The science of alcohol
The science of alcohol

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5.3 Taste sensations in gin

As you have just learned, gin can contain a whole variety of compounds, all of which are capable of imparting a particular taste to the final product. Thinking about the combination of flavourings is where the taste sensation gets a bit more complicated. The taste of the final gin will not just be the sum of its component parts. Instead, it will be a reflection of how the different botanicals interact with each other. Attractions between similar flavour molecules influence how each of them interacts with the flavour receptors in your body. Furthermore, this can be complicated by competition between different flavours for the same taste receptor.

It is not just different flavours interacting and competing with each other which contribute to the overall taste imparted by the gin. Those same molecules interacting within the water and ethanol of the freshly distilled gin can also prevent them from interacting so strongly with your taste receptors and this will limit the taste experienced by the drinker. Adding mixers to your gin also changes the way it tastes for the same reasons. In tonic water, for example, quinine is attracted to a number of the flavour molecules in gin. The aggregates of flavour molecules create a taste sensation that is completely different from just gin or tonic on its own.

Sarah MacLellan from the Cotswold Distillery will now tell you about how the different flavours within their gin interact with each other, but also with mixers such as tonic water.

Download this video clip.Video player: soa_1_w6_s5_3_vid_gintasting.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

This all explains why gin formulation is such an exact science. It is not possible to simply decide what flavours you would like in your gin and mix them together. Formulating a new gin can be a very lengthy process demanding exact combinations of specific botanicals in specific quantities to give the taste sensation desired – and this explains why gin distilleries guard their formulations so closely!

Sarah MacLellan from the Cotswold Distillery will now tell you about how the final taste of their gin is derived from their unique combination of botanicals.

Download this video clip.Video player: soa_1_w6_s5_3_vid_ginflavours.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371