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5 Of The Most Popular Gin Ingredients

5 Of The Most Popular Gin Ingredients

Anyone who is familiar with the way that gin is distilled will know that, on its own, gin doesn’t really taste like anything spectacular.

It’s the natural botanicals that are added during the distillation process that do, having been sourced from around the world and used to give gin its distinctive aromatic compounds.

There are hundreds and thousands of unique botanical compounds out there, and combining them is certainly an art form that only master distillers truly know how to do. Today, we are going to be taking a look at five of the most popular gin ingredients in the world.

Juniper Berries

Out of all of the illustrious and storied gin botanicals that exist in the world, juniper berries are by far the most important and the most distinctive. When we talk about the flavour of gin, the presence of juniper berries is usually responsible for creating the flavour that we are referring to.

As a raw ingredient, juniper berries are handpicked by specialist teams between October and February. These blue-hued berries can be found all over the world, but some of the most prestigious vines grow on the sun-kissed slopes of regions like Tuscany and Macedonia.

The predominant flavour that juniper berries add to gins is considered by many to be pine-like, but they also offer fragrant undertones of lavender, camphor and even overripe banana.

Try me in:

BLOOM London Dry Gin
Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
Edinburgh Gin’s Raspberry Liqueur
Golden Moon Gin

Angelica

Angelica is not at all dissimilar to juniper berries, but it has a much earthier palette. When we talk about angelica as a gin botanical, we are usually referring to either angelica root or angelica seed.

Angelica root is by far the most common of the two, whereas angelica seed is rarer. The latter is known for adding slight floral notes to a gin. The former is much earthier, offering a musky and yet sweet flavour that has a noteworthy pine-like edge. The best angelica root is said to be sourced from the Saxony region of Germany.

Try me in:

Edinburgh Gin’s Elderflower Liqueur
Gordon’s London Dry Gin
Griffiths Brothers Gin

Citrus Fruits

When we talk about citrus fruits as gin ingredients, we are actually talking about an entire range of different fruits and fruit rinds. Today, we are going to be focusing solely on the rinds of oranges and lemons, but we will be looking into other how other citrus fruits are used as gin botanicals in the near future.

Lemon Peel

Lemon peel is known for containing a high proportion of flavoursome oils that can be benefitted from during the distillation process. Before this process can occur, each lemon has to be hand-peeled and its skin has to be hung out to dry in the sun. Lemon rind adds a citrusy flavour to gin, and you can find the zesty, sweet layer that it brings listed as a quality that a lot of different gins have.

Orange Peel

Orange peel is slightly different when used as a gin botanical, as a lot of industry giants are still choosing to use bitter oranges over sweet ones. The orange peel is dried in the same way that lemon peel is, but it adds quite a bitter citrusy base to the gin that is usually best balanced out by other botanicals.

Try me in:

Foxdenton Lemon & Cucumber Gin Liqueur
Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin
Strathearn Citrus Gin
Sipsmith Orange & Cacao

Almonds

Almonds are a unique botanical when used in gin because they can be broken down into two different sub-types, sweet and bitter. Some gins that contain almonds end up tasting sweet like marzipan, whereas others end up with a full-bodied nuttiness.

Before almonds can be used as part of the distillation process, they have to be ground down into a very fine powder. Distinctive notes of vanilla and a gentle creaminess come hand in hand with the presence of almonds.

Try me in:

Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Sipsmith Sloe Gin
Williams Chase Seville Orange Gin

Liquorice

If you don’t like liquorice sweets, don’t worry. When used as a botanical, liquorice tastes nothing like liquorice sweets, and instead of leaving gin with a harsh bitterness that is quite difficult to palette it adds a sweet edge that can be used for rounding off the rough edge of a spirit.

Liquorice is harvested as a fibrous root, and it takes approximately three years to grow. When harvested, it has to be ground into a fine powder so that it can be used during the distillation process.

Gordons Pink Gin
Gordons Pink Gin

Try me in:

Adrift Distillers Gin
Bombay Sapphire East
Gordon’s Pink Gin

Exploring the World of Gin Botanicals

There you have it, a swift introduction to just a handful of the most important and most desirable gin ingredients in the world. We would highly recommend that you try different gins with different botanical combinations, to see whether or not there are any common ingredients that you really enjoy.