At the heart of all Gins is a small conifer Juniperis communis, whose “berries” have been valued for their health giving properties for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians had a myriad of uses for the juniper berries, which are actually soft scaled cones of the juniper plant containing oil rich seeds. The Gin we know today originated from the Dutch Genever which was first produced in or around the 16th century in the Low Countries. The original juniper berry waters were distilled using a wine base but this quickly changed to a grain base after a succession of wars and poor grape harvests. The commonly held belief is that British soldiers fighting in the Netherlands brought back to England a liking for the spirit they called “Dutch courage” at some point between 1560 and 1620. What we do know is that by the 1740’s the UK was distilling over 2 gallons of gin per year for every man, woman and child.
Evolution Of Gin
Old Tom Gin
Old Tom was a popular Gin style in 18th Century Britain, the liquid is slightly sweeter than London Dry but drier than Dutch Geneva, for this reason Old Tom is often regarded as the missing link between the two styles. It is widely believed that the sweeter style was designed to hide the poorly distilled base spirit and liquorice & angelica root were the key ingredients for this. Interestingly liquorice root is used by distillers for its glycyrrhizic acid, which is the compound that delivers its sweetness and is 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).
London Dry Gin
The style of gin known as London Dry Gin or just London Gin is a legal definition rather than an indication of where it was created. The Gin must be distilled to a minimum strength of 70% ABV and can only be created with approved natural flavourings. This is the style that we all know well today and took over from Old Tom in the 19th century as our favourite tipple.
Two Birds Speciality Cocktail Gin
This Double gold medal winning Gin uses exactly the same botanicals as found in London Dry Gin but by altering the distilling profile to bring out the individual flavours it creates a strong juniper-led London Dry style gin while still at an ABV of 40%. The first maceration of the botanicals is cold and then the heat input is tightly controlled in order to gently release the essential oils presented in the ingredients. Juniper is at the fore with vanilla and pepper notes and a smooth, clean sophisticated finish. A must for lovers of Gin.