The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

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5 Natural flavours in gin

Apart from water and ethanol, the only other raw materials used for distilled gin-making are natural flavourings referred to as botanicals. The predominant flavour is always juniper (Figure 5), but this is complemented by a wide range of other botanicals, as you will see.

This is a phoograph of a juniper berry.
Figure 5 The juniper berry, the predominant flavour of gin

The ethanol is able to draw out the flavour of many different oils of the juniper berries. The exact flavour molecules, and especially their proportions, vary between juniper species and can also depend upon where the juniper grew, which has an obvious knock-on effect on how the berries taste and smell. Gin producers often, therefore, have favourite farmers from whom they directly source their entire juniper – and other botanicals – supply.

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