Friday, August 7, 2009


Gin is a spirit flavoured with juniper berries. Distilled gin is made by redistilling white grain spirit which has been flavoured with juniper berries. Compound gin is made by flavouring neutral grain spirit with juniper berries without redistilling. The most common style of gin, typically used for mixed drinks, is London dry gin. London dry gin is made by taking a neutral grain spirit (usually produced in a column still) and redistilling after the botanicals are added. In addition to juniper, it is usually made with amounts of citrus botanicals like lemon and bitter orange peel.

Plymouth Gin
, the brand, like all gins claims to use a unique recipe, but "Plymouth" is a place designated type of gin, not just the actual brand name itself, and typically uses a subset of the botanicals above, similar to London dry gin. It has lemon and orange, angelica, anise, cardamom, coriander and Juniper. Distilled gin evolved from the Dutch spirits jonge- and oude- Jenever or Genever (young and old Dutch gin), Plymouth gin, and Old Tom gin. Sloe gin is a common ready-sweetened form of gin that is traditionally made by infusing sloes (the fruit of the blackthorn) in gin.

A well-made gin will be relatively dry compared to other spirits. Gin is often mixed in cocktails with sweeter ingredients like tonic water or vermouth to balance this dryness.

In London in the early eighteenth century, gin sold on the black market was prepared in illicit stills (of which there were 1500 in 1726) and was often adulterated with turpentine and sulfuric acid. As late as 1913 Webster's Dictionary states without further comment that 'Common gin is usually flavored with turpentine.'

The column still was invented in 1832, and the "London dry" style was developed later in the 19th century. In tropical British colonies, gin was used to mask the bitter flavour of quinine, a protection against malaria, which was dissolved in carbonated water to form tonic water. This was the origin of today's popular gin and tonic combination, even though it is not necessary for the majority of today's consumers of the drink. Quinine is still prescribed for malaria in many developing countries where more recent treatments are prohibitively expensive.

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