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Gin is an alcoholic flavored beverage that has juniper bush seeds. The aromatic white spirit is prepared by distilling grains such as corn, rye or barley, and then flavored using coriander, spices, herbs, juniper berries and a number of other natural ingredients. The juniper flavor in gin is very outstanding. Distilled gin is prepared by re-distilling raw cane sugar (already seasoned with juniper berries) and white grain spirit. On the other hand, compound or complex gin is prepared by flavoring neutral grain spirit using juniper berries, but this time it is not redistilled; hence can be thought to be flavored vodka.

The name of this alcoholic beverage was derived from a Dutch word genever, which construes "Juniper". This beverage dates back beyond the 17th century where, like all other modern day beverages, it was primarily used for its medicinal values. Gin is pretty dry hence rarely consumed on its own. It mostly is an ideal base for other kinds of mixed beverages, including the well-known Gin and Tonic and Martini.

London dry gin is the most popular kind of gin used for various mixed drinks. This style of gin is made by adding the necessary botanicals (a diverse assortment of spices and herbs) to a neutral grain spirit and then re-distilling. Other botanicals used in addition to juniper berries may include bitter orange peel, angelica root and its seed, citrus, licorice root, orris root, cassia bark, coriander, anise and lemon.

Distilled gin was as a result of the famous Dutch spirits; Plymouth gin, Old Tom gin and the Young and Old Dutch gin (jonge- and oude- Jenever or Genever). Note that Plymouth gin features a different recipe in that it is made using the same botanicals as those used in London dry gin, but without the bitter orange and lemon ingredients.

Another very popular type of gin is the Sloe gin, a sweetened version of gin prepared by infusing sloes in gin. Note that other fruits such as the Damsons can also be infused in gin to produce other tasteful varieties of gin. In order to balance the dryness of gin, it is normally used in cocktails which have sweeter constituents such as vermouth or tonic water.

Some famous brands of gin include:

1. Aviation
2. Beefeater
3. Junipero
4. Boodles British Gin
5. Bombay Sapphire (made using 10 different botanical ingredients)
6. Booth's
7. Blue Gin
8. BOLS Damrak Amsterdam
9. Brockmans Gin (very smooth gin featuring Valencia orange peel, coriander, blackberries and blueberries).
10. Dutch jenever
11. Broker's (Tonic's best friend)
12. Citadelle (contains 19 different botanical ingredients)
13. Damrak
14. Gabriel Boudier
15. Hendrick's Gin (made using rose petals and cucumber).

Most consumers tend to confuse gin with Genever, both of which are as a result of flavoring white spirits using botanical extracts and juniper berries. But Genever is produced mainly from malt wine. Note that both Gin and Genever combine different botanical extracts to produce unique blends, where the total number of botanicals can be anything between 4 to 20.


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