Whether it’s a summer’s day or winter’s night, a gin & tonic is rarely out of place, in fact you might go as far to say that it has become a staple among the drinking community; there’s even gin & tonic flavoured cupcakes or gin truffles for those non-drinkers. There is arguably a reason it has become so popular; it’s versatile, easy-drinking and low in calories but more interesting than a vodka, soda & lime. There’s pink gin, sloe gin, London dry gin, tropical gins, the list goes on, but did you know that Gin came from rather alternative beginnings? Discover 5 facts you didn’t know about gin below.
1. What is Gin?
Most of us recognize gin by its distinct flavor and aroma, but what is it exactly that gives gin its characteristics? The answer is juniper, a small, berry-like botanical.
This is what makes gin, well…gin. Gin can’t be called gin unless it has juniper in it. While there can and often are other ingredients in gin, and while you can’t always taste the juniper, the berry is the cornerstone of true gin.
2. Who invented Gin?
The English will argue that gin is our invention, the Dutch will argue the same; no-one knows for sure exactly who birthed it first, but the likelihood is, they came about around the same time in both countries and it is now so common all over the world that it no longer matters where it came from, more so that you can get hold of one in whatever bar you walk into.
3. How is Gin made?
Gin is now mostly made from a base of grain, such as wheat or barley, which is first fermented and then distilled.
4. What is Gin made of?
The main ingredient of Gin is Juniper berries, in fact it cannot be called gin without Juniper berries. This along with the addition of other herbs, plants and spices – known as aromatics, or botanicals – are added to the fermented grain mixture along with water until the alcohol level and balance of flavours meets the required (or desired) levels.
5. The History of Gin
It was British soldiers of the East India Company that used to combine gin with lime, sugar and tonic made from quinine. This made it the perfect accompaniment to the juniper and alcohol mixture the soldiers were drinking as the quinine is a treatment for malaria and juniper was seen as antiseptic and it made sense to pair the two probably making both elements more palatable in the process. And from there on the G&T was born.
Cocktails using gin other than the gin and tonic have also been used for their antifogmatic properties. The Corpse Reviver and more lately the Red Snapper (think Bloody Mary but with gin not vodka) were created to help cure hangovers or “revive corpses”.
Bolney Estate Gin
Bolney Estate Gin is a classic, dry English gin. Its vibrant freshness of lemon oil and fennel is delicately balanced with hints of bay and juniper. As richly scented as a country hedgerow, it has an earthy, floral depth and a spiciness on the nose and finish. It gives a natural zing to a G&T and a satisfying heart to any cocktail.