Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage that derives its predominant flavor from juniper berries (Juniperus communis). Here are some key characteristics and aspects of gin:

Ingredients and Flavors

  • Juniper Berries: The defining botanical, imparting a pine-like flavor and aroma.
  • Botanicals: Additional botanicals often include coriander, angelica root, citrus peel, orris root, licorice, cinnamon, almond, and various other herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits. These botanicals give gin its complex and varied flavor profile.
  • Neutral Spirit: Gin starts with a neutral spirit, which is usually made from grains like barley, corn, or wheat. The spirit is distilled to a high proof before botanicals are added.

Production Process

  1. Distillation: The neutral spirit is redistilled with juniper berries and other botanicals. This can be done using various methods:
    • Pot Distillation: Traditional method using a pot still.
    • Column Distillation: More modern and efficient, often used for higher purity.
    • Vapor Infusion: Botanicals are placed in a basket, and the spirit vapor passes through them, extracting flavors.
    • Cold Compounding: Infusing the botanicals into the spirit without additional distillation (sometimes considered a lower-quality method).
  2. Blending and Dilution: After distillation, the gin is diluted with water to the desired bottling strength, typically around 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), but it can range from 37.5% to over 50% ABV.

Types of Gin

  • London Dry Gin: Known for its juniper-forward profile, no artificial flavors or colors are allowed, and no sweetening beyond a tiny amount (if any).
  • Plymouth Gin: A geographically protected style, slightly sweeter and more earthy than London Dry.
  • Old Tom Gin: A sweeter style of gin, historically popular in the 18th century, now making a comeback.
  • Genever: The Dutch predecessor to gin, maltier and more robust, often aged in barrels.
  • New Western or Contemporary Gin: Emphasizes botanicals other than juniper, resulting in a more balanced or even experimental flavor profile.

Serving and Cocktails

  • Classic Cocktails: Gin is the base for many classic cocktails, such as the Martini, Negroni, Gimlet, and Tom Collins.
  • Gin and Tonic: A popular and refreshing way to enjoy gin, often garnished with lime, lemon, or other botanicals.
  • Craft Cocktails: Modern mixology has embraced gin for its versatility and complex flavor, leading to innovative new cocktails.


  • Origins: Gin originated in the Netherlands in the 16th century as Genever, a medicinal liquor. It became popular in England after William of Orange, a Dutch prince, became King of England.
  • Gin Craze: In the early 18th century, gin became extremely popular in England, leading to a period known as the “Gin Craze,” characterized by widespread consumption and social problems. This led to regulations and reforms in gin production and sales.
  • Modern Revival: In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in gin, driven by the craft spirits movement and a renewed appreciation for classic cocktails.

Key Characteristics

  • Aroma: Typically piney, herbal, and citrusy, with variations based on the specific botanicals used.
  • Taste: Clean and crisp, with a dominant juniper flavor complemented by a complex mix of other botanicals.
  • Appearance: Usually clear, though some modern gins are colored by botanicals or aging processes.

Gin’s versatility and rich history make it a beloved spirit in both classic and contemporary drinking culture.

Image from Wikipedia