Gin like Whiskey and many other Medieval European liquors, were Alchemy inspired and Gin is one of the original Aqua vita or Eau De Vie, the Water of Life. Gin being a distilled alcohol that derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries, has an overall pine like taste and a strong citrus scent that come from several herbs and lime peels used throughout the process.
Gin comes in three basic styles based on the method of distillation and they are, pot distilled gin, column distilled gin and compound distilled gin, and on top of that there are stylistic and regional differences where the regulated different products are Gin, Distilled Gin and London Gin.
Gin is a produce where the botanicals are not redistilled in the spirit but are infused into a neutral grain spirit of agricultural origin.
Then there is Distilled Gin, which is obtained by redistilling ethanol of agricultural origin with all the traditional botanicals and a predominant juniper berry infusion and it is bottled at 37.5% ABV.
Note that Gin obtained by infusing botanicals and juniper berries in neutral spirit can’t be labeled as Distilled Gin.
Then finally there is London Gin or London Dry Gin, which is again a product of distillation of ethanol of agricultural origin with all the botanicals and juniper berries traditional Gin asks for and the resultant is a strong liquor at 70% ABV. London Gin doesn’t contain any added sweetening exceeding 0.1 grams of sugar per litre of the final product, nor can it have any added colourant or flavouring and for this lack of added sweetness, it’s known as the London Dry Gin.
Now why Gin has become so important in popular culture and has taken the centre stage in mixed drink making, has both a cultural and practical aspect to it.
Gin had been the spirit of choice of many American and European celebrities and literary and political figures, and because it brings to the palate something that Vodka doesn’t, the herbaceous flavour.
This makes it even more versatile than Vodka in a sense that the distinct flavourful taste yet the plain vodka like texture allows a more complex cocktail design, since it itself brings with it a touch of freshness, complexity and spice.