​Does gin have juniper berries?

Yes. The flavour of juniper is one of the two key characteristics of gin (the other is a minimum level of alcohol). And the flavour of juniper comes from juniper berries. These fleshy modified female conifer cones are purple-back in colour when ripe; they come from the juniper tree or bush (most commonly, Juniperus communis).

The name 'gin' comes from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever (a precursor to modern-day gin, a spirit which is still made commercially and drunk) - which also mean juniper.

Apart from tasting of juniper, the other requirement is that gin must be at least 37.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).

So a juniper berry isn’t actually a berry at all - it just looks like one. Nevertheless it is the one absolutely vital botanical that most be used for a spirit to be described as gin.

And the predominant flavour of gin must be juniper. 

This is a very live issue as many gin liqueurs (and even some drinks claiming to be actual 'gin') cannot claim to have a predominant juniper flavour.

Added sugar and other dominant flavours like fruit and ginger can overpower the juniper.

3rd Nov 2021 York Gin

Sign up to Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers.