A spirit flavoured with a variety of botanicals, most notably juniper. Grain spirit is themost commonly used base spirit for gin, but others may be used. Botanicals can include spices, seeds, nuts, roots, fruits, vegetables and flowers, in innumerable combinations. Each gin producer will have its ‘house style(s)’ based on a particular recipe.
Gin can be distilled with its botanicals (the preferred method) or by adding essential oils to the base spirit (an inferior method).
An increasing number of ‘super-premium’ gins are available, flavoured with ever-more-unusual botanicals. Most are of excellent quality.
Gin will keep well for long periods, although the fragrance of some of its botanicals may fade over time.
Gin is used in cocktails such as the Gimlet, the Gin Fizz and the G&T. It can also be used in cooking, to ‘cure’ raw fish dishes, or to de-glaze pans in sauce-making.
Article by Susan Low