gin guide

Ginopedia – The Marvels behind this Juniper Drink by Nikhil Agarwal

Ginopedia – The Marvels behind this Juniper Drink by Nikhil Agarwal

Gin is a colorless flavoured spirit made by using a variety of botanicals, one of which has to be Juniper.  The number of botanicals can vary as well from gin to gin with more used of some to get more of that flavour for example. To produce a gin, you need to first distill and arrive at a neutral spirit and then second to redistill with a selection of botanicals required based on the desired flavour and aroma profile In a sense, botanicals are like ingredients that the master distiller can play with to get the result he wants.

gin ingredients listgin ingredients list

Botanicals aside from Juniper can range from Coriander, Angelica Root, Cardamom, Aniseed, Pepper, Curry Leaves, Cinnamon, Citrus Peel, Orris Root, Nutmeg, Yuzu and many more. On a side note, no wonder India is doing so well with gin, we have a world of botanicals in our very own back yard to play with. Just makes so much sense.

To make a base spirit you can use everything from grapes to barley, grain and even corn. Very similar to making vodka. In fact, you could say that the base spirit for making gin is vodka. Vodka is neutral spirit which has been distilled again and again to make it as clean and pure as possible!

gin birthplacegin birthplace

You may associate the UK with the birthplace of gin. However, gin came to the UK via Holland where there was already a culture from many centuries of drinking Genever – a juniper heavy spirit. During the war, Dutch soldiers used to drink genever before going into battle, hence the term ‘Dutch courage’. The British army soon discovered the source of this courage and then brought it back with them to England to make and drink for themselves.

From there it spread like wild fire. This was primarily because, the newly crowned King of England who was partial to Genever and the passing of the Distilling Act in 1690, which allowed unlicensed production as well as application of high duties on French wine and Cognac that was hugely popular at the time. Naturally everyone wanted in and so gin was produced everywhere and sold at ridiculously low prices starting what was known as the Gin Craze. Not a good time in gin’s history. All that eventually of course stopped.

styles of ginstyles of gin

There are many styles of gin, some of the ones that we see commonly are –


  • London Dry – a dry gin that can be bade anywhere in the world unlike the name suggests
  • Plymouth – can only be made in Plymouth in England
  • New Wave - experimental stuff
  • Old Tom – slightly sweet on the palate and is the original gin for the good ole cocktail – Tom Collins: that your mommy and dad had just before they made you
  • Navy Strength – bottled at a fiendish 57% - hmmm
  • Flavoured Gin – gin made with botanicals of course but with added flavorings


Gin is clearly having its moment.  On a trip to Edinburgh a few years ago I saw more gins on the bar shelves than I did whisky! It’s so easy to produce, that a lot of whisky distilleries make gin. Think about it, they already produce a base spirit; all they have to do is distill again with botanicals and voila you have a gin. That too it can be sold immediately in the market without any ageing requirements so you can make a real quick buck.

delicious cocktails delicious cocktails

Gin is also great for cocktails and bar tenders across the globe use the many gins out there to come up with a range of delicious cocktails which further increases gin popularity. And then of course there is gin and tonic which is a whole different story. 


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