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Synonymous with British culture, Gin is now enjoyed worldwide and is most commonly drunk in a Gin and Tonic or a Martini. In essence, gin is a spirit with a predominant flavour of juniper berries, which account for its tangy, crispness and refreshing attributes.
There are various styles of gin with London Dry Gin being the most popular - Tanqueray and Beefeater are both notable London Dry Gins. Whilst Juniper must be the dominant flavour, other botanicals can be used to make gin, and there is no limit to what can be used – these often include anise, liquorice root, saffron, cinnamon, cassia bark and orris root. The term “gin” might derive from either the Dutch “jenever” or the French “genièvre” – both of which mean “juniper”.
Gin can be made with any neutral spirit, so production methods can vary greatly. It is how the spirit is flavoured that marks the difference between the various styles.
The two principal styles are Distilled Gin and Compound Gin. Distilled Gin is made by re-distilling neutral with the botanicals, whereas compound gin is made by simply steeping spirit in botanicals without re-distillation.
Another variant involves distilling spirit through a tray, or basket of botanicals.
Dutch gin, known as jenever or genever, is a distinctive style of gin, which must be at least partly distilled from barley malt in a pot still. The result is a gin which bares marked semblance to whisky.
Did you know?... ...The Gin and Tonic became a popular means of taking quinine (present in cinchona bark used to make tonic) to prevent malaria.