Gin is certainly one of the most internationally renowned spirits, enjoyed both straight and mixed. It brings an antique tradition into modern day life with its unfaltering production process and ingredients that have stood the test of time.
Today we embark on an exploration of the origins and peculiarities of this cherished spirit, an introduction to the essential ingredients for the most illustrious Gin cocktails to savor in a variety of occasions.
Gin is a distilled spirit made from fermented malt or grain that has also been infused with juniper and other botanicals. This aromatic herb and its old English name, genever, is how Gin got its name. It is said that the earliest existence of this spirit can be traced back to a monastery in southern Italy where monks had attempted to preserve the medicinal properties of juniper through the use of alcohol and distillation.
The Italian medicinal recipe for Gin was revisited across Europe over time. Initially, the intent remained focused on preserving the medicinal qualities of juniper with interesting results coming from the Netherlands. It was the arrival of Gin in England that would lead to an exponential production and the spread of Gin as a symbol of excellence in the realm of cocktail drinks. Therefore, it is not by chance that since the very beginning of Harry’s Bar, English Gin was always favored by Giuseppe, London Dry to be specific.
Even if the recipe for this beloved distilled spirit as we know it today includes a selection of other secret ingredients at the discretion of each distillery, as was previously mentioned, juniper has been the most essential element to the Gin recipe since its medicinal roots. One thing that all Gin recipes have in common, however, is the use of Botanicals. That is, a variety of plants, spices, and derived essences which, in this case, are left to steep with the first distillation of the spirit, infusing the alcohol with its aromatic flavor.
Which are the most common Botanicals used to infuse Gin? Each distillery master has their own secret recipe, however, the spirit tends to include notes of citrus, cardamom, angelica roots and pepper. It is more and more common in present-day Gins to find less conventional Botanicals, however, such as rose, anise, black tea, and spice blends.
Gin can be savored in an assortment of drinks and cocktails suitable for a variety of occasions, from happy hour to after dinner. The most famous Gin based cocktail served at Harry’s Bar, and in all the Cipriani Hotels around the world, is without a doubt the Dry Martini, which blends Dry Vermouth with the iconic lemon twist and green olive garnish.
Amongst the most celebrated ways of using Gin, one cannot forget the Negroni. Another classic cocktail that mixes distilled Bitter liqueur with Vermouth and the freshness of oranges for a full-bodied drink, perfect for an aperitif. Another iconic classic that must be mentioned is the Gin Tonic, which has recently become a symbol of exploration with mixologists finding surprising, yet oddly satisfying, combinations of Gin and tonics with unexpected flavors.
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