When drinking gin, you should be doing something classy. Playing croquet. Brushing your horse. Looking fancy at a cocktail party you're indifferent about. That's the vibe gin gives off. Despite those high-society connotations, gin has a sordid past. After allowing individuals to produce it without a license, a gin craze swept England. Drunkeness amongst the lower class became so prevalent the government had to impose heavy taxes to decrease availability.
To make gin, any neutral spirit is infused with a variety botanicals, which must include juniper berries. Those are what give it that Christmas tree aroma. Other than the presence of juniper, though, there are very few rules for producing gin. The result is typically high-proof, light-bodied and clean.
Types of Gin:
London Dry Gin is the default definition of spirit, but there are many styles, including:
London Dry Gin: doesn't have to be made in London or even England, though juniper must be the primary flavor.
Modern Gin: downplays the presence of juniper in favor of other botanicals such as citrus, coriander, rose, cucumber or lavender. Appeals to those who don't care for the pine tree characteristics of juniper.
Plymouth Gin: must be made in Plymouth, England. Slightly sweeter than London Dry Gin with an earthy character.
Barrel-Aged Gin: aged in oak barrels, unlike other gins, giving it a malty spirit that allows it to be drank neat.
How to Drink It:
Up until the early 1900s, gin was the go-to spirit for cocktails. In fact, gin was rarely served straight. While barrel-aged gin is best enjoyed neat, most gins shine when mixed. Gin & Tonics and Martinis are the place to start. From there, move on to Negronis, Singapore Slings, Gimlets and more.