Gin is a mixture of alcohol and water that has been flavoured with juniper berries and other natural botanical ingredients such as seeds, flowers, barks and roots.
Gin is also frequently served as an aperitif, mixed with sparkling tonic water and a slice of lemon or lime. Other famous concoctions include the Singapore Sling, Negroni and the Tom Collins. A hugely popular spirit, it is often mixed with vermouth to make one of the most popular cocktails in the world – a martini.
The origins of Gin date back to the mid-1500s when a doctor from the Netherlands stumbled across the formula while seeking a cure for stomach pains. It quickly took off, particularly in England.
The alcohol used in gin, which can be derived either from grain or sugar cane, has no flavour of its own so the drink relies on juniper berries and other botanical elements, many of which vary from one producer to another. Common additions include cinnamon, orange peel, cardamom, coriander and nutmeg. A typical gin will have up to 10 of these flavourings.
Popular brands include Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s and Beefeater. In recent years different production methods and ingredients have led to an explosion of boutique style gins, such as Hendricks, Sipsmith, and The Botanist.
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