Be careful, the biddies cannot get enough of gin so they are extra excited about this episode. When it comes to gin, it is defined by juniper berry as the main flavor but as far as other botanicals go, the sky’s the limit. Learn more about this aromatic and flavor filled spirit on the next installment of the distillation series.

Drinks Featured:

Kara: Gin & Tonic with the Botanist Gin
Calla: Barr Hill Gin Bees Knees Cocktail



Study Notes


  • A spirit that derives its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries
  • “Distilled gin” is defined as a subcategory of gin that must be produced exclusively using originally distillation or redistillation
  • “Gin is really nothing more than a flavored vodka whose predominant flavor is juniper, so gin drinkers who say they won’t drink vodka misunderstand the nature of their addiction”. FUCK YOU.


  • Apparently juniper berries date back to the Triassic period, 250 million years ago.
    • existed on pangea so now native to Europe, Asia and North america
    • Gin distillers prefer juniper berries from Tuscany, Morocco and Eastern Europe
  • Juniper berries used historically for medicinal purposes.
    • Disocorides (50-70 AD, also wrote about health benefits of sugar in rum episode) wrote about juniper berries steeped in wine to aid chest ailments
  • 16th century, the Dutch began producing a spirit called “genever”: malt wine base and a healthy amount of juniper berries to mask its harsh flavor. It was, of course, a “medicinal” liquid like its predecessors. By the 1700s, it had taken on a new form: gin.
  • In revolt against Spain (1566-1648), when the British came to the aid of the Dutch, they enjoyed gin on the battlefield, calling it ‘Dutch courage’
  • “Once the English got hold of gin, there was no stopping them.” – Drunken Botanist
    • A few things make gin super popular –
      • William III taking power in 1689 places tariffs on French wine and cognac
      • ‘Corn Laws’give spirits production a tax break
      • By the 1700s unlicensed gin manufacture was legal in England
      • Gin actually cheaper than beer
  • This all led to time period known as English ‘gin craze’
    • England’s poorest people began drinking more gin less responsibly (a futile lack of social mobility can do that to a person).” – VinePair
    • The people of England began to either go totally insane or just die.
      • Gin distillation was, again, a free-for-all, with things like turpentine, sulphuric acid, and sawdust going into the juice.
      • Leads to a bunch of licensing to limit production and reduce consumption
  • Gin redemption
    • 1830: Aeneas Coffey invents new type of column still resulting in higher quality
    • Gin + tonic – sailors often had London dry-gin on board, combined with quinine (anti malarial) and limes (anti-Scurvy)
    • Different cities start producing specific styles of gin – London Dry being one of them
  • WWII: “Plymouth gin was so beloved by the Navy that, when the fleet was notified that Plymouth had been bombed, one sailor said, ‘Well, Hitler just lost the war!’”


  • LONDON DRY – originally produced in nineteenth century London but there are NO geographical restrictions on the production of it
    • EU definition – less than 0.1 gram of sugar per liter
    • Is a distilled gin so must be done through distillation or redistillation 
    • Lighter, dry, crip style with a clean juniper berry flavor
    • Anything “dry”, “extra-dry”, or “very dry” determine a lack of sweetness
    • Ex: Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay, Gordon’s
  • PLYMOUTH – when London dry gin became popular, distillers in other English cities developed their own styles of gin (Plymouth, Bristol, Warrington, Norwich) and all had unique styles
    • Plymouth is the only one of these historic gins still produced today
  • HOLLAND GIN aka GENEVER: a specific style of spirit originally produced using malted grain (barley, rye, wheat, corn, etc) spirits flavored with juniper berry and other botanicals
    • Malt spirit is than combined with a low-proof neutral spirit that has been infused with botanicals
    • Considered to be the precursors to modern gin and is often referred to as genever gin, Holland gin, Geneva gin or Dutch gin 
    • Usually produced at lower proofs than is required for gin so it’s not a “true gin” and is generally classified in the EU as a juniper-flavored spirit
    • Classified by both Old or Young where oulde must contain a minimum of 15% malt and young is more modern contain more than 15% malt spirit
  • OLD TOM GIN – gained popularity in the mid-1800s in hand with the growing “cocktail culture” in both England and America
    • Slightly sweet and the original gin used in the Tom Collins cocktail
    • Potential story behind it: a london merchant named Dudley Bradstreet sold gin illegally from his house
      • He placed a large sign in the shape of a black cat outside of his house where a pipe led from the cat’s paw back inside the house
      • A passerby could deposit a coin in the cat’s mouth after which he would pour a shot of gin through the tube to be caught in the customer’s mouth
    • Now appreciated as a sipping gin
  • GIN DE MAHON – produced on the Spanish island of Menorca
    • White wine based spirit that is redistilled in wood fired copper pot stills along with aged juniper berries and other botanicals then aged in oak barrels
    • Produced by one person with a PGI status
    • Gin flavored by mixing neutral spirits with naturally produced extracts and flavorings of juniper berries/other botanicals
    • Considered to be a lower quality gin
    • Produced either though cold compounding or essential oils
        • 1) Crushed botanicals are added to a neutral base to “soak” for a week or more
        • 2) Same procedure except botanicals are enclosed in a mesh bag (tea bag method)
        • 3) Circulatory method – suspending a mesh tray of botanicals in the top of a large tank containing the base spirit and pumping the alcohol repeatedly over the botanicals until the desired flavor is achieved
        • A recipe of essential oils is added to a neutral spirit and thoroughly blended then allowed to rest for a week 


  • Produced by adding the flavor or juniper berries to a base spirit
    • Other flavors may be added but the dominant flavor of this light bodied spirit must be the juniper berry
  • Can be produced using any type of neutral spirit as its base
    • Cereal grain mash is most commonly used but gin may be produced from a base of sugarcane, potatoes, sugar beets, or other agricultural products
  • BOTANICALS: the range is very diverse and includes a variety of seeds, herbs, barks, citrus peels, roots, and nuts
    • Broken into six classifications
      • Seed/Bean: Aniseed, Caraway, Cardamom, Cocoa, Coriander, Juniper Berry, Vanilla
      • Herbs: Angelica, Chamomile, Hyssop, Marjoram, Mint, Rosemary, Sage
      • Bark: Cassia, Cinnamon, Quinine
      • Citrus Peel: Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime Orange
      • Root: Fennel, Ginger, Licorice Root, Orris Root
      • Other: Almont, Calamus, Clove, Gentian 
  • JUNIPER: comes from the berries of an evergreen tree
  • Coriander is the second most widely used botanical in gin adding peppery or spicy notes
  • Angelica for an earthy, wood like character
  • Citrus to add aroma and fruit flavor
  • AGING: most gins are bottled unaged but aging is allowed and becoming more popular 
  • Gins are differentiated mostly on the types of mash from which the base spirits are distilled, the quality of the juniper berries and the selection of bonatincials used to flavor a specific gin
    • ORIGINAL: a fermented mash is placed into a special still that contains a mesh tray and a basket or perforated rack known as a gin head (originally a Carter head still)
      • The gin head is filled with juniper berries and other botanicals
      • As the mash is distilled, the vapors pass through the gin head becoming “impregnated” with the aromatic oils of the botanicals
      • Resulting vapors come off the gin still at a high proof and then condense into gin
    • REDISTILLATION: similar to original but the mash is distilled into a neutral spirit before being flavored
      • To complete the flavoring the neutral spirit is first cut with water
      • Sometimes allowed to steep with the botanicals in the still before redistillation
      • Other times, distillation beings immediately after the botanicals are added to the still


  • Gin, dry vermouth
  • Became vodka dominant due to James Bond movies in the 1960s


  • From Islay Scotland, Bruichladdich distillery has been making Scotch since 1880s
  • Foraged gin – 31 botanicals, 22 of which are foraged in Hebridean Islands Scotland, better known for their Scotch