are Cassia bark, licorice root, angelica root and even grains of paradise and cubeb berries give a wonderful floral peppery spice.

So once you have harvested your botanicals that are going to go into the gin, you need them in a natural raw berry form. So you are going to dry them.

By bringing all of these botanicals together, it is what makes gin so versatile and mixable in a vast array of cocktails.

How gin is made?

There are two main types of gin. You have got cold compounded gins and you got distilled London dry gins.

Cold compound is basically the spirit mixed with some botanicals for a few days to infuse, add water and then you bottle it.

When you make a distilled gin you need to know something. Water boils off at 100º Celsius, but alcohol boils at about 20º lower at 78º Celsius. So if you have the alcohol and water together with the botanicals. You are going to heat that up and then you are going to hit the condenser and condense it back to a liquid.

We don´t want the first liters. We wait for the lovely bright fresh citrus note to come through.  It leads into piney notes, floral notes, rooty notes and then spicy notes. All of this is the heart of the gin. After about six hours or so, they will taste it every minute. Once they finish getting those spicy notes they will switch it over. That is the tails. It is the heart that we want right in the middle.

With a distilled gin you are allowed to add artificial flavoring after distillation but with the London dry gin you are not allowed to add anything like that at all.

Finally, they take that high strength botanical spirit adds water to it to dilute it down to bottling strength.

Put it in the bottle and it is ready for you to make your favorite gin cocktail.

This article is provided by Africa Trading Group.

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