Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gin Basics

Bullet Points:

  • Gin is typically distilled twice through a column still and then a final time in a pot still with a myriad of botanicals including juniper, coriander, citrus, anise, cassia, angelica roots and many others. The recipe distillers use are closely guarded secrets.
  • The four styles of gin (with very few exceptions) are London Dry Gin, New Style Gin, Plymouth Gin, and Genever.
  • London Dry is not necessarily made in London but the style was certainly popularized and centralized around Great Britian. Juniper and citrus notes dominate this style. It is the benchmark gin in mixing.
  • New Style Gin or New American Gin is a very diverse and modern style of distilling gin.
  • Plymouth, England is home to a single distillery and distinctive style, called Plymouth Gin. It is lower alcohol content than London Dry but has a rich, earthy style that is unique.
  • Genever or Hollands gin is rarely produced outside of Holland. It has some yellowish color, may be distinctively sweet, in opposition to London Dry and can be powerful and oily. Made mostly from barley wine, it is more herbal and malty/grainy than fruity/spicy.

Principle Cocktails:

  • Dry Gin Martini
  • Aviation
  • Gin & Tonic
  • Martinez
  • Clover Club
  • Tom Collins
  • Gimlet

Popular brands:

  • Hendricks: Founded in 1999 in Ayrshire, Scotland. Uses a 19th century Carter-Head Still to infuse atypical gin ingredients like cucumber and rose petals.
  • Plymouth: A unique style of gin founded in 1793 in Plymouth, England is owned by Black Friars Distillery. The distillery dates back to 1431 when it was built as a monastery. All the of Plymouths gins are distilled using a single pot still.
  • Bols Genever: Founded 1575, Bols has been making genever in Holland since 1664, Genever fell out of style but was reintroduced to America in 2008 and continued to regain popularity amongst bartenders.
  • Martin Miller: An extravagant London Dry gin. Distilled in England and then “married” with Icelandic water for a clean and purely refreshing gin. The Westboro Strength expression yields a higher proof, giving bartenders more dexterity with mixing amazing Gin cocktails.
  • Tanqueray: Founded in 1830 by Charles Tanqueray, distilled in Scotland. According to legend it was Frank Sinatra’s favorite gin. In 2000, the brand released the first super-premium gin: Tanqueray No. 10.
  • Bombay Sapphire: A popular brand of gin, the name's suffix 'sapphire' is credited due to the spirit's popularity in India. A dryer expression called Bombay Dry Gin uses less botanicals (8 rather than 10) and is less seen than the Sapphire expression.
  • Aviation American Gin: A new gin first produced in 2006 out of Portland, Oregon. The brand is unique in that it is the first recognized distiller/bartender partnership in the U.S.
  • Beefeater: A popular London style of dry gin, with history reaching as far back as 1862. Made from "100% grain spirit" and flavored with 9 botanicals. A super-premium expression called Beefeater 24 was introduced in 2009 which contains several more exotic botanicals.

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