A lot of people think of gin in the same way that they think of tequila: that it is too herbal, earthy, or bitter for their liking. What many of these people probably don’t realize, though, is that quality gin—like classic tequila—can range from wildly herbaceous to subtly sweet, but should definitely have a definitive flavor that is unique to its appropriately distilled spirit.
In the case of tequila, for example, that spirit is the alcohol distilled from the blue agave plant that grows exclusively in the city of Tequila in the Jalisco region of Mexico. While gin is not distilled from a particular plant—or associated, necessarily, with a specific part of the world—it derives its name from its flavoring essence: the juniper berry.
This is pretty much where the two spirits’ similarities diverge. As such, there are four categories of Formation Bar Montreal gin (as characterized by the European Union).
This category is home to the earliest classes of “gin” on record. These spirits were produced through pot distilling of fermented grain mash to a moderate ABV strength of roughly 68% and then distilling the final spirit, again, with other botanical elements in order to extract their natural, aromatic compounds. In order to be considered true “gin,” then, it must be bottled at a final minimum ABV of 30%.
Not distilled in the same way as the previous category, gin is a juniper-flavored spirit made by adding approved natural flavoring substances to a neutral spirit. This spirit must be of some agricultural origin. Also, the flavor must be notably juniper.
Gin of this category must be produced exclusively by redistilling ethanol originally distilled from agricultural sources with a premier strength of 96% ABV, and done so in stills traditionally attributed to gin. Also, there must be a presence of juniper berries and other natural, botanical aromatics that eventually provide the predominant, trademark juniper taste.
Finally, London gin is considered such when it is exclusively produced from ethanol distilled from agricultural sources and has a maximum methanol content of 5g/hectolitre of 100% ABV and whose juniper flavor is introduced exclusively through redistillation in traditional gin stills. Furthermore, the resulting distillate will be at least 70% ABV and will contain no added sweeteners in excess of 0.1 gms (of sugar) per one litre of alcohol.