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On the latest Tuesday Tipple, we look at one of the most popular drinks of recent years, and highlight 7 things you need to know about gin!
1. Gin is Vodka. Sort of.
Or could have been in another life anyway. Gin might have a ton more flavour, but that flavour is infused into what is essentially a totally neutral spirit: vodka. How the juniper and other selected botanicals are infused into the spirit can be done a number different ways (the best being re-distilling the gin with the botanicals). But if you were to interrupt the process at a certain point, before the flavouring of the spirit, you’d end up bottling vodka. Not gin.
2. Gin wants to be in your cocktails.
You are often expected to drink tequila and mescal as shots. Vodka is served chilled with food (zakuski – small canape like dishes that are designed to follow each shot!) in its homeland of Russia. Whiskey drinkers are known to add a single ice cube or a splash of waters. However, something you need to know about gin is that it was designed to be mixed. The botanicals (herbs, spices etc.) come to life in cocktails and add complexity to the drink. This is why so many classic cocktails call for gin. The Gimlett, Negroni and Aviation to name but a few!
3. Oddly enough, London dry gin does not have to come from London…
Gin does not carry the same geographical restrictions as many other spirits such as cognac, scotch or tequila. This means that London dry gin is defined as a style – rather than a place of production! It refers to a gin that is made under a series of complex EU regulations put in place in February 2008. ( That you can read in full here should you wish! )
4. The Philippines drink the most gin.
The global sale of the spirit is now just over three hundred million bottles, and almost half of this is consumed in the Philippines! The country drinks over 22 million cases of Ginebra San Miguel. This gin accounts for 43% of the worldwide gin market, however, most people outside the Philippines have never heard of it. I certainly hadn’t!
5. The oldest working distillery in the world is located in Plymouth, England.
The Plymouth Distillery is the oldest working distillery in England. It has been making Plymouth Gin according to the original recipe since 1793! The beautiful distillery started life as a monastery in the early 1400’s. There’s been a few alterations since then. But the Refectory Room ( a medieval hall with a fine hull-shaped timber roof built in 1431 ) is protected as a national monument and is one of the city’s most precious heritage sites. A must visit for both gin drinkers and history buffs!
6. Juniper is still (mostly) harvested wild.
Unsurprisingly, the gin industry uses massive amounts of juniper berries. Surprisingly, these little fellas are not widely cultivated. They are usually picked in the ‘wild’ by independent workers throughout Europe, and sold to the gin makers of the world.
7. Irish gin distillers aim for five million in bottle sales by 2022.
Pat Rigney, chair of the Irish gin working group in the Irish Spirits Association and founder of The Shed Distillery, said: “Irish gin is already regarded as a world leader in terms of quality and authenticity.
“As sales begin to increase at home and abroad, we want to ensure that we can take advantage of this positive growth trajectory by developing world-leading, consumer-focused standards, building on Ireland’s reputation for great food and drink.”
That’s it for this week and 7 things you need to know about gin. But if you fancy finding out a bit more about one of the nations favourite white wines pop on over to our last #TuesdayTipple here – An introduction to Sauvignon Blanc.