What makes up gin?
For a drink to be described as ‘gin’, it needs alcohol and a certain predominant taste. In terms of alcohol strength, it needs to be at least 37.5% ABV - alcohol by volume. And the predominant taste needs to be juniper.
The alcohol comes form neutral spirit and the juniper taste comes from juniper berries. Water is used to dilute the alcohol to the required strength.
Once these minimum requirements are met, a gin maker is free to do lots of interesting things with this spirit.
Gin makers use all kinds of extra botanicals to create weird and wonderful flavours.
York Gin London Dry - which uses botanicals that have been available to English gin makers since the 18th Century - has nine botanicals. These are:
Juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root, cardamom, cinnamon bark, dried lemon peel, orris root, black pepper and grains of paradise.
But there’s seemingly no end to the flavours added to gin - tea, chocolate and seaweed spring to mind. But hundreds of other botanicals are used too.
And the strength of gins on the market range from the minimum 37.5% to many craft gins in the 40% to 45% range. And Navy Strength gins which need to be at least 57%.
The strongest gin in the world at the time is writing is Anno Extreme at a ridiculous 95% ABV. No we have no intention of trying it!
Most of the York Gin range is 42.5% ABV - significantly stronger than the minimum.
And York Gin Outlaw Navy Strength is 57% ABV - but incredibly smooth given the extra alcohol. It won a Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition, making it one of the world's best.