Since it was first discovered by the British in the Dutch War of Independence, gin’s infamous reputation has made it the most popular alcoholic drink ever created. From ‘Gin & Sin’ nights to ‘Gin & Tonic’ tea bags, it’s clearly an addiction and on trend. Gin cocktail anyone?
This versatile drink is here to stay, especially in Australia where it’s just getting started. There has been a huge explosion in the Australian Gin category recently. Since Bill Lark set up the first distillery in Tasmania in the 1990s, there are now over 150 gin producers in Australia today. We are producing some of the most amazing gins in the World, with brands like Four Pillars being the fastest growing gin brand in the World.
I am sure you have lots of questions about gin. How is gin made? How to make the best gin cocktails at home. Keep reading to solve your gin curiosity, once and for all.
A Brief History of Gin
Most of the spirits we are lucky to have today were originally produced for medicinal purposes. Gin is no exception. Made from grain and juniper berries, the strong elixir was used to treat gout and dysplasia. It was believed to help alleviate pain when taken in large quantities, but that theory only lasted temporarily. Here’s how people have consumed gin throughout the centuries.
The Gin Craze
When the British first imported gin from Holland (the birthplace of gin), it was love at first taste for many. The Gin Craze was a period in 18th century England where people, especially the poor, consumed gin excessively and uncontrollably. It turned into an alcoholic epidemic.
Gin was a cheap drink that everyone could afford, and for the working-class Londoners, it was also a safe escape from the backbreaking work in the workhouses. “By the 1740s, gin consumption in Britain had reached an average of over six gallons per person every year”.
Taverns and gin joints allowed women to drink gin together with men for the first time, which is thought to have led to child neglect and prostitution. As a result, gin earned the nickname “Mother’s Ruin.” These debaucherous times led to the legislation of the Gin Act in 1736, after eight failed attempts at trying to control the gin craze.
The Roaring 1920s
The 1920s, also known as the “Cocktail Age” and Prohibition, allowed for many alcoholic drinks to be produced in secret. Gin was one of the easiest and cheapest to produce, a good reason why it was so popular during Prohibition. This was also the reason why many of the cocktails during this era were made with gin.
What is Gin and How is it Made?
Gin is made from fermented grain such as wheat and barley or potatoes and grapes, which are distilled. Its distinct flavour comes from juniper berries and other herbs and spices, which are added to the fermented grain, along with water.
The flavour of gin depends on the different methods of distilling and the array of botanicals it is produced with. It is the different botanicals, in addition to the various methods of distillation, that make each gin so unique.
Is Gin Good for You?
Some might say that gin is probably the healthiest alcoholic beverage there is. This is because gin is made from Juniper Berries, which is a superfood.
The use of Juniper berries in medicinal concoctions dates back to Medieval times. This fruit has superpowers, and the benefits you can reap from it are countless. It has high nutritional value, it is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, reduces blood sugar and cholesterol and promotes heart health. Not to mention, it is also very low in sugar and calories, making it a perfect beverage for all that are watching their waistline.
But that doesn’t mean you should down a glass of gin every day to ward off diseases, like it’s still the 1800’s. It is alcohol, which means moderation is the key. This also goes for gin cocktails too.
Classic Gin Cocktails
Now that you have answers to all your gin-related questions let’s see which gin cocktails are the most popular and how to make them at home.
The good old classic martini is the most popular gin cocktail in the World. Made with gin and dry vermouth, with an olive or a lemon twist. Sipping this gin cocktail can make you feel like you are in a Bond movie. Your martini is best served ice cold, so stir it over ice until chilled and strain it into a chilled martini glass, then garnish.
If you don’t have all the ingredients to make it at home, this martini cocktail kit has got you covered not once, but 4 times! And don’t forget what they say about this classic cocktail: “One martini is alright. Two is too many, and three is not enough”. But who’s counting, right?
This refreshing and bubbly gin cocktail is perfect for summer nights on the terrace, overlooking the bustling city life.
Making a Tom Collins at home is as easy as it gets. All you need is lemon juice, soda water, syrup and gin. You can shake the lemon juice, syrup and gin first, then top with soda. Or you can simply build your Tom Collins in a glass. If you have decided on making a Tom Collins, the kind you would get at a bar, then serve in a Collins glass and add a maraschino cherry, as well as a lemon slice.
If you fancy sampling this delicious cocktail without stocking up on all the ingredients, then this thirst quenching Tom Collins cocktail kit should do the trick. Bonus: It is made with local Australian ingredients, and you get to make three perfect serves. Win-Win!
Corpse Reviver #2
If you want to lift your spirits after a long day, the Corpse Reviver #2 is your drink. Don’t let the name fool you. This classic gin cocktail has a zingy taste with a hint of anise.
Originally invented to raise drinkers from the dead (aka cure a hangover), this potent blend is an ideal “morning-after cocktail.” So, what is it made of that makes it so good for next-day emergencies? You would be surprised.
Here is what you need for a classic Corpse Reviver #2:
- 1 dash absinthe (for rinsing the chilled cocktail glass)
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc or dry Vermouth
- 1 oz orange liqueur
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Orange peel, for garnish
Put all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain it into a cocktail glass and garnish with the orange peel. As scary as it sounds, this gin cocktail actually has a percentage of alcohol by volume similar to a martini and it’s delicious.
A classic Negroni is a blend of spicy and fruity flavours. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
Made with gin, Campari and sweet Vermouth, garnished with orange slices, this Italian gin cocktail is sure to bring back some bittersweet memories.
For the authentic bar experience, stir equal parts of the ingredients and serve over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Give this Negroni cocktail kit a try, made with all local Australian ingredients.
Reading about these delicious recipes might have made you thirsty. And while they will surely stimulate the taste buds, there are so many other cocktails made with gin you should try and make at home. If you fancy an easy night in with bar quality cocktails pre made for you, check out our selection of bottled cocktails and discover which gin cocktail is your favourite.