Gin is a type of liquor that has a main flavour profile that is derived from juniper berries. It has a very wide number of spirits each from different regions, unique flavours and styles. However, all the flavours revolve around the juniper berries. Gin was developed from jenever which was an older Dutch liquor.

Categories of Gin

Juniper-flavoured spirit drinks-this is a type of gin that is produced using the pot distilling process. A certain grain that is already fermented is distilled to about 68% ABV. It is then redistilled a process that removes the aroma and it is then bottled with at least 30% ABV.
Gin-it is made by adding some natural flavours to a neutral spirit. This spirit must be of agricultural origin and the final flavour of the drink has to be juniper.
Distilled Gin-the distilling process takes place in stills that are used traditionally for gin. Ethanol (which is of an agricultural origin) is redistilled to a 96% ABV using juniper berries. This makes juniper the main flavour of the drink.
London Gin-the type of ethanol used to produce this drink has to have methanol content that does not exceed five grams for a 100% ABV. It goes through a re-distillation process in stills that are traditional resulting into a 70% ABV.

How Gin is Produced

There are many methods that are used in the production of gin. There has been an evolution of the production methods since the old time methods to more modernized methods. Apart from juniper, some flavours that are used include: bitter orange peel, lemon with addition of some spices. The main determinant of production is the flavours used and the distillation process. There are three main methods of gin production:

  • Pot distilled gin - this is the oldest brand of gin. Fermented malt wine which is obtained from either barley or any other grain is pot distilled and later redistilled using some flavours to give the drink the specific aromas. This produces a tasteless alcohol which is more like vodka. A double gin can also be produced in this same way only that it needs more flavour botanicals. It is then aged in wooden casks or tanks. The alcohol content of this type of drink is usually around 68% or 78% for the double gin.
  • Column distilled gin - this method distils a neutral spirit from a fermented mash. The spirit should have a 96% ABV and it is obtained from grapes, sugar beets or sugar cane. It is the re-distilled using juniper berries and other flavours. The gin made from this method has a lower flavour compared to the pot distilled gin.
  • Compound gin - this is a process that does not redistill the components. Neutral spirits are usually added some natural flavours and then distilled.

How to Taste Gin

For you to appreciate gin, you have to taste it like a professional. Discovering the taste and flavours of gin might be difficult but if you learn to do it in the right way, it will be fun and you will be able to pick up different smells and tastes. This is a guide on how to taste gin:
You can decide to start with a single gin or several gins to compare them.
The glasses used are many starting from a rock glass to a stemmed glass. The rock glass ensures more air circulation hence picking up the smell is very easy while a stemmed glass captures all the aroma of the drink. Keep it in mind that temperatures affect the flavours and aromas of the drink. As you begin the tasting, do not use tonic, ice or garnish. After pouring the gin into your glass, swirl it a little bit holding the glass three to four inches from your face breathe in gently. That first smell you pick up is the main aroma of the drink.
As for the taste, take a small sip then let it rest for some time on your tongue. Think about how it tastes as you move it around your mouth and swallow it slowly. You can do this again and note if there are more flavours with every different taste.
Now, you can choose to dilute your gin using some plain water starting with a drop as you slowly add more until you get the required results. Mixing gin and tonic is recommended but as you do so you should try and avoid over-diluting the gin. For tasting, it’s advisable to do one part of gin to two parts of tonic.

Recommended brands of gin

Whether you are a beginner or a gin lover, there are some of the top best bottles of gin that you should add to your must-try list. Some of them include: Beefeater London Dry Gin, Aviation Gin and Martin Miller’s Gin. These are just some of the amazing gins among so many others.