EXPLORING THE GROWING WORLD OF GIN
THE HISTORY OF GIN
Gin starts its production in a similar way as Vodka, but to be known as a Gin the distilled liquid must undergo a flavoring process. Gin has to have a dominant flavor of juniper, a small blackberry common in Europe, with Dutch origins.
During the 16th century, English soldiers fought side by side with Dutch soldiers in the 30 Years’ War, sampling Genever for the first time. The distinctive smell and taste of Genever led to herbs being added to ease the palate on consumption. A swig of the spirit before battle to steady the nerves spawned to the phrase "Dutch Courage".
Production of Gin changed dramatically in the mid-18th century when “Old Tom” Gin, a sweetened corn spirit, was being created in large, unsolicited volumes across Britain. Laws were passed granting only a small group of large Gin producers the legal right to distil the spirit and by 1803, only 9 producers of Gin attributed to 90% of London distilling capacity.
As time passed, production methods began to progress. The introduction of the Coffey stills and higher quality base spirit led to the image of Gin drastically improving. At its height it was declared as the English national drink and export to the US began to thrive; bartenders saw this as a light, clear spirit perfect for use in a new social drinking craze called the cocktail! Until the 1960s Gin was king of the clear liquid, but in spectacular fashion it was knocked off the throne. Vodka was sweeping Europe and the US due to its almost odorless smell and delicate taste.
In the late 20th century, with its sense of heritage and taste complexity inspiring bartenders to get creative and develop new serves, Gin started its comeback. Brands such as Tanqueray No. TEN Gin emerged showcasing style, brand ability and sophistication and, most importantly, a lighter, more delicate flavor, which appealed to the modern drinker.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE LIQUID
Gin is one of the most versatile spirits, so much so that you might see it being labeled and referred to differently.
Gin has four different subcategories:
Juniper-flavored Spirit Drinks—Must be made from 96% ABV spirit or grain spirit and have a discernable juniper character. Natural or nature-identical flavorings may be used. Must have a minimum bottling strength of 30% ABV.
Gin—Must be made from 96% ABV highly rectified spirit and have a discernible juniper character. Natural or nature-identical flavorings may be used. Must have a minimum bottling strength of 37.5% ABV.
Distilled Gin—Made by redistilling a 96% ABV highly rectified spirit with juniper berries and other botanicals. Natural or nature-identical flavorings may be added. Prepared for bottling with the addition of highly rectified spirit or water. It must taste predominantly of juniper and have a minimum bottling strength of 37.5% ABV.
London Dry/ London Gin—This is identical to a distilled Gin except that no flavorings or sweeteners can be added to the distillate. There is no geographical delimitation for London Dry Gin.
GIN IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The 21st century has brought many changes to Gin:
- Gin Got a Passport—In recent years, Gin has managed to expand from being a traditional British spirit to a worldly, well-traveled spirit taking inspiration from the various regions and cultures.
- Garnishes Got Interesting—Complementing this spring of new and fresh botanicals are unique garnishes. The lemon and lime wedge or wheel have a run for their money with rosemary, apple, cucumber and cherries now prominent in the bartender's guide to Gin & Tonic development.
- The Rise of Craft Liquids—The explosion of herbs, vegetables, fruits and spices now being included in the flavoring of Gin has set this category ablaze and started a new defining era for the spirit.
The level of innovation and the endless variation of provincial botanicals culminate in an explosion of different flavors influenced by tradition, locality and ritual.
WORLD GIN DAY
On World Gin Day, we rejoice in the wonderful history of Gin. We pay homage to this humble spirit and give thanks to the pioneers over the past four hundred years who have been the custodians of the category’s liquid legacy. We look forward to what the next 400 years of Gin production will bring.
Happy World Gin Day to you all.
GORDON'S GIN & TONIC
The original G&T, we recommend mastering this serve before experimenting with the rest of the Gin category.
- 1.75 oz. GORDON’S Gin
- 5 oz. premium tonic water
Fill a highball glass to the top with fresh ice cubes.
Pour Gin over the ice and top with tonic.
Squeeze in a wedge of lime before dropping it in, then give your G&T a final stir.
THE GORDON’S RUBY COOLER
- 1.75 oz. GORDON’S Gin
- 3.5 oz. cranberry juice
- Ginger ale to top up
- Cranberries for garnish
Fill a highball glass with lots of ice.
Pour in the Gin and cranberry juice, then top up with ginger ale.
For the finishing touch, garnish with fresh cranberries (or a wedge of lime).
(*One standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol)
The GORDON’S and TANQUERAY words and associated logos are trademarks ©Diageo 2016.