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Dictionary > Gin

What is gin?

Gin can be described as a flavored vodka. Gin distillers take neutral spirit, a mash of fermented grain to re-distill with numbers of botanicals. The primary source is juniper berries. The word 'gin' comes from genever, French word for juniper.

Gin was first produced in Holland for medicinal purposes around 1650 by a Dutch doctor, Franciscus de la Boe.

In the early days, gins that were sweetened with sugar for more palatable taste were called Old Tom. Terms like Dry or London Dry Gin were used to distinguish unsweetened gins from Old Tom.

After the Thirty Years' War British troops returned home with 'Dutch Courage.' Soon gin distillation took place in England. King William III, better known as William of Orange (1650 - 1702) actively encouraged gin production and gin was sometimes given to workers as a part of their wages.

According to Gin and Vodka Association, in 1730 London has over 7,000 spirit stores and gin was sold cheaper than beer. The abuse of alcohol by the poor became a major issue in London. In 1736, the gin Act was issued, which made gin prohibitively expensive. A license to retain gin cost 50 and duty was raised. Within six years of the Act, only two distillers took out licenses and gin production rose by almost 50 percent. The Gin Act was reissued in 1742 with reasonable excise duties and a new policy, which still exists today.

To compete with 45,000 beer shops in London selling free licensing beer at cozy homes, spirit retailers created 'gin palaces,' first appeared around 1830. The gin palace was large and was luxuriously furnished. By the 1850s, there were about 5,000 palaces in London.

During the first cocktail age in the United States, gin became a fashionable drink, giving its subtle flavor that made it easy to mix cocktails such as martini and cosmopolitan. By 1951, the Bartenders' Guild filed 7,000 cocktails and gin was one of the most significant base spirits.


Anchor Junipero Gin - Premium gin produced in California by Anchor Steam Brewery. Distilled from a blend juniper berried and other botanicals.

Bafferts Gin - Triple-distilled with four botanicals in England. Result is crisp and light, ideal gin for Martinis.

Beefeater - Traditional London Dry Gin, first produced in 1820 by a pharmacist, James Burrough. He believed he could create the perfect blend of botanical and grains to produce a distinctively bold, full-bodies and armatic gin.

Bellringer Gin - 94.4 proof English gin.

Bombay - Distilled with eight botanicals, popular among serious gin drinkers.

Bombay Sapphire - One of the fastest growing premium gins, distilled with 10 botanicals.

Bombadier Military Gin - Only British military gin available in the United States.

Boodles British Gin - 90.4 proof gin with oily finish, produced in England.

Boomsma Jonge Genevere Gin - Produced in Holland, perfect for a simple gin and tonic.

Burnett's Crown Select Gin - Produced by America's Heaven Hill Distillery.

Cadenhead's Old Raj Gin - 110 proof gin.

Citadelle - Distilled with 19 botanicals in France. This premium gin gives heavy body and a long finish.

Cork Dry - Made in Ireland.

Cascade Mountain Gin - Hand-picked wild juniper berries go into the gin, distilled in Oregon. Perfect premium gin for an elegant martinis.

Gilbey's London Dry Gin - Produced in the United States, distilled with prices and dried herbs, giving medium light body with high aromas.

Greenall's Original Gin - Greenall's is made at Warrington distillery where Bombay Sapphire is produced. After over 200 years, it still remains independent family produced gin.

Demrak Amsterdam - Distilled five times with 17 botanicals.

Dirty Olives - Distilled three times, infused with green olive juice from Spain along with other botanicals.

Hamptons Gin - Distilled in the United States, light and fruity nose with juniper notes.

Hendrick's Gin - Infused with cucumber, coriander, citrus peel and rose petals, handcrafted in Scotland.

Juniper Green Organic Gin - First gin made from all organic ingredients in England with four botanicals including sage.

Leyden Dry Gin - Distilled three times in small batches, twice in column stills then in a pot still.

Plymouth - First distilled in 1793, Plymouth Dry is crisp and aromatic.

Quintessential - Produced by Greenall's, gives soft and smooth taste.

Schlichte GinUrbrannt - German style premium gin.

Seagram's Extra Dry Gin - Aged in charred oak barrels, giving a rich flavor balanced with aromatics.

Tanqueray - 94.6 proof, distilled in Finsbury, England.

Tanqueray Malacca - Triple distilled in small batches, producing highly aromatic gin. It tastes slightly spicier than Tanqueray.

Tanqueray No. 10 - Distilled with fresh botanicals, not dries.

Van Gogh Gin - Dutch gin produced with 10 botanicals in small batches. Triple distilled, twice in column stills then in a traditional pot still.


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