Often referred to as flavored Vodka, Gin holds not only medicinal properties but also possesses diverse & distinct flavors for the palate and a refreshing aroma for the mind & soul.
What really sets Gin apart, or rather, its unique characteristic is that it contains Juniper berries. In fact, without its dominant flavor, it cannot be considered a Gin. However, this wonderful spirit has more than just that — that excites many around the world.
What Are the Ingredients in Gin?
High-level, the ingredients can be broken down into three primary categories:
- The base/base alcohol used
- Juniper Berries
- Spices & herbs
- These can come in various combinations, such as coriander, rosemary, citrus, hibiscus, lemon peel, cardamom, etc. The list can be endless, and part of the eagerness & anticipation associated with Gins is precisely this! You never know what to expect until you try one as different distilleries put their special touch into how the final product (Gin) is produced — and what botanicals are utilized.
In Non-Technical Terms, How Is Gin Made?
A succinct summary is that the distilled base/base alcohol is put together with Juniper berries and the herbs and spices. The base could be anything ranging from vegetables such as potatoes, fruits such as grapes to grains such as wheat. Unlike other spirits, a Gin isn’t constrained and dictated by what the base should be — thus further adding to the suspense on how it would taste like, and thereby, increasing the avidity.
The distillation is key, and for this reason, a countless number of Gins are considered gluten-free and suitable for folks with celiac disease. This is independent of whether or not the process at the beginning contained wheat. But of course, the best way to know for sure is to ask the distillery directly. In other instances, that might be not necessary as brands now add a gluten-free labeling, icon, badge, or a similar visual/text that clearly demonstrates their commitment to not having any gluten into their spirit.
Primary Differences Between Gin and Vodka
The dissimilarity between the two can be boiled down into three areas:
- Flavor: As pointed out on multiple occasions, a Gin has a wide range of flavor profiles. And indeed, there are many Vodka varieties available, they can’t be as heterogeneous. At least, aren’t right now.
- Enjoyment: Vodkas are said to provide the best experience when served chilled. Gin, on the other hand, can be enjoyed chilled or non-chilled.
- Categorization: As mentioned initially, Gin can be called a flavored Vodka because technically, Gin can be derived from Vodka. The reverse is not valid.
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While Gins and Vodkas may feel alike — and to a certain degree, they are, Gins can broaden your taste profile spectrum and make you appreciate the level of fineness and skillsets employed in making one.
With the governing juniper berry dominance and particular applications of pronounced spices, Gins can give you a kick out of things when you need one!
To thoroughly a Gin, inquire with the distillery or an expert if it should be enjoyed chilled or otherwise. Or, you can always go rogue and try the opposite, or even both, to see what tickles your fancy.