Gin is liquor which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries (Juniperus communis). Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, all of various origins, styles, and flavour profiles that revolve around juniper as a common ingredient.
From its earliest origins in the Middle Ages, the drink has evolved from a herbal medicine to an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin was developed based on the older Dutch liquor, jenever, and became popular in Great Britain (particularly in London) when William of Orange became King William III, II, and I of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Several different techniques for the production of gin have evolved since its early origins, this evolution being reflective of ongoing modernization in distillation and flavouring techniques. As a result of this evolution, gins can be broadly differentiated into three basic styles.
Pot distilled gin represents the earliest style of gin, and is traditionally produced by pot distilling a fermented grain mash (malt wine) from barley or other grains, then redistilling it with flavouring botanicals to extract the aromatic compounds.
Column distilled gin evolved following the invention of the Coffey still, and is produced by first distilling high proof (e.g. 96% ABV) neutral spirits from a fermented mash or wash using a refluxing still such as a column still.
Compound gin is made by simply flavouring neutral spirits with essences or other “natural flavourings” without redistillation, and is not as highly regarded as distilled gin.
Coming soon – a directory of resources relating to creating Craft Gin