The production of gin is comparatively simple. Normally, the basis is neutral alcohol, industrially produced potable alcohol made from any starch carrier such as grain. Some gins fall back on wine alcohol. Aromatics - botanicals - are added in different ways.
Maceration The botanicals are placed in the alcohol until their aromas have been extracted. Then the drinking strength is adjusted.
Digestion The ingredients are heated to extract more aromas.
Perculation The botanicals hang in a spirit basket in the still. During distillation, the alcohol vapour is led past it and extracts aromas. The process is considered to be the most expensive and of the highest quality.
Digestion and perculation are possible in parallel.
Column distillation is allowed. Better bottlings are often based on selected base alcohols such as grape brandy, which are distilled in small batches.
In the final product, a number of styles are distinguished - some of them with force of law - which relate primarily to the sweetness and quantity of ingredients.
Systematics There are different systematics, which also show within overlaps. Legal regulations exist particularly in the EU. According to EU Regulation (EC) No. 110/2008, gin must have a minimum alcohol content of 37.5% alcohol. In the USA, at least 40% alcohol and the characteristic taste of juniper are mandatory. Canadian regulations are almost identical. In Holland, there is a clear difference between gin and genever. There are few protected geographical origins, for example, Plymouth Gin, Genever, Ostfriesischer Korngenever, which also refer to related juniper spirits.
Gin Spirits from agricultural products with added botanical substances. The dominant aroma is juniper.
Distilled Gin May only be mixed with juniper berries and dried plant substances, not with extracts or flavourings.
Dry Gin and Distilled Gin Indicates that the spirit is not sweetened. There is no legal obligation, however. Botanicals may be added at any time, as well as various nature-identical colouring and flavouring agents.
London Gin Is also protected by an EU regulation. It must consist of at least 37.5% alcohol derived from agricultural production. All additives are purely botanical and are added before distillation. Dyes and all additives other than water are prohibited. The term "London Dry Gin" is permitted if no sweetening elements are added. The maximum sugar content is 0.1%.
Old Tom Gin Slightly sweet gin, a traditional product that is not protected by law.
Sloe Gin Is not gin, but a gin-liqueur with sloes and mostly sweet. Not legally protected, but with tradition.
Genever Is the name of the Dutch corn brandy from which Gin is derived.