Gin is arguably the most distinctive yet widely enjoyed spirit in the world right now and it’s been on a self-discovery and refinement for over 500 years. And now well into the 21st Century, we are certainly witnessing a truly global Gin boom. From heritage brands such as Tanqueray found in hotel bars worldwide to sachets of Gin consumed neat on streets of Nigeria, and with new craft distillers from Goa exploring indigenous botanicals, Gin is seriously growing big
So what exactly is Gin?
In simple terms, a spirit that has the predominant flavor of Juniper Berries. If the distillation doesn’t have juniper, or doesn’t have enough juniper, it is just a weird, flavored vodka. However, this Juniper is supported by other botanicals like spices, leaves, fruits, flowers etc.
How is Gin Made?
Malt Distillate, Juniper Berries and from there it’s a matter of taste & creativity in terms of what botanicals you’d use to flavor your Gin – cucumber, Oranges, chamomile, spices, etc. Juniper is the most crucial element because it creates a beautiful aromatic canvas for all other botanical flavors.
Different Types of Gin:
- London Dry Gin: It’s mere a process of Gin making and has nothing to do with flavor or where it comes from. It has strict regulations about the way it’s made. They are typically very dry, heavily juniper flavored, light in body, and aromatic. Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire and Beefeater are some of the brands that are London Dry and these Gins are great for classic martinis, Gin & Tonics and other cocktails.
- Plymouth Gin: This should be made in PLYMOUTH region of England in order to be called as Plymouth Gin. Infused with more roots, this style of Gin has an earthier flavor with softer juniper notes than other styles. There is currently only brand of Plymouth Gin and its called Plymouth. This Gin can be used anywhere a London Dry Gin is used.
- Bath Tub Gin: Was popular during Prohibition Era especially in speak easies where Gin was made at home by infusing grain spirit with spices. BATHTUBS were literally used for that purpose and hence the name.
- Genever or Dutch Gin : Very different in its taste and color. While most Gins use a combination of Cereal grains, Genever is made from Malt grains and hence the dark color and flavor similar to light bodied whiskey.
- Old Tom Gin: Sweeter cousin of London DRY Gin that was made to cover up the bad taste of Poor Quality Alcohol. Old Tom Gin is most famously used in the Tom Collins Cocktails.
- New American or International Style Gin : Everything else other than above.
- Sloe Gin : A flavored Gin that uses sloe or blackthorn, berries, along with sugar. Almost like a liqueur
Gin’s Connect to India?
While Gin & Tonic is the most popular drink in the world right now, did you know that it was actually invented in India? Sometime in the early 19th Century – masses of people were affected by malaria and the only cure they found was to consume quinine. The problem was that this quinine was disgusting, so they had to find a way to make it drinkable, and the most common drink at the time in England was Gin. So, by adding to the quinine infusion a little Gin and a little lime juice, British colonials gave birth to the legendary Gin & Tonic.
Gin’s Growing Popularity:
Gin was the most popular drink 200 years ago, then it lost popularity to whisky and then vodka. However now well into the 21st Century, Gin is witnessing a truly global boom. In 2017 a whopping 43 million bottles of Gin were sold in the UK alone and there are now over 100 Gin-makers in the nation – compared to just 37 in 2010
Gin in India :
The Craft Gin revolution around the world took India by storm too. And thanks to the popular demand, what earlier was the tiniest section on the bar menu now has a wide selection of global and home grown craft Indian Gins – Jaisalmer, Stranger & Sons, Greater Than and Hapusa