Drinking gin produces a myriad of refreshing sensations on the palette. Most notably, the mild hit of citrus paired against the sharpness of the tonic. The surroundings you drink your gin in plays a part in its enjoyment too – from relaxed evenings with friends to exquisite cocktails in a bar. There’s no celebration that doesn’t warrant the pouring of an ice-cold gin, so if it’s your tipple of choice you’re in the right place.
As any gin connoisseur will tell you, the full story covers far more than those precious few seconds as it hits the ice in your glass while it’s being poured. That’s because gin has a long history that has seen it refined from a wine like spirit hundreds of years ago, to the smooth beverage we’ve come to enjoy today.
In today’s post we will be answering the question, ‘What is gin made from?’ so you can learn more about this delicious drink for yourself.
A Brief History Of Gin
The origins of gin can be traced back as far as the 13th century when The Netherlands started brewing an alcoholic concoction known as the ‘genever’. Over time, the blend was refined from its original malt wine version into the crisp drink that we now associate it with. Gin was then discovered by the English in the late 16th century while fighting during the war. After which, English distillers began to make their own version, also shortening the name to ‘gin’ in the process.
During this time, it was actually the case that alcohol was seen as a healthier alternative to water, due to the poor drinking water that was the only other alternative. Gin’s low price also made it a popular tipple with the lower classes of London. In 1727, the city had 15,000 establishments that were all dedicated gin. In 1826, the drink was refined further still with the introduction of London Dry Gin.
The predominant ingredient of gin is juniper which is a type of berry which is found on the juniper tree. Juniper has a citrus taste which infuses into the gin during the production process. It grows across the world, however, Italian juniper berries are most commonly used for making gin. Juniper is just one of many botanicals that make up gin, with some varieties having as many as 50 different plants infused into the blend.
Other ingredients can include almonds, aniseed, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, violet root, and many more different botanicals. It is these ingredients that make gin so versatile, not least because every brand and indeed blend is made from a completely unique set of ingredients.
Another important point to note is that EU regulations state that in order to be called a gin, the spirit must have a minimum strength of 37.5% ABV when bottled.
How Gin Is Made
Gin is created by distilling fermented grain along with a number of botanicals, most notably including juniper berries. The production process is similar to whisky and vodka, however, the main differences between the two are that gin is made by distilling malt or grain before being mixed with botanicals. On the flip side, vodka uses potatoes, rye and wheat during the distillation process.
During the distilling process, gin can either be boiled with the grain spirit or in the case of Bombay Sapphire, use water instead. The alcoholic steam then rises up through pipes where it passes through perforated copper baskets. These baskets also contain the dry botanics, which are expertly curated to make each brand of gin.
This process is known as vapour infusion. It involves the baskets being lowered into chambers, where they are steamed. The contents of the baskets are infused into the gin for several hours. The steam produced is cooled down in a condenser, and turned back into liquid form. At this point, the gin is around 80% ABV which would be far too strong to drink. So water is added to bring the alcohol content down.
The finished product is then bottled and distributed before it eventually ends up filing the glasses of many a gin enthusiast. In total, it’s estimated one billion gin and tonics are consumed in the UK alone every year.
Try It For Yourself
We hope you’ve found the above guide on what is gin made from insightful. It’s no exaggeration when we say there are endless flavours and tastes to discover with gin. From classic gins to flavoured ones, and even the more recent introduction of pink gin, there really is something to please all palettes with this spirit.
If you are ready to try some gin for yourself, then you are in the right place! Here at Bring Me Drink we sell a wide variety of gins. This includes classic brands such as Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks, as well as flavoured and craft varieties. Best of all, you can order single bottles or bulk straight to your door! Be sure to browse our complete gin collection, and leave us a comment below to let us know your favourite way to drink this refreshing tipple.