Gin is a distilled alcoholic spirit. It is flavored primarily using juniper berries. The word “gin” is believed to come from Genever. It is the Dutch word for Juniper.
It’s the base for many popular mixed drinks. Such as,
- The Martini
- The Singapore sling
- Gin and tonic
Microdistillery produces gin in small batches using the slower distillation process. They don’t add any sweeteners, artificial flavoring, or artificial coloring.
The process of Gin making
In some distilleries, everything is done by hand. The starts the process with the main ingredient juniper berries. Then spices are added starting with dried angelica plant roots, coriander seeds, lemon peel, and cardamom. Then all these ingredients add into a 90-gallon copper still. A spirit distilled from fermented grain is already in the still.
The content in the still is completely tasteless but has an alcohol content of 95%. But to bring it down to 40%, to the level that can be consumed by humans, they diluted it with spring water.
Now the whole content in the still is prepared to redistill with the spices. That gives the spirit its distinct gin flavor.
So to do that, they slowly heat the bottom of the still. And in about an hour, the alcohol boils and begins to evaporate. But they continue this distilling process for about six hours. while constantly monitoring the temperature. If the temperature reaches 212 degrees the water will also evaporate. And that will ruin the batch.
The evaporated alcohol steam rises up and out of the still. Through pipes that lead to a chilled stainless steel tank. When the hot steam hits the cold the steam begins to condense back to a liquid. That liquid is Gin.
But throughout the distillation process, they take samples to measure the density and the temperature. And those readings used to measure the current alcohol level. And they adjust the distillation speed as required to maintain the target alcohol level of 76%.
The middle of each batch is known as the heart of the distillation. Only that batch is collected.
Some distilleries add another step to this process. They infuse the gin with raw parsnips. It gives gin an earthy flavor and subtle floral aroma. So they gather enough parsnips, peel and slice them, and place them in a tank. They pump in the gin.
After a couple of days. They pump it through filters on the way to a storage tank. Then they dilute the gin with water to lower the alcohol level to 43%.
Before bottling the gin, the distillery gathers samples for quality control testing. They examine the color, the aroma, and of course the taste. There will be slight variations in the flavor based on the freshness of the parsnips.
Most of the microdistilleries don’t have automated bottling lines. So they fill the bottles by hand. Only six at a time using a filling machine. They cork each bottle individually using a hand-operated press. Then a plastic sleeve was applied and heat shrunk the neck tightly.
The consumer has to remove the seal by pulling a small gold tab. And then can uncork the bottle.
They label the bottles, one bottle at a time using a hand-operated machine. This is the process of making London dry gin. That means the gin is made with traditional ingredients without added sweeteners or colorings.
This is how gin was made before the age of large commercial distilleries.