Gin has seen a recent resurgence in popularity with the emergence of boutique and handcrafted gins becoming a drink of choice for many. So why the sudden resurgence? The Gin craze is being driven by the craft movement, seeing the rise of coffee roasters, boutique gin bars, craft beer, breweries and markets which focus on artisanal, local and ethically produced products where the buyer can see and know the people crafting their drinks of choice. This personalised knowledge has inspired individuals to realise how each gin is unique.
What separates one gin from another is the distinctive botanical or mixes used. ‘Botanicals’ can be anything from spices and herbs to fruits, flowers and nuts. Essentially anything natural that will infuse flavour into the gin. These botanicals are added during the distillation process which helps to create a unique gin even between barrels. While the ingredients added to one type of gin may be the same each time, the ripeness, strength and freshness of the botanicals added all play a large role in how the gins flavour is impacted.
Created in Holland in the 17th century as a form of medicine, Gin was referred to as Genever meaning Juniper. This was created by distilling the juniper with botanicals including star anise and coriander seed with malt spirit. By the middle of the century it had become a phenomenon with over 400 distilleries in Amsterdam alone.
During the war where the British were fighting on Dutch land, the English soldiers discovered the 'Dutch Courage', named so because the Dutch soldiers were all given a Gin ration to drink before battle. Bringing it back to Britain, it spread like wildfire and by 1720, an estimated quarter of all London households were making their own Gin.
In 1857 when Britain took governance of India, the Brits used a bitter tasting liquid called quinine extracted from cinchona bark to ward off malaria. It was made into a tonic by dissolving it in water and adding sugar to sweeten it. In order to further help with the taste, Gin was added to the mixture and the Gin and Tonic was Born.
Gin Tip: You would need 67 litres of Gin and tonic a day to have a dose of quinine strong enough to prevent malaria so don't skip your malaria pills on your next trip!
Finding Your Perfect Gin
Gin’s recent surge in popularity has met the worldwide trend of artisan production, leading to an ever-expanding market of gins that show striking individuality. Each gin is affected by number of factors; however, region especially impacts the style of gin.
Bottles marked only as “Gin” can be flavoured in any way – even with essences, rather than raw botanicals – and are also known as “compound gins”, although you’ll rarely see this on a label.
Distilled gin can have new natural or artificial flavours that are added after redistillation. Distilled gins may also be sweetened or coloured.
Finding the right gin for you is simple – just use the taste profile or flavour guide created by GoodDrop to assist you.
Boutique Australian Gin may be a recent innovation, but they are taking the nation and albeit the world by storm. In the 1820s, a Gin craze swept the nation with imports of British and Dutch gins flooding the market. Now - Australia now makes some of the most popular gin brands globally. These gins capture the true Australian spirit. To sample Australian Gins, try The West Winds Broadside, launched in 2011 this gin was an award winner for the outset, winning a medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards.
The London Dry is one of the most popular and well-known styles of gin. If you’re looking for traditional or dry gins, British gins are the best style for you. London Dry Gin must be redistilled using traditional copper stills, made from natural botanicals. London dry is always unsweetened and juniper flavoured. Botanicals used in London Dry Gins include coriander, angelica seeds, orris root, almonds and liquorice, as well as lemon and orange peel. London dry is the leading style of gin today, with top brands remaining the standard-bearers for gin lovers everywhere. To sample try Tanqueray No. Ten or Hendricks Gin.
Whether it’s an unusual ingredient or specialty selected botanicals or a philosophy, handcrafted gins are all the rage currently especially in the gin bars popping up globally. Also known as contemporary” or “international” gins, this new wave includes Gins made with one-of-a-kind botanical combinations and hyper-local flavour profiles, as well as modern gins from New World countries such as the Japan and Australia. Try Nikka Coffey Gin or Whitley Neill Handcrafted Gins.
Sloe gin is more like a liqueur than a gin. It gets its colour from sloe berries (which taste a bit like tart plums) and is sweetened to bring out the fruit flavour. Sloe gins are great to sip neat or on ice so you can appreciate their richness and depth. They’re also a popular cocktail ingredient and can be used to make a fruity G&T. Try Gordon’s Sloe.