When you're putting together a home bar, it's important to have a variety of different drinks, from gin to rum to other liqueurs and more. If you want to be able to whip up a gin and tonic, negroni, or another drink with any type of gin in it, you're going to need to have some of the distilled alcoholic drink on hand.
But have you ever wondered about gin production? How do distillers go about making the popular spirit?
What Is Gin Made Out Of?
Gin started out as a medicinal liquor in Europe, particularly in Southern France and the Netherlands. It grew in popularity throughout England after the introduction of jenever, a Dutch and Belgian liquor.
Technically, to be considered a type of gin, the base spirit has to have some flavor of juniper in it. Juniper berries have a distinct flavor and any style of gin can't actually be called that without some juniper in it. In fact, some flavored gins should actually be called gin liqueurs due to the lack of juniper in their makeup.
Whole Juniper Berries
Gin starts out as a neutral spirit that is basically pure ethanol and is ultimately made by distilling malt or grain and infusing it with juniper or different botanicals or fruits. Other botanicals or ingredients sometimes used in the distillation process and gin production include coriander, angelica root, dried orange peels, cardamom, orris root, licorice, and cassia bark.
What Styles of Gin Are There?
Some people have a preferred style of gin. These can include London dry gin, (in which the flavor has to be introduced via re-distillation; popular brands include Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Gordon's), Old Tom gin, aged gins, Plymouth gin, genever, navy strength gin, and sloe gin, which first showed up in England in the 17th century.
You may have also heard of something called bathtub gin, but it's not what you may think. Bathtub gin was simply a homemade spirit generally made during Prohibition in the United States. It is not actually a distilled gin made in a bathing tub since an open bathtub would not have lent itself well to the distillation process.
Now that you know what gin is made from, maybe you'll enjoy that cocktail just a little bit more.