This cereal-based alcohol (malted barley, wheat, rye, oats sometimes) flavored with juniper berries is manufactured mainly in England, Holland and USA.
Gin was invented in 1550 under the name of Genever, by the physician Franciscus Sylvius in Netherlands.
This alcohol was initially a medicinal drink to which was added juniper berries, known to relieve diseases of the kidneys in order to cure lumbago.
Gin titrated then about 40 degrees, which was less than other grain alcohol at the time.
Around the middle of the eighteenth century, gin is spreading internationally thanks to the Holland export power which had the largest fleet of commercial vessels.
The UK quickly became one of the main destination of the alcohol (since 1575), so much that the consumption of gin in England rose from 1.893 million liters per year in 1690 to 22.71 million liters in 1729!
In 1736, the production of gin has significantly slowed down due to increased taxes and restrictions on the sale. It is in 1742 that this restrictive law is abolished, as the result of riots and a growing black market.
In those years the annual consumption of gin has reached 20 million gallons.
In the early nineteenth century, Gin, nobler, changes its taste, aroma fade and it becomes less sweet and more dry.
Gin is a brandy made from cereals. Indeed, it is usually the result of aromatization, mainly made of juniper berry, of a grain brandy . These add flavor to a neutral alcohol.
The manufacture of Gin starts with fermenting a cereal (barley, rye and corn).
Barley is immersed in a large tank for seven days of germination: the grain develops an enzyme, the diastase, which converts starch into malt sugar.
Grains are sorted to keep only the highest quality and then dried for approximately 10 hours in burning charcoal. This gives the barley malt.
Malted barley, corn and rye are then subjected to fermentation in order to obtain yeast and alcohol.
At this stage the British Gin, undergoes a significant correction to remove its aromatic characteristics. This produces a very pure and tasteless alcohol.
Dutch gin does not undergo any correction.
The major difference between British Gin and Dutch Gin is the distinctive taste of malt found in the Dutch Gin. It is usually consumed alone or on ice.
The yeasts are removed and the remaining dough is generally subjected to three different distillations.
The London Dry Gin, the most famous, comes from a double distillation.
The distillation is done in the presence of different herbs, mostly juniper, but also coriander, citrus, angelica, etc... depending on Gins (the techniques of addition vary from a distiller to another).
The taste of Gin may be altered depending on the product used, particularly the quality of juniper berries.
The different types of Gins
There are essentially two types of Gins.
Bombay's Sapphire, Beefeater, Gordon's, London Hill, Old Lady's, Booth's, Gibson's
Bowls, De Kuyper, Genever, Schiedam
The major difference between British Gin and Dutch Gin is the distinctive taste of malt contained in the Dutch one.
There are also some different Gins not belonging to the Dry Gin category. The main ones are the Old Tom Gin sweetened by direct addition of sugar, Plymouth Gin, a gin located between Dry Gin and the Dutch Gin, and finally the Yellow Gin which is aged in barrels, giving it a golden tint. Indeed, most other Gins do not need aging.
Gin Based Cocktails
Because of its very dry taste, the Gin is rarely consumed alone. It is often accompanied by a Tonic and some lemon, but it is also included in the composition of many cocktails. Here are some of them:
• Gin Tonic: 4cl Gin, Tonic
• Gin Fizz: 4cl Gin, lemon juice, 2cl cane syrup, 12cl sparkling water, 6cl
• Gin Sling: 1.5cl cherry liquor, soda water, 4.5cl Gin
• Jasmine: 3cl Gin, 2cl Triple Sec, 1cl Campari, 2cl lemon juice
• Water Lily: 3cl Gin, 2cl Triple Sec, 2cl crème de violette, 2cl lemon juice
• Society: 4cl Gin, 2cl white Martini, 1cl Grenadine