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What is Gin? – A Guide

gin

Gin and its Lowlands cousin Genever (Jenever in Belgium) are white spirits that are flavored with juniper berries and so-called botanicals (a varied assortment of herbs and spices). The spirit base of Gin is primarily grain (usually wheat or rye), which results in a light-bodied spirit.

Genever is made primarily from “malt wine” (a mixture of malted barley, wheat, corn, and rye), which produces a fuller-bodied spirit similar to raw malt whisky. A small number of genevers in Holland and Belgium are distilled directly from fermented juniper berries, producing a particularly intensely flavored spirit.

The chief flavoring agent in both Gin and Genever is the highly aromatic blue-green berry of the juniper, a low-slung evergreen bush (genus Juniperus) that is commercially grown in northern Italy, Croatia, the United States and Canada. Additional botanicals can include anise, angelica root, cinnamon, orange peel, coriander, and cassia bark. All Gin and Genever makers have their own secret combination of botanicals, the number of which can range from as few as four to as many as 15.

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