Gins are basically neutral spirits flavored either by distillation or compounding, with juniper berries and other seeds, berries, roots, fruits, and herbs these are referred to as gin botanicals. Gin is famous for botanicals, and spirit to be classified as gin should have some parts of juniper, which gives the pine taste to the spirit, and then gin distillers are free to choose their botanicals.
This freedom to choose botanicals makes gin one of the most diverse liquors. Distillers differ from themselves by using various levels of one botanical or other, also by adding plants and herbs from the local vegetation. There are hundreds of botanicals used widely to flavor gin, here are the top ten commonly used botanicals.
Top 10 Gin Botanicals
Juniper berries are key to flavor in all the gins, it belongs to the cypress family and the berries used in producing gin are usually from Italy, Serbia, Macedonia, and India. The best juniper berries are from the mountain slopes in Tuscany and Macedonia. Earlier the juniper was considered as a spice for medicinal purposes.
The second most essential flavor used in most of the gins, coriander seeds used for making gin is highly produced in Morocco, Romania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, and Russia and the seeds vary enormously by region, for instance, seeds from Bulgaria have a strong aroma as compared to Moroccan seeds. Coriander is the dried seeds of the cilantro plant and has a complex taste that is a little spicy and citrusy.
Roots of Angelica plant are commonly used but flowers and seeds are also used as gin botanicals, it holds a volatile flavor of other botanicals and unites them together giving length and substance to gin. Angelica has a musky and nutty sweet flavor with a piney dry edge generally similar to a mushroom. Most distillers feel the smoothest and fruity angelica is from the Saxony region in Germany.
Orris root is derived from the iris flower and is similar to ginger, this gin botanical has a floral and sweet aroma and also has a perfumed character. Three to four years old iris plants are harvested and stored for more two to three years to allow the flavor to mature. The main source of Orris root is from Florence in Italy is quite bitter and tastes like Perma violets and cold stewed tea. Orris Root has an ability to hold and fix the other botanicals and to add perfumed notes to the gin.
The cardamom pods are from the aromatic plant grown in the Malabar region of south-western India, it contains tiny seeds. There are two types of cardamom green and black, the green one is widely used as the gin botanicals because they are delicate. Cardamom is spicy and adds eucalyptus flavor to gin.
The huge source of cinnamon is from Sri Lanka and is commonly used to add a spicy edge to gin. Just like cassia, it is also tree barks rolled into quills.
The aromatic underground stem of the plant-derived from Sout-East Asia. This gin botanical adds a distinctive scent and adds hot flavor and is used carefully in gin.
The source of Liquorice is from Indo China, it has a hard fibrous root which is grounded into a powder for gin distilling, It adds a Liquorice flavor to the gin but also a light, bittersweet and woody-earthy taste. This gin botanical affs length, sweetening as well as softening and rounding off a gin. The unusual factor about this botanical is that the flavor is carried by the Glyceric acid rather than the essential oil.
Orange peel is from Spain and often Seville and its harvested in March, Exactly same as a lemon the peel has is used rather than flesh because the peel has most of the flavors.
Distillers used different types of oranges some prefer bitter and other sweet. This gin botanical adds fresh, citrusy juicy orange flavor to gin.
Lemon peel is preferred to flavor gin as compared to the flesh because the sink has a high portion of the fruit’s flavour and oils. Most of the distillers use lemons from Andalucia and South Spain where the lemon is hand peeled and dried in the sun. Lemon zests adds fresh and citrusy lemon flavour to the gin
Learn more about gin , and check out easy gin cocktails here!