As the weekend arrives, we all want to relax with a nice glass of alcohol. What better than a glass of gin to get the weekend started? Moreover, if you are a James Bond fan, I am sure you also must want to have your martini shaken, not stirred. But are you a little skeptical about trying it because you have never tasted gin? For that, you have come to the right place.
There are various types of gins in the world that have slightly varying flavors. However, the overall flavor of gin can be best described as citrusy and pine-like, accompanied by a mild amount of bitterness. The citrus flavor comes from various citrus peels that are usually added to gin, and the pine-like flavor is because of juniper berries.
Gin is claimed to be invented in the 16th century in the Netherlands and was originally prescribed for medicinal purposes. However, gin slowly made its way to the UK, where, due to its low cost, it became the drink of choice for most. Now, the United Kingdom is one of the largest producers of gin in the world.
Gin can be had as it is, however, due to its strong flavor, most people prefer drinking it with tonic water. Gin is also an essential ingredient in a lot of cocktails like gin fizz, Tom Collins, negroni, gimlet, and, of course, martinis!
So, in case you want to experiment with new alcohol flavors or just live upto your dream of having a martini like James Bond, it is always safer to know what the flavor of gin is like. So, read further to know all you can about gin!
What Is Gin?
I know most of you already know that gin is a spirit alcoholic drink, just like vodka or rum. But, what is it made with, and how did this drink come to be? What actually does give gin the striking flavor that it has? Let me answer all these questions for you so that you can know all about this alcoholic beverage before you dive into it.
Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage with its predominant flavor coming from Juniper berries. It is made from a base grain like wheat or barley, which is first fermented and then distilled. Juniper berries and other botanicals are added to it along with water to get the desired alcohol level and flavor.
It mainly originated as a liquor used for medicinal purposes by monks and alchemists in Europe, more specifically in Italy and Netherlands. However, it is now one of the most popularly consumed and enjoyed alcoholic beverages in the world.
Although the original and the most dominant flavor of gin is always that of juniper berries, gin is now made in various ways with different flavorings. Some of these common flavorings include citrus, anise, cinnamon, coriander, and even nutmeg.
What Does Gin Taste Like?
I don’t know about everyone, but I always had a dream to go to a bar and order a shaken, not stirred martini. But, I never had the guts to do so until I knew what gin tastes like.
So, before you go order a martini or just a simple gin and tonic, it is important to know what it tastes like, just to know whether you will like it or not. So, let us discover in detail what exactly gin tastes like.
Gin is usually consumed by most people with either tonic water or in the form of cocktails. So, usually, the flavor does get blended with various other flavors present in the drink.
However, if you do plan to taste gin on its own, the predominant flavor that is present in all varieties of gin is anise and pine-like because of the juniper berries. Juniper berries are added to give gin that distinct flavor.
This is because the base grain used to make gin, like wheat or barley, is quite neutral in flavor, even after being distilled. Along with a pine-like taste from the juniper berries, most gin varieties also have a citrus flavor to them.
The citrus flavor comes from the addition of citrus peels to most varieties of gin. These two will be the base flavors that you will find in all types of gin.
Other than that, a lot of varieties also have other botanicals added to them, which can give them more complex flavors such as cinnamon flavor, licorice flavor, or even coriander flavor.
Gin usually has a dry mouthfeel to it. Dry gin is a gin that has no other artificial flavors added to it and only has predominant flavors of the main two botanicals, juniper berries, and citrus. In case of gin has a sweet flavor, it has artificial flavors added to it, such as licorice or any other spices that are mentioned above.
Is Gin Sweet Or Bitter?
Most of us who have consumed any sort of alcoholic spirit know that they all have a slightly bitter flavor to them. Gin is also an alcoholic spirit, with a pungent taste of juniper berries and a citrus-like flavor. However, many may have wondered whether the flavor of gin is sweet or bitter. So, let me tell you what exactly the flavor of gin is like.
The flavor of gin is mildly sweet and also bitter. The bitterness and pungent flavor come from the addition of juniper berries, which give it a pine-like flavor. Though called mildly sweet, the sweetness is mostly in undertones. Bitterness will be a more pronounced flavor as compared to sweetness.
Does Gin Taste Like Whiskey?
Gin and whiskey are both alcoholic beverages preferred by many in the world. Whiskey and gin actually have a lot of differences when it comes to the raw materials used to make it, the production process, and also where they both come from.
However, people who have never tried gin might want to compare its flavor with known alcohol. So, let me explain whether gin tastes like whiskey or not. The way gin and whiskey are made is quite different. This accounts for a difference in their flavors too.
While gin has a strong piney flavor along with citrus coming from the juniper berries, whiskey has a more oak-like flavor. However, there is a variety of gin that is aged inside a barrel. This particular variety of gin has similarities in flavor with whiskey, just because of the aging process.
Does Gin Taste Like Vodka?
Due to the presence of compound gin, a lot of people often confuse the flavors of vodka. Yes, compound gin is usually vodka which has been steeped with various botanicals to give it a gin-like flavor. However, other than compound gin, there are certain differences in the flavor of these two spirits.
Vodka is usually flavorless and odorless, well, unless it is flavored vodka. Gin, whichever type you may buy, will always have the base pine flavor coming from juniper berries.
Due to the differences in flavors between the two, they are also served in different ways. Vodka being colorless and flavorless, is the most preferred spirit for cocktails.
The lack of flavor in vodka makes it easy to pair it with other ingredients. Gin is also a preferred spirit for many cocktails. However, these cocktails are carefully crafted in a way that the flavor of the gin does not clash with other flavors.
Does Gin Taste Like Tequila?
Tequila is another spirit that is liked by a lot of people. While comparing the flavors of gin and tequila, there are a lot of notable differences between the two. So, let me tell you how exactly these two spirits taste different from each other.
Gin, regardless of the brand and type, always has an underlying flavor of juniper berries. The juniper berries in gin give it a pine-like flavor with notes of citrus. With tequila, on the other hand, the flavor usually depends on where the tequila is made.
Tequila made in the highlands has more earthy notes, whereas tequila made in the lowlands is sweeter. These flavors are quite different from the base flavor of gin.
What Does Gin And Tonic Taste Like?
Gin and tonic is the go-to drink when it comes to drinking gin. Most people prefer having their gin with tonic water, as it does add a lot to the flavor of gin. This is, of course if gin is not a part of a cocktail.
Tonic water is a carbonated drink that contains a compound called quinine. The quinine gives tonic water a bitter taste with sweet undertones. Now let me tell you about what the combination of gin and tonic tastes like.
When it comes to the flavor of a classic Gin and Tonic, the flavor may vary slightly, depending on the type and brand of gin used to make it. Overall, the flavor can be described as quite zesty, with mostly bitter but slightly sweet undertones of flavor.
Even in a gin and tonic, the pine-like and citrus flavors of gin shine out. The overall flavor is, however, not as sharp as drinking gin straight.
Different Brands Of Gin And Their Taste.
Just like various other types of alcohol, the gin also has different types. The three main types of gin are distilled gin, redistilled gin, and compound gin. Distilled gin is made by fermenting a distilled alcohol base, whereas redistilled gin is made by the second distillation of a neutral spirit.
Compound gin is less common and usually has botanicals mixed with neutral spirits. Other than this, there are various styles of gin available in the market. The ten most common varieties of gin made in the world, along with their flavors, are given below.
|London Dry||Predominant flavor of juniper berries|
|Plymouth Gin||Soft-bodied compared to London dry with a dominant flavor of juniper berries.|
|Old Tom Gin||Sweeter than London dry and Plymouth|
|Genever Gin||Pine-like with a malty flavor|
|Contemporary Gin||The flavor of other botanicals with a very mild flavor of juniper berries|
|Barrel-aged Gin||Pine-like and woody flavor|
|Sloe Gin||The predominant bitter flavor of sloe berries|
|Aviation Gin||Juniper berry flavor with a floral sweetness|
|Empress Gin||Juniper berry flavor with floral and citrus hints|
|Hendricks Gin||Citrus and juniper with a refreshing taste of cucumber and rose|
What Does Gin Taste Best With?
Mostly, gin is preferred by people when mixed with a mixer, rather than having it straight. Of course, there are a lot of people that prefer having their gin straight! However, for people trying gin for the first time, they mostly prefer mixing it with something to tone down the flavor.
So, for everyone trying gin for the first time, you may be wondering what can enhance the flavor of gin. Other than tonic water, there are some ingredients that do so, and they are given below.
Other than tonic water, soda also works well as a mixer for gin. Soda usually subdues the flavor of gin a little bit, making it more palatable for people having it the first time.
Moreover, with soda, there is no additional flavor added to gin, as soda is mostly just a little sweet. So, to get the actual flavor of the botanicals in gin, mixing it with soda water is a great option.
To add to the citrus flavor of the gin, you can also add some lemon juice on top. Other than that, topping gin with a lime wedge also works wonderfully well. Serve it over ice in a highball glass.
Vermouth, particularly dry vermouth, is used to make gin cocktails like a martini. Dry vermouth gives the gin a cool and bitter taste. There is also a variation of vermouth that is sweet.
However, most martinis are made with dry vermouth as it balances the flavors better. There also are certain cocktails that are made with gin and sweet vermouth.
Some of these cocktails are negroni made in different ways and orange blossom. Martinis can also be made with sweet vermouth, however, you will have to add a citrus element to balance the flavors better.
3. Tonic Water
This is the most popular mixer paired with gin. Quite often, tonic water tends to contain a lot of sugar in it. So, it is important to select a brand of tonic water with a less amount of sugar to get the classic G & T experience.
If you do select tonic water with a lot of added sugar, you will barely be able to taste the gin. So, it is quite important to choose a type that is low in sugar.
For most recipes of gin mixed with tonic water, the proportion of the two is often equal. However, this does somewhat depend on the brand and strength of the gin.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a great mixer with gin as it intensifies the citrus flavor of gin. It will only give a sour and zesty flavor to gin.
The most famous cocktail made with lemon juice and gin is Tom Collins. It does, however, have an addition of simple syrup. Simple syrup often balances out the citrus flavor.
Moreover, adding simple syrup to any cocktail or drink is definitely great for people that prefer to have sweeter drinks. However, for people who prefer citrus flavors, gin, lemon juice and ice are a great combination.
Another variant of lemon that can be used as a mixer for gin is lemonade. Lemonade is a good option to use in case you want a sweeter flavor and tone down the flavor of gin.
Using lemonade in place of lemon juice will definitely make a huge difference to your drink. This is because lemonade is a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors.
The balanced flavor of sweetness and tartness helps elevate the citrus flavor of gin. Also at the same time, the sweetness of the lemonade tones down the overall flavor a little bit. A great option for people trying gin for the first time.
6. Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice has sweet and tropical flavors that pair well with gin. Pineapple juice, along with some soda, will give you an extremely refreshing drink.
There are in fact, a lot of variants of gin and tonic that do contain some amount of pineapple juice in them. Pineapple juice will also pair well with gin, if you add some lemon juice to it.
The lemon juice will bring out the citrus flavors, whereas the pineapple juice will add a refreshing tropical flavor. Moreover, the natural sweetness of pineapples will balance out the tart flavor of gin and lemon juice.
Things You Should Look For While Buying Gin
Unlike fresh ingredients that we do know have an expiration date, it is difficult to tell with alcohol if it is of good quality, as there are no obvious signs of it going bad. So, with other ingredients, we all know what signs to look out for while buying them to make sure they are not of bad quality.
As gin has a very high alcohol by volume content, it will not go bad for a really long time. However, if not stored properly, the quality can go down. Given below are some steps on how to get the best gin.
- While buying gin, make sure you know the flavors of different varieties of gin.
- Knowing the flavors will make it easier for you to pick the type that you like.
- Make sure you read the label of the gin to check the flavor, type, and alcohol value.
- There are very slim chances of this happening, but check if the gin has any tiny floating particles.
- If it does, the gin has gone bad and should not be bought.
Some Delicious Gin Cocktails
By now, you all probably know that gin is quite preferred when it comes to cocktails. There are wide varieties of gin cocktails from all over the world. In this section, I have mentioned some of the most popular gin cocktails that you can try for yourself!
- Gin And Tonic- Gin and tonic, also known as G & T, is the most preferred and popular gin drink almost everywhere. Delicious and made with simple ingredients, gin and tonic bring out the best flavor combination of citrus and juniper berries.
- Martini- Martini is another classic cocktail that can easily be made at home. Made with gin, vermouth, and lemon, this cocktail will give you the classic James Bond feeling!
- Gin Fizz- Gin fizz is an iconic cocktail from the 1870s! This classic will for sure make you fall in love with gin. Made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, soda, and egg white, this cocktail has a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors.
- Negroni- Negroni is an Italian cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and Campari. All you have to do is combine equal parts of each and pour it over ice. It’s as simple as that!
- Gibson- Gibson is a classic gin cocktail that is very similar to a martini. Made with almost the same ingredients, just with the addition of cocktail onions, this cocktail is worth a try for anyone that likes martinis!
- Gimlet- Gimlet is a refreshing cocktail made with gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup. The sweetness of the simple syrup balances out extremely well with the citrus and juniper berry flavor.
How To Store Gin Properly?
Now all of you know that the quality of gin will not deteriorate unless it is not stored properly. But what is the right way to store a spirit? Can it be kept in the refrigerator or freezer? I have answered all these questions for you and also shared some tips on how gin will stay fresh and have its natural taste for a longer time.
1. In A Cool And Dry Place
One way to safely store gin, regardless of whether the bottle is opened or not, is to store it in a cool and dry place. This usually keeps the gin fresh for a long time and will not alter the flavor. However, do make sure that there are no heat sources or direct sunlight around.
2. In The Refrigerator
Storing gin in the refrigerator is also a great way to preserve its freshness and natural flavor. Moreover, when gin is stored in the refrigerator, it gets down to a cool temperature and gives the gin a softer mouthfeel.
3. In The Freezer
Gin can also be stored in the freezer to preserve its natural flavor. Don’t worry, storing your gin in the freezer will not actually freeze your gin! The alcohol by volume content in gin is extremely high, making it almost impossible for gin to freeze. Freezing gin will also give it an overall better mouthfeel.
Although, it is best to store gin in the freezer about an hour before you plan on serving it for it to have that perfect temperature and the smooth mouthfeel that comes along with it.
Health Benefits Of Gin
A lot of you may know that gin was originally made for medicinal purposes. So, it wouldn’t be a surprise for most when I say gin has a lot of health benefits. Although, it is important to remember that although gin does have a lot of health benefits, it still has a high amount of alcohol content in it.
So, overconsumption of any sort of alcohol should be avoided at all costs. Regardless, given below are some of the health benefits of gin.
1. Fights Infections
The main botanical added to gin is juniper berries. Juniper berries have a high level of vitamin C and flavonoids. These two compounds play an important role in fighting infections. Juniper berries are also in general very warm.
2. Fights Cough
Juniper berries have various antioxidants, along with antifungal and anti-microbial properties. These antioxidants and properties help clear coughs and sore throats. In case you want to have gin for this specific health reason, it is best to not keep it in the refrigerator, as that will diminish all the effects of juniper berries.
3. Helps Keep The Skin Healthy
Certain antioxidants present in juniper berries help keep the skin healthy and fresh. People often know that certain berries have antioxidants that help keep the skin healthy and young. However, most people may not have associated this property with juniper berries. Juniper berries have all the right antioxidants to help you look young for a longer time.
4. Prevents Bloating And UTIs
Juniper berries are a diuretic and prevent water retention. This in turn, helps all the toxins flush out from the body, as gin increases the frequency of urination. This particular characteristic helps prevent Urinary Tract Infections and Bloating.
5. Helps With Digestion
The botanicals present in gin help aid stomach enzymes. Gin also helps prevent heartburn. Moreover, gin is also not that high in calories and is overall a healthier spirit. So, it can also be a good choice for people who are trying to watch their weight.
Nutritional Content Of Gin
By now, you are aware of almost everything related to gin. So, why not know about its nutritional values too? A lot of you will be pleased to know that gin is actually lower in calories and has less sugar as compared to many other types of liquors. Moreover, the juniper berries in gin are said to have a lot of health benefits related to them.
However, with alcohol, it is very important to be careful about the quantity you consume. While a little bit of alcohol has often been linked to having positive effects on the body, you should never consume too much.
Certain studies have shown that overconsumption of alcohol can have adverse effects like Type 2 diabetes and heart issues. Nevertheless, the table below has all the information about the nutritional contents of gin.
|Nutrient||Amount (42 grams)|
Gin is a distilled alcoholic drink first made in the Netherlands for medicinal purposes. It was made popular and commercially available in the United Kingdom. It has a pine-like flavor along with citrus due to the predominance of juniper berries added to it for flavor.
Gin works well in a number of cocktails and can be served on its own. However, gin should be consumed in moderation due to its high alcohol by volume content.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is gin?
Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage.
What does gin taste like?
Gin has a pine-like flavor with citrus notes due to the addition of juniper berries and citrus peel to it.
Is gin from the United Kingdom?
No, gin was actually first made in the Netherlands. It became popular in the United Kingdom as it was commercially available due to its low price.
Does gin go bad?
Gin does not really go bad for a really long time. However, its quality and taste may deteriorate if it is not stored properly.
Can you store gin in the freezer?
Yes, gin can be stored in the refrigerator and freezer.
Why doesn’t gin freeze?
As gin has a very high alcohol by volume content, it does not freeze.
How do you drink gin?
Gin can be had straight, on the rocks, with tonic water, in cocktails, and also be mixed with tea!
Is gin healthy?
Gin has no amount of fat in it and has a lower amount of calories and sugar as compared to various other spirits.
Is gin stronger than vodka?
The alcohol by volume content of gin and vodka is almost identical, so they are both equally strong.