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Gin

Synonym of creativity and elegance, the bread and butter of barmen and mixologists, undisputed protagonist of cocktail parties and fundamental ingredient of famous and legendary drinks, this is the world of Gin: a distillate flavoured by infusion or maceration of juniper berries combined with spices and herbs, called botanicals. London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, Sloe, Jenever are not names of origin but some of the different styles it can take, depending on the recipe and production methods. Among its most famous admirers are politicians, royalty, film stars, writers and many others: it is said that Ernest Hemingway used to drink it for breakfast, not to mention James Bond and his "shaken, not stirred" Martini.

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Synonym of creativity and elegance, the bread and butter of barmen and mixologists, undisputed protagonist of cocktail parties and fundamental ingredient of famous and legendary drinks, this is the world of Gin: a distillate flavoured by infusion or maceration of juniper berries combined with spices and herbs, called botanicals. London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, Sloe, Jenever are not names of origin but some of the different styles it can take, depending on the recipe and production methods. Among its most famous admirers are politicians, royalty, film stars, writers and many others: it is said that Ernest Hemingway used to drink it for breakfast, not to mention James Bond and his "shaken, not stirred" Martini.

The Origins of a Myth Named Gin

The origins of Gin date back to the 17th century Netherlands. It seems that it was invented by a Dutch doctor from Leiden, Franciscus Sylvius De La Boe, with the aim of creating a drug with diuretic and digestive properties, with beneficial effects on the kidneys. De La Boe did nothing more than draw inspiration from traditional remedies involving the infusion of juniper and other spices, already known and popular in the classical world and the Middle Ages.

Thus, in 17th-century Netherlands, Juniperi Water or Jenever was born, the ancestor of the modern distillate, which was a great success throughout the country. At that time Holland had the largest merchant fleet in the world, which facilitated both the finding of precious spices and aromatic herbs and the fame and spread of distillates produced from those raw materials.

Although its origins are in the Netherlands, it was in England that it achieved its definitive reputation and a fortune that is still unequalled today. Its spread in England began in 1677, the year of the marriage between Mary Stuart and the Dutch Protestant ruler William of Orange. From this date, which also marked the coronation of William of Orange as King of England, Jenever spread to English high society and then to the lower classes. Concerned about the possibility of a French Catholic domination, the sovereign also banned the import of Cognac, favouring the production of native juniper-based spirits.

Its great success continued throughout the 18th century, when the great demand of the English population favoured an increase in low-cost, low-quality production. It went so far as to use this alcoholic beverage as a pay rise for sailors and workmen. The consequences were serious from a social point of view because this habit contributed to the increase in the rate of alcoholism among the poorer population. In order to combat the scourge of popular alcoholism, King George II passed an act which imposed a doubling of the price of all alcoholic products, indirectly contributing to an increase in the black market and the establishment of clandestine and home distilleries.

During the Victorian Era in the 19th century, the social climate in England improved significantly. The first large distilleries, such as Alexander Gordon, Plymouth and Tanqueray Gin, were established during a period of great economic prosperity and helped to improve quality standards by focusing increasingly on the production of fine gins.

Today it is not only successful in the Netherlands and England, but all over the world, from Europe to the Philippines and on to America and Japan. On Callmewine you can find a wide selection of gins online from all over the world, showing that production has reached a very high quality worldwide.



Types and Different Methods of Production

The oldest type dates back to the 17th century and is now recognised as typically Dutch. This is Jenever, obtained from the distillation of rye, corn and barley malt, followed by a light aromatisation through maceration of juniper, liquorice, coriander and other spices and eventual ageing in wooden barrels. The result is a full-bodied, intense whisky with moderate freshness, which may remind many people of the aromatic profile of a young whisky.

Based on the Dutch Jenever model, the first juniper-based spirits produced in England were of the so-called Old Tom type, characterised by a pleasant sweetness and a smooth, warm taste due to the use of a mixture of cereals in the production, often carried out in small discontinuous stills. Even today some producers tend to use spices and additives that give sweetness to recreate and re-propose the oldest and most traditional English style.

The best gins, the most famous and widespread in the world, fall into the category of London Dry: a name that identifies a fresh, dry style obtained strictly from alcohol flavoured with spices and juniper without any subsequent addition of flavours or botanicals. The name of this style derives from the fact that it was developed in London by some famous distilleries but can be produced anywhere.

If the producer wishes to restrict the possibility of adding other spices, he can use the more generic term Distilled. This latter type, which includes a wide variety of styles, is often used as opposed to the technique called Cold Compound, which involves cold maceration of botanicals in neutral grain alcohol. This technique, which has a homemade and artisanal tradition, is also called Bath Pipe or Bathtub, because it was historically performed, both during the 18th century in England and during Prohibition in America, in domestic bathtubs.

All these different classifications can also include Italian Gin, which has been enjoying considerable success in recent years. Its English history thus tends to merge with the local traditions of our peninsula, providing great interpretations especially in monasteries and alpine areas, where there are many aromatic herbs of great finesse.

For each of these types, Callmewine offers a wide selection for sale online. Discover Gin's characteristics, history and technical data sheet for each bottle, and buy at the best prices online.