Unlocking the Art of Gin: From Distillation to Sip-Worthy Cocktails

What is gin and how is it made?

Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is flavoured with various botanicals, mainly juniper berries. The word “gin” comes from the Dutch word “jenever”, which means “juniper”. Gin can be made from different base spirits, such as grain, grape, or molasses, but they all have to go through a process of distillation and infusion.

Distillation is the process of separating the alcohol from the water and other impurities in the base spirit. There are two main methods of distillation: pot still and column still. Pot still is the traditional method that involves heating the base spirit in a copper pot and collecting the vapours that rise and condense in a coil. Column still is a more modern method that uses a tall column with plates or trays to separate the alcohol at different levels of purity.

Comparision of Traditional Gin Still and Modern Column Still

Infusion is the process of adding flavour to the distilled spirit by steeping it with various botanicals. There are also two main methods of infusion: maceration and vapor infusion. Maceration is the method of soaking the botanicals in the spirit for a period of time, usually between 24 hours and several weeks. Vapor infusion is the method of passing the spirit through a basket or chamber filled with botanicals, allowing the vapours to pick up their flavour.


What are the different types of gin?

There are many different types of gin, each with its own style and flavour profile. Here are some of the most common ones:
  • London Dry Gin: This is the most popular and widely available type of gin. It is made with a neutral grain spirit and flavoured with juniper and other botanicals, such as coriander, angelica, citrus peel, and orris root. It is dry, crisp, and aromatic, and it is perfect for mixing in classic cocktails like martinis and gin and tonics.

  • Plymouth Gin: This is a type of gin that can only be made in Plymouth, England. It is similar to London Dry Gin, but it has a slightly sweeter and earthier taste due to the use of more root botanicals, such as liquorice and cardamom. It is smooth and balanced, and it goes well with vermouth or fruit juices.

  • Old Tom Gin: This is a type of gin that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is sweeter than London Dry Gin, due to the addition of sugar or other sweeteners, such as honey or liquorice. It has a rich and mellow flavour, and it is often used in vintage cocktails like Tom Collins and Martinez.

  • Genever: This is the original type of gin that originated in Holland in the 16th century. It is made with a malted grain spirit that gives it a fuller and more complex flavour than other types of gin. It has a malty and herbal taste, and it is usually served neat or on the rocks.

  • New Western Gin: This is a type of gin that emerged in the 21st century as a result of experimentation and innovation by craft distillers. It is made with a variety of base spirits and botanicals, often using local or exotic ingredients that deviate from the traditional juniper-dominated flavour. It has a diverse and creative flavour profile, ranging from floral to spicy to fruity. (Tasmanian Gin Kit Gins are an example of New Western Gin with our unique blend of flavours using local Tasmanian ingredients like pepper berries, wattle seed and lemon myrtle.)

Make your very own New Western Gin with a tasty Tasmanian Gin Kit at home today. Click the image to find out more. 

    What are some of the best ways to enjoy gin?

    Gin is a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy gin according to a gin expert:

    • Neat: This is the simplest way to enjoy gin, especially if you want to appreciate its pure flavour and aroma. Just pour some gin into a glass and sip it slowly. You can also add some ice or water if you prefer it chilled or diluted.
    • With tonic: This is the most classic way to enjoy gin, and also one of the most refreshing. Just mix some gin with tonic water in a glass with ice and garnish it with a slice of lime or lemon. You can also experiment with different tonics and garnishes to suit your taste. The botanicals in gin pair beautifully with the quinine in tonic, creating a refreshing and zesty combination.
    • In cocktails: This is where the real fun begins! Gin is a versatile spirit that plays well with a wide range of ingredients to create some truly delightful cocktails.

    Here are a few classics and creative concoctions that you should definitely try:
    • Martini: Channel your inner James Bond with a classic gin martini. It's made with gin and a splash of dry vermouth, garnished with a twist of lemon or an olive. Shaken or stirred, it's the epitome of sophistication.
    • Negroni: For those who enjoy a touch of bitterness, the Negroni is a must-try. It blends equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, resulting in a complex and balanced flavour profile. Garnish with an orange peel, and you're in for a treat.
    • Gin Fizz: If you're in the mood for something light and frothy, go for a Gin Fizz. It combines gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water, creating a fizzy and citrusy delight. It's like a refreshing burst of sunshine in a glass.
    • Tom Collins: For a tall and cooling option, the Tom Collins is a classic choice. Mix gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water over ice, garnish with a cherry and a slice of lemon, and enjoy a crisp, effervescent sip.
    • Aviation: If you're feeling adventurous, try an Aviation cocktail. It features gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de Violette, and lemon juice, resulting in a unique and floral flavour profile. It's like sipping on a fragrant bouquet.

    The Gin Enthusiast's Playground

    As a gin enthusiast, you have a world of flavours at your fingertips. Gin's diverse range of botanicals and styles invites exploration and creativity. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of a Martini or the vibrant complexity of a Negroni, gin offers something for every palate.

    So, my fellow gin lovers, don't hesitate to experiment with different gins and cocktails. Explore local craft distilleries, try new garnishes, and maybe even invent your own signature gin concoction. The world of gin is your playground, and every sip is an adventure!

    Cheers to Gin-tastic Moments!

    In conclusion, gin is more than just a drink; it's a journey through history, flavour, and endless possibilities. From its origins in Holland to its evolution into various styles and the wide array of cocktails it stars in, gin has a story to tell with every sip.
    So, whether you're sipping it neat, enjoying a classic cocktail, or crafting your own gin masterpiece, remember to savour the experience. Each glass of gin holds the promise of new discoveries and delightful moments.
    Cheers to the magical world of gin, where every sip is a celebration of taste and tradition!


    1. Gin Origins and Production
    2. Types of Gin
    3. Gin Cocktails Every Enthusiast Should Know

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