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GIN – DUTCH COURAGE

 

The name gin comes from ‘Genievre’- the French for juniper. One characteristic which all gin shares is the presence of juniper berries. Gin is defined as a rectified spirit made from malted barley, rye or corn or a combination of these and flavoured with a choice or a mixture of juniper, almond, bitter almond, coriander seeds, cassia bark, fennel & cardamom.

Gin was invented in about 1650 by Franciscus de la Boe, who was known as Dr Sylvis. He was a physician and a professor in medicine at the University of Leyden in Holland. Dr Sylvius was attempting to make a therapeutic medicine that was inexpensive, palatable and could be made by distilling pure alcohol in the presence of juniper berries, which come from evergreen trees. England’s introduction to Gin came when the British soldiers returning from wars in the Netherlands sampled the juniper-flavoured spirit and nicknamed it Dutch Courage or Hollands.

The production of Gin starts from a pure or a neutral spirit, distilled from any kind of grain like malted barley, corn, rye or wheat. This is then rectified by the Gin distiller in a patent still with various botanicals and juniper berries. The recipe is a guarded secret. The botanicals are steeped in a portion of the neutral spirit and the mixture is distilled in a pot still, which results in the production of a highly flavourful and concentrated liquid. Alternatively a basket of botanicals is hung near the mouth of a still and the alcoholic vapours are passed through the basket as well as cracked juniper berries. Gin can be consumed after the rectification is over. However, three months of wood ageing maybe allowed for the spirit and botanicals to harmonize properly.

 

 

There are two main styles of gin : English gin/ Dry gin/ London gin/ London dry gin and Dutch gin/ Sweet gin.

London Dry Gin:-Early Gin pioneers founded their distilleries, thus London became the capital of world famous brands. Will always have words like Dry, Extra Dry, very Dry on the label. This Gin is prepared from spirit containing more of corn and less of Barley and Rye. More delicate in flavor and widely used in cocktails.


Dutch Gin:-Made from spirit with higher proportion of malted barley and therefore has a stronger flavor of malt and is full bodied as compared to London Gin. It is had ice-cold and neat in Holland. Because of its strong flavor, it is unsuitable for mixing in cocktails. Example – Bols and De Kuyper.

 

Plymouth Gin:- It gets its name from Plymouth in U.K. stronger flavor as compared to London Gin. Example – Tanqueray

Given below is a brief description of various popular Gins:

BEEFEATER LONDON DISTILLED DRY GIN
One of the Three Great Gins of the world. This is a powerful full-bodied gin. It can be drunk straight and is a great mixer.

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE LONDON DRY GIN
The second of the Three Great Gins of the world, this is often described as the world’s best. Tasty, elegant, smooth & lovely.

TANQUERAY
The third of the Three Great Gins of the world, this is the smoothest gin. Good flavour, but lacks in complexity.

BOKMA JONGE GRAANJENEVER
A Dutch gin with a unique taste and character. An excellent gin for hard drinking, with a rather mild flavour.

BOLS V.O. GENEVER GIN
This Dutch gin is smooth-bodied, sweet and flavourful. Lacks the sharpness of London dry gins , makes up with a nice rounded flavor.

DE KUYPER GENEVA
Dutch gin, by De Kuyper Canada. Strong and somewhat unpleasant aroma hits first, one has to acquire a taste for it.

GILBEY’S LONDON DRY GIN
Very strong flavoured, and reasonably smooth. This one is a bit strong to drink straight, but is an excellent mixer.

GORDON’S LONDON DRY GIN
This is a good solid mixing gin.

LONDON HILL GIN
Pleasant, smooth, and very mild, too mild to mix. Tastes almost like its pre-mixed with tonic.

McGUINESS MARBLE ARCH LONDON DRY
A Canadian gin. Nice aroma, mild flavour.

PLYMOUTH ORIGINAL ENGLISH DRY GIN
Pleasntly drinkable, and quite smooth.

RAFFLES LONDON DRY GIN
Strongly-flavoured. Slightly oily and viscous.

SEAGRAM’S LONDON DRY GIN
A basic cheap gin, OK for G & T ( gin and tonic)

SLOE GIN
Sloe Gin is flavoured with a wild European plum that is the fruit of the blackthorn bush. They are called sloes. Traditionally, the sloes are pricked by the thorns that they grow with, and the steeped to produce a very sweet red liquor.

COCKTAILS WITH SLOE GIN:

ANGEL’S KISS
¼ oz. Each White Crème de Cacao, Sloe Gin, Brandy, Cream
Layer in order into a pony glass.


LEAPFROG
1.5 oz. Tequila, ½ oz. Sloe gin, 1oz. Sweet vermouth, 1lime wedge

Sloe Gin is a common ingredient in Pousse Cafes. ex. Equal parts of: Sloe gin, Anisette, Green crème de Menthe, Blackberry Brandy.

Layer into a Pony glass.

 

Gin’s major use is still in the Martini including such variations such as Gibson. Other Gin drinks include Gimlet, Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins and Rickey. German and Dutch gins are drunk neat and chilled. As a mixed drink, Gin can also be taken with lime cordial and soda or water. Gin also goes well with tonic water.

Test Yourself:
1)  Martini was invented by one Jerry Thomas. What was his original recipe?
2)  What was Old Tom Gin?
3)  How is Sloe gin made?
4)  When did British Parliament pass a law imposing a tax on Gin and requiring a license to sell it?
5)  Name three principal canters of Gin production in the 18th Century.
6)  Name the manufacturer of Plymouth Gin.
7)  After whom is the famous Beefeaters Gin named?
8)  Can London Dry Gin be made outside London?
9)  What is Pink Gin?
10) What is Golden Gin?

Answers:
1)  Four parts Gin to one Vermouth.
2)  A gin sweetened by the addition of sugar. Not made nowadays.
3)  By steeping Sloes (fruit of the blackthorn) in gin and adding sugar syrup with a small amount of bitter almonds.
4)  1729. Earlier it was sold by barbers, grocers, tobacconists etc.
5)  London, Bristol & Plymouth.
6)  Coates & Co.
7)  After the Beefeaters, the traditional guards at the Tower of London.
8)  Yes.
9)  A cocktail having Gin, a dash of Angostura Bitters and ice.
10)A gin which has been aged in wood and develops a gold or straw coloured hue.

 

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