As the world is going Gin-crazy and new Gin brands pop up every week we take a look at what it actually is and how it is made.
To be called a Gin, the spirit must have a predominant flavour of Juniper. However, since there is no ruling body to regulate, this is largely subjective.
Let's start at the beginning then: While many might believe it has its origins in Britain – perhaps due to the classic London Dry Gin moniker – the spirit originally came to Europe via Holland. The name ‘gin’ in fact is the English translation of the Dutch word ‘jenever’.
Different Gin Styles
There is a number of different Gin styles and classifications; London Dry Gin, (which is governed by a number of EU regulations such as only using a pure grain spirit and natural botanicals, the flavour of which can only be introduced via re-distillation), to the sweeter Old Tom Gin and finally, to Aged Gins matured in wood barrels.
Any Gin starts life as a neutral spirit, often grain-based or in some cases sugar cane). Flavours are added through a process called re-distillation.
Methods of distillation
There are many different methods of distillation, each of which can be used to create different flavours of Gin. The two most common forms for extracting flavours from botanicals that make each Gin taste differently are:
STEEPING OF THE BOTANICALS
This traditional method is when the base spirit is placed in a pot still (a vessel which holds the liquid and can be heated), along with the juniper berries and other botanicals. These can be steeped for as long as 48 hours, although some producers will distill the liquid almost immediately. Once completed, water is added to reduce the distillate to bottling strength.
To make things more complex some producers distill every steeped botanical base spirit separately to blend them together later for the final flavour profile.
VAPOUR INFUSION OF THE BOTANICALS
In this process, the botanicals never come into direct contact with the neutral base spirit. Instead, they’re placed into baskets in the still, above the base spirit, which when boiled, vaporises and rises up and infuses with the botanicals. The infused vapour then condenses into a liquid, and finally, water is added to reduce the alcohol to its bottled strength. This method is said to give a more gentle flavour to the spirit,
THE ABOVE TWO METHODS CAN ALSO BE COMBINED
So while some botanicals are steeped, others will be placed at the top of the still to infuse the vapours. Some distillers use separate stills (one for steeping botanicals for 24 hours before boiling, and one for vapour infusion of different botanicals) and then combines the distillates for the final blend.
Every Gin has its unique recipe
It’s not just the way in which the botanical flavours make their way into a Gin which affects its flavour. Every Gin is made to a specific recipe, with a specific number and weight of botanicals.
While the flavour of one batch made by steeping and boiling will be totally different to one made using the vapour infusion method, even using the same method, and the same botanicals, can have different results.
It’s the job of a distiller to ensure that the botanicals used in a Gin are treated in a way which results in the same flavoured end product, despite, for example, using different crops of berries, seeds and herbs over the course of a brand’s lifetime.
Variances in a single batch of juniper berries will occur naturally, so it’s up to the distiller to taste a number of samples from each botanical crop in order to ensure consistency in flavour.
Enjoy your Gin
The next time you are drinking a Gin, think about all the individual botanicals which have made it into your glass and think about the method used to create it, taste and enjoy the different flavours of this versatile spirit!
Try your gin in our cocktail of the month
Source: content is taken from articles originally published by flaviar.com, with additions and partially shortened for clarity, and metro.co.uk
East London Premium Gin Batch 1
East London Premium Gin Batch No. 1 is distilled from 100% British wheat spirit, infused with the finest botanicals, juniper berries, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit peel, and cubeb berries, with a quintessentially British note added by the inclusion of Darjeeling tea.
Batch No. 1, bottled at 45%, is hand crafted for the discerning palette and is distilled in East London Liquor Company's hand built Arnold Holstein still to ensure a perfect balanced flavour profile.
700 ml / 45% abv
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