Gin

Gin is thought to be a British adaptation of the Dutch spirit genever, though the origins of both gin and genever are subject to debate. Gin is, in essence, a flavored vodka as it is in fact a neutral spirit with certain flavorings added to it, though gin distillers won’t thank you for saying that. The key, characteristic flavor of gin must be of juniper, and historically juniper has been an overwhelming component of the spirit. In recent years, distillers have moved to tempering the impact of juniper and pumping up other flavors in the bottle, sometimes resulting in a spirit that’s closer to a flavored vodka. In the European Union and some other places gin must be at least 75 proof, while in the U.S. it must be at least 80 proof. “Navy Strength” gins are often bottled at 114 proof. Today, numerous sub-styles of gin have emerged out of the classic London Dry, including a resurgence of the archaic Old Tom gin style, Plymouth gin (which is also a famous brand), and New Western (or New American) gin, which tends to push the flavor boundaries of the spirit. Aside from Plymouth gin, which must be produced in a specific town in England, these gins have no formal, legal definitions or requirements.

Top Gin Posts:

The Botanist Gin
Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Recipes for National Gin and Tonic Day

The Mystery of “Overproof” Gordon’s Gin

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2008 |

Reader Peter May writes: I’m not so sure about what you say about Gordon’s Gin (in the Vesper cocktail) and — I’m not saying you are wrong, but I’d just like to chew the fat on this if that’s OK . You mention about Gordon’s being reformulated from 94 to 80 proof. But are you…

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Review: Brave Spirits Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Gin

By Christopher Null | July 4, 2008 |

Want to celebrate Independence Day? Well, you can go to a parade, eat a hot dog, light some fireworks, or drink one of these liquors from Brave Spirits, four bottles designed specifically with “soldiers, marines, airmen, police officers, and firefighters” in mind. Presumably you can drink them even if you are not one of these…

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Classic Recipe: The Vesper

By Christopher Null | July 1, 2008 |

In 1953, Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale, and had James Bond invent his own drink, which he called the Vesper, after a character in the book. The drink made a new appearance in the previous Bond movie of the same name, with Daniel Craig rapid-firing the recipe to a waiter so quickly I’m amazed he…

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Review: Bluecoat American Dry Gin (2008)

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2008 |

A little primer for gin novices: Though there are numerous types of gin, but the vast majority sold is called London Dry Gin. Bluecoat is an American Dry Gin. The difference (putting aside their national origin) between London and American gin (not that there’s a lot of gin made here) is generally one of flavor.…

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Review: Whitley Neill London Dry Gin

By Christopher Null | June 4, 2008 |

For a spirit inextricably associated with England, how surprising it was to read on the bottle of Whitley Neill gin: “Inspired by Africa.” Apparently Mr. Neill’s (Johnny Neill, actually) wife is originally from Africa, which is why a baobab tree appears on the label and in the bottle, in the form of its fruit used…

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Review: New Amsterdam Gin

By Christopher Null | May 21, 2008 |

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam. However, New Amsterdam gin is made in good old Modesto, California (not Constantinople). It’s also a surprising twist on gin as you might know it now. Why they changed it, I can’t say. Maybe they like it better that way. OK, enough tomfoolery. New Amsterdam has the…

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Review: Plymouth Sloe Gin

By Christopher Null | April 18, 2008 |

Sloe Gin Fizzes were the first cocktail I mastered, but it’s been years since I’ve had one. No reason why, really. Sloe gin, a liqueur flavored with sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn tree, has hardly seen the renaissance that other spirits have in recent years. There hasn’t exactly been a clamoring for the…

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Review: G’Vine Floraison Gin (2007)

By Christopher Null | December 8, 2007 |

The name may sound like a gangsta rapper, but this premium gin isn’t something you’ll want to be mixing with OJ. Made in France and distilled from grapes, this is not your father’s Tanqueray. The juniper flavor, a requirement of all gins, is there, but it’s substantially mellowed in G’Vine. In fact it’s lemon peel…

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New Recipe: The (Indian) Summer Tonic

By Christopher Null | October 20, 2007 |

A friend was having heartburn so I mixed up this as a curative: Ginger ale, bitters, and aromatics are all good for the stomach. The other stuff just tastes good. The (Indian) Summer Tonic 1 oz. gin 3/4 oz. creme de cassis 1/2 oz. melon liquer (or Midori) 2 dashes orange bitters ginger ale Add…

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New Recipe: The B.B.C.

By Christopher Null | October 11, 2007 |

As part of my blueberry kick, and largely by happenstance, the good folks at Beefeater sent along some recipes for what they’re trying to kick off as “sharp’ners,” defined as “a London term for a quick, social drink that allows friends to connect without committing an entire evening.” The idea is that “getting a drink”…

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