A gin is a colorless, distilled alcoholic drink. A wide variety of botanicals and a wide variety of combinations of these botanicals is the reason why a gin tastes the way it does, and this is usually a well-guarded secret since the taste becomes the signature of the brand.
The 2015 US gin market was pegged at 2.74 billion USD. The US gin market is expected to hit 3.04 billion USD by 2025, indicating the growth potential of gin in the US market. The European Union has identified four categories to differentiate gin: (1) Juniper-flavored spirit drinks, (2) gin, (3) distilled gin, and (4) London gin. In the US, gin does not have specific categories.
- The origin of the word gin is derived from the word juniper; “genièvre” in French, “jenever” in Dutch, and “ginepro” in Italian. The name gin has been around since the 13th century.
- In its earliest form, gin was actually a medicinal liquor.
- Many people believe that it was gin that gave birth to “Dutch courage”, a term that refers to courage gained from being intoxicated with alcohol.
Gin Buying Guide
Gin is not an easy drink to swallow especially if you are having gin for the first time and you are taking it neat. It is advisable that you buy a gin that is known for having a smooth taste and smooth aftertaste. Or better yet, browse for gin brands that are best suited for cocktails and mixers. This way, you get to enjoy drinking gin mixed with juice, soda, or tonic water. It is better to start on cheaper brands and work your way up because if you buy expensive brands, you don’t get to appreciate the nuances of the gin’s flavor profile (which is one of the main reasons why it is expensive, to begin with). It helps if you buy a gin based on the recommendation of someone you know or trust. There are a ton of gin reviews online, so take the time to read what they have to say. This will help you choose which gin to buy, in consideration of your experience drinking gin, your budget, and how you plan to drink gin.
Gin Production & Farming in Texas
Based on a 2014 article by the Houston Press, gin is not a very popular spirit in Texas compared to vodka, tequila, and whiskey, on the account of the top ten most outstanding Texas-owned liquor companies. Nonetheless, there are several Texas companies making and selling gin, like Still Austin Gin, Waterloo No. 9 Gin, Seersucker Gin, Calamity Gin, and Genius Gin, among others.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Unlike dark-colored spirits like whiskey or rum that use additives, gin is basically free of additives. The most common additives found in dark spirits like whiskey or rum serve two common purposes: color and flavor. Gin, as a colorless spirit, does not need artificial color. As for flavor, gin is generally flavorless before botanicals are infused. A gin takes its distinctive taste based on the specific blend of botanicals used in making gin.
If there is an additive found in gin, then it is with cheap artificially-flavored gin. This is a common strategy from gin companies producing cheap gin in the effort to increase sales and become the brand of choice for consumers who belong in this specific market: those who buy cheap flavored gin because it is fruity so it is easy to drink, potent to give you a buzz, and priced reasonably.
Gin is sold in a glass bottle sometimes placed inside a box or metal tin can. Gin bottles vary in size and shape for different brands. Gin products also vary in label design and box design. When gin companies release special edition bottle, the design of the packaging is usually different from the design of the packaging of regular gin. Some gin packaging is just plain while other gin companies have intricately-designed gin packaging, which is oftentimes part of the overall branding strategy of a gin brand.
There are a lot of ways to drink gin. A typical way to drink gin is to have it with tonic water. Have it neat served on a shot glass. You can also drink gin very casually and pour it in a regular glass and drink neat, on ice, or mixed with other liquids to make a cocktail. Gin is used for making different cocktails, including negroni, gin and tonic, gin gimlet, and tom collins.
How you want to drink gin influences your storage practices, especially since it is a toss-up between refrigerating gin and keeping it outside at room temperature. If you want to drink your gin cold, storing it in the refrigerator is advised. Otherwise, keeping it somewhere away from direct sunlight at room temperature is also suitable. The danger or risk of keeping it in the refrigerator is access to liquor by minors, especially if the refrigerator is open to any member of the household. In this case, it is advisable to have a bedside fridge with a lock.
Make your own gin sling
The gin sling is a traditional drink and it is interesting to put a modern twist to it and see gin enthusiasts still interested in mixing this particular cocktail. For those who have had gin sling, drinking this cocktail can inspire a certain nostalgia, bringing back memories latched to the experience of drinking gin sling. For first-time drinkers of gin sling, this is an exciting trip filled with an interesting mix of taste and flavor – bitter, sweet, and sour.
This recipe yields one glass of gin sling.
- Gin, 1 1/2 ounces
- Sweet vermouth, 1 ounce
- Fresh lemon juice, 3/4 ounce
- Simple syrup, 1 ounce
- Soda water, 4 ounces
- A dash of bitters
- Lemon spiral for garnishing
- Clear soda
Step 1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters.
Step 2. Shake well.
Step 3. Fill a Collins glass with ice. Pour the contents of the shaker on the glass.
Step 4. Add soda to fill the glass. Garnish with lemon peel.