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Gin is made from a distillate from a fermented cereal mash to which juniper or blackthorn berries are added during the distillation process. The predominant taste of juniper berries is defined by law. Spices such as coriander seeds, angelica, dried lemon, lime or orange peel and iris are also used as additives. The diversity of herbs and spices is increasing. The EU has set 37.5% as the minimum alcohol content, in the United States it is 40%. The more alcohol the drink contains, the stronger the taste becomes. Common gin is not drunk much pure because of its dry taste. Gin with blackthorn berries is less dry.

The history of Gin

In the 11th century monks from Italy brewed bad spirits, the hardness of which was hidden by the use of juniper berries. In the following centuries, when the Black Death plagued Europe, this drink, which would later grow into genever and gin, was used as medicine. It will not have had much healing effect on the disease, but the alcohol had a somewhat narcotic effect.

In the Middle Ages, the Netherlands produced a drink that resembled gin. Professor Franciscus de Le Boë Sylvius made a spirit drink around 1650 and called it genius or genova. This means ‘juniper’, or: juniper. This soon became genever or gin. Gin is derived from genever. Distillates with herbs such as anise, coriander and caraway were initially intended as medicine, but were soon consumed for pleasure.

In Great Brittannië this has been further developed into an own British product; the gin. The English army of William of Orange (then ruler of the Netherlands) came into contact with gin in the 17th century, in the middle of the 80-year war against the Spaniards, in which they could use a little boost. The soothing and heart-strengthening glass of vóór the fights was given the pet name "Dutch Courage’; Hollandse Heldhaftigheid". The throne of England was conquered by William of Orange in 1688. He aimed for a higher production of alcohol-containing drinks and from that moment on gin could be made without a licence. The tax to import drinks increased enormously, which led to a huge production of a very poor quality gin; cheaply produced, made from lower quality raw materials and with a lot of juniper and sugar for a better taste. Gin was affordable for every trade fair. The control was completely lost and in 1720 the production was equal to half a litre of gin per Londoner, including young people and the elderly. Around 1740, half of all London's drinks rooms consisted of ‘gin shops’. Gin meant social and medical problems and unrest.

Around 1750 the British government got the abuse of gin under control by The Sale of Spirit Act 1750, also called the Gin Act 1750. Only the large distilleries were granted a distillation licence. This improved the quality. Slowly the less sweet variant was developed, and with the invention of the new equipment – the Coffey Still- (also called Continious of Patent Still), drinks of a better quality were produced. In this way the dry (unsweetened) style gins that we now know as London Dry Gin came into being. The very sweet Old Tom-gin with a strong juniper berry taste was the loser. It served to hide the hard taste of grain distillate. Gin grew from a farmer's drink to a respectable middle class drink.

At the end of the 19th century gin genever defeated the world, especially because the Americans preferred gin to genever. Americans are the world's first cocktail drinkers. Gin is easily mixable and was, vodka vodka vodka vodka, the most mixable bare spirit for cocktails. As the popularity of vodka increased in the 20th century, the use of gin declined. From the 80s onwards, however, gin slowly gained popularity again among cocktail drinkers. Since 2000, gin has been extremely popular again and the range is larger than ever.

Where is Gin made?

Gin does not come from a particular geographical area. The first gin species came from London; nowadays gin is produced all over the world. Spain is large in gin production, but also in the United States, Scotland, Scandinaviaë and even the Netherlands gin is produced.

Infusing gin

The infusion of gin ensures that new flavours and structures are created. An infusion is the infusion of flavours into liquids or solid products. The best known infusion is perhaps the drawing of tea leaves in warm water. This is also possible with gin. During infusion, flavourings are added to the distillate. The variation with infusions is endless, any desired taste can be added to liquid or solid product. Herbs and spices are often added to an infusion to create a certain taste. The taste of a component changes when herbs and spices are added, especially when infusion is used. When the odour molecules are exposed to other ingredients, air and heat, a series of chemical reactions begin. The original odour chemicals are converted into other substances, increasing the complexity of the infusion.

Juniper berries

Different kinds of Gin

There are 4 types of gin:

London Dry Gin or Plymouth Dry Gin

Although the name suggests otherwise, this gin does not have to come from London. It's about the way this gin is made. It is produced in the original way, whereby once is distilled, together with the addition of all ingredients. After this process only water is added.

Distilled Gin

Distilled Gin goes through the same process as London Dry Gin or Plymouth dry Gin, but Distilled Gin adds extra ingredients in the end. We know this variety as the original premium gins, where the gins are distilled again with for example orange or lime, or spices. It is also possible to infuse with rose petals or cucumber, for example.

Compound Gin

Compound Gin only states on the label that it is a gin. Often used as a private label of a supermarket or liquor store. Flavours and/or extracts are added to these gins, without being distilled with them. This way of production is cheaper.

Old Tom Gin

This strain is nowadays produced a bit more because of the comeback of gin and cocktails with gin. Old Tom gin is much sweeter than the classic gin, and is therefore ideally suited for cocktails.

Ultra Premium Gin

Ultra Premium Gin is a purer gin than the 4 other strains. Ultra Premium gin is distilled several times, making it purer than other types of gin.

Gin Tonic Glass

The difference between Gin and Genever

Simply, the similarity between gin and juniper is the juniper berry. The difference is in the type of alcohol. Gin must be made with neutral alcohol, gin with grain alcohol. Neutral alcohol is distilled to 96%, just like vodka. Jenever also consists of malt wine, which has a strong grain taste, comparable to whisky that has not yet matured.

This gives genever a more difficult character and makes it therefore less suitable as a mixed drink. Genever is usually drunk pure, both at room temperature and chilled. Gin is seasoned during distillation with many herbs, which makes the taste so specific, and is therefore very suitable for mixing. The difference between gin and gin is therefore very clear, both in taste and in use.

Gin Proeverij Tasting Collection

Gin Tasting Collection

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