Brief Introduction to Gin

Gin is an alcoholic beverage that is distilled from grain; the liquor’s flavor is predominantly taken from the distillation of juniper berries. The term is an abbreviation of the term geneva, which in turn is a debasement of either the Dutch term junever or French term genièvre, both of which means “juniper”. The two major kinds of gin are the English or American variety (commonly labeled as dry gin or London gin) and the Dutch variety (commonly called Hollands or Geneva Schnapps).


The American variety is typically primed from grain alcohol that has been purified using a process called fractional distillation. The product of the purifying process is then blended with juniper berries and or other flavoring agents and substances. The purified and flavored alcoholic concoction undergoes one final distillation and is ultimately diluted to roughly 80 or 90 proof. The Dutch variety is primed in much the same method as dry gin, with the exception of the grain alcohol being less highly purified; hence it is able to keep hold of the flavor of the grain from which it was distilled.


Oftentimes, sugar syrup is added to the final product. Gin drinking has become a societal vice in Britain in the early 18th century when the beverage was so inexpensive that an individual could get “drunk for a penny” and “dead drunk for two pence”. Nonetheless, progressively heavy taxes were placed on gin, starting with the Gin Act of 1736. The alcoholic concoction is a popular beverage in the United States as well as the United Kingdom.



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