Gin may be your favourite Saturday night drink especially mixed with tonic.
Beefeater has been your go-to Gin for many years nevertheless, with today’s offer expanding at the speed of light week after week you’re starting to get curious and wondering which one to choose?
Gin has also a long and rough story to tell. Let’s share some of it with you along with the basics to enrich your experience.
1- What is Gin and what makes it different from Vodka?
Photo by Chan Walrus from Pexels
Gin is made from a neutral spirit distilled with botanicals, the key one being juniper.
Juniper looks like a berry as you can see in the picture above and has a piny kind of smell, similar to the beautiful tree we love having around in our homes at Christmas.
It is a grain spirit in most cases (made from wheat) and only a few are made from molasses.
2- A very old drink used for healing purposes
Photo by uroburos from Pixabay
Juniper has been used medicinally for centuries. The Egyptian and Chinese liked to put it in alcohol as they knew it was good for their health and enjoy its taste.
In the 14th century, the berries were known as a great cure for stomach problems and effective against the black death, a disease spread across Europe.
3- Contrary to what you may think, Gin is not English but a Dutch speciality
Photo by Kevin Ludwig from Flickr
The drink that started it all is genever. One of Gin’s earliest incarnations, the original Dutch gin.
Whisky-like drink, made from what was called malt wine, a mixture or mash of corn, barley and wheat. Deadly rich quality with juniper added into it.
During the 13 years war, the English were over in Holland helping their cousins fight. They would sip a little dram of genever that they would call «the dutch courage» to keep a little bit of strength.
4- The dark side of gin: the gin craze in London
“Gin Lane by William Hogarth” printed in 1751 from Wikimedia Commons
Gin was popularized in England after the accession of William of Orange in 1688. Between 1684 to 1710 Gin production rose by 400 per cent.
In 1720, 90 per cent of English spirits were being distilled in London and sold by anyone. 12 million litres of raw spirit was being distilled in a city of 600,000 people, equivalent of everyone drinking 1/2 litre of Gin a week!
We can tell that the first half of the 18th century in England was a masterclass on how NOT to control spirits consumption! Never again would the city of London be as consistently intoxicated as it was between 1720 and 1751.
It was made with moonshine using everything that would cover the flavours like deadly oil, vitriol or turpentine.
It was killing people. Especially the poor of London, trying to escape their reality so they couldn’t stop drinking gin. They just couldn’t handle it, falling down and dying in the street as William Hogarth depicted it so well with Gin Lane issued in 1751.
The accompanying poem printed in the first issue of Gin Lane will make your spin shivering…
- Gin, cursed Fiend, with Fury fraught,
- Makes human Race a Prey.
- It enters by a deadly Draught
- And steals our Life away.
- Virtue and Truth, driv’n to Despair
- Its Rage compells to fly,
- But cherishes with hellish Care
- Theft, Murder, Perjury.
- Damned Cup! that on the Vitals preys
- That liquid Fire contains,
- Which Madness to the heart conveys,
- And rolls it thro’ the Veins.
5- What makes London Dry Gin different from the others
“Gin and Tonic with ingredients” from Wikimedia Commons
It is a style of distilled gin that has stricter production regulations.
- The flavours must come from botanicals added during redistillation.
- Water and a minute amount of sugar are the only ingredients permitted after redistillation.
- The predominant flavour must be juniper.
- It must be bottled at a minimum strength of 37.5% ABV.
Modern Gins are using everything from rose petals to cucumber, to camomille, to indigenous herbs and spices. The sky is the limit today. Some even age it in barrels.
6- The Classic Gin Martini, a unique recipe to make at least once in your life.
Photo by Don LaVange from Flickr
The classic Gin Martini is a very simple cocktail made with only two ingredients Gin and dry Vermouth.
Below is the recipe of Mr. Cipriani, founder’son of the famous Harrys Bar in Venice, Italy.
- 2 oz of gin.
- 2 oz of vermouth into the gin bottle.
- Cap the bottle back again and turn it over a couple of times.
- Store it in the freezer.
- When the temperature of the bottle reaches 0 Fahrenheit, the Martini is ready to be served.
- Fill one frozen glass, close your eyes and try it. You are tasting the best Martini of your life.
7- One great find, an artisanal gin from France that will change the way you look at Gin.
Created by a producer of Calvados, Normindia Gin, for Normandie and India, was released in the fall last year.
After having spent a few months travelling in India, Pierre came back at the distillery with many ideas to craft its own spirit. He found in an old family book dated from 1765 called “La Chymie du Goût et de l’Odorat” a recipe of a Juniper distillate approved by Louis XV – King of France.
With this recipe at hand, he started to work with a team of chemist, oenologist and master distiller on creating what is Normindia Gin Today. After several macerations and micro-distillations, the gin was born.
Fresh and Spicy you will want to drink it straight just for the pure joy of it. It will give you time to really enjoy its aromatic complexity.
To be enjoyed straight or on the rock with an orange peel.
Gin is wild, wide and has a lot to tell. I will for sure come back to it in the future.
Try Normindia Gin or the Classic Gin Martini this week and share what you’ve learnt today with your friends.
Are you a Gin lover? Would love to hear what you have to say ! Share with us in the comments below.
Until next time, Cheers!