Aromatic Awakening Part 2: The History of Gin
As promised, I have consulted with my colleague and friend Joel, who is a sommelier, to gain some insight into the history of gin and a deeper understanding of why it would appeal to me as it has recently.
“The history of Gin goes back to the 12th -13th century but it wasn’t until the middle of the 17th century that gin gained recognition and popularity. The Dutch were among the first to redistill malt wine adding juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander and other botanicals in the mix. England had the highest production of gin, but most of it was inferior quality that worsened when the government increased taxes on imported alcohol. Most of the barley was used to make beer and the remainder or lesser quality was turned into gin. Interestingly, not all gin was consumed for recreational use; it was also used for medicinal purposes since juniper berries were used in various applications including as a mood enhancer and a cure for other ailments. Hogarth’s Gin Lane and Beer Street depicts the social structure of beer and gin. More sophisticated members of society indulged in beer consumption since it was made from the best barley and cost more. Whereas the overabundance of gin became the inexpensive choice of the less fortunate ones. It wasn’t till the 18th century that gin actually gained its proper place in the society that was written by it, but it would take another century for gin to claim its place as a quality spirit. “
“Gin is going through a very major revamping lately. It is the original flavored vodka! It starts as a neutral grain spirit and then infused with botanicals and herbs. The major ingredient in the infusion is Juniper berries along with lemon peels, ginger, anise, peppers, coriander and some flowers. The gins of past years all have the same taste and aroma profile, the big pine box with intense juniper flavors. The gins of today are a far cry from those. Today’s Craft creations are more versatile and mixable. Depending on the producer’s taste focus, there are more citrus with other botanicals and just a hint of juniper. This makes a better mixing gin and not just with tonic water but with juices and sparkling wines as well. It was a handful of producers who boldly decided to change the perception of gin by changing the norm. They wanted to showcase other more approachable flavors of the spirit rather than the bold juniper taste, reigniting the passion and demand for a more subtle and imaginative product; paving way for better cocktails beyond your basic gin and tonic or martini. More and more herbs, fruit and fruit juices are finding their way in specialty cocktails prepared with hand crafted gins. One of my favorite gins happens to be Sipsmith. It has a wonderful bouquet of citrus, anise, hints of coriander and very subtle notes of juniper berries.”
If you are intrigued or inspired by this story, you may want to try this cocktail recommended by Joel:
In a tall glass filled with ice pour:
1.5 oz of Sipsmith Gin 2 oz grapefruit juice .5 oz grenadine Fill with tonic water. Garnish with an orange slice
Enjoy!For inspiration for your next cocktail party or to consult with Joel, you can call Events by Marylee, LLC. We can create a custom menu with paired wines or cocktails to delight your guests and your senses! We appreciate your business and referrals! We promise to treat them as well as we have treated you.