Spirits are made from four main ingredients:1. Base Ingredient — A sugary or starchy base ingredient, whose sugars can be fermented, as inthe process of making beer or wine.2. Yeast — A single-celled organism that converts the sugar from starchy or sweet baseingredients into alcohol.3. Water — As with brewing, local water is frequently a key factor in the quality and style of thespirit, especially for grain-based spirits such as whisk(e)y and vodka.4. Flavorings — Some spirits owe their character to the addition of distinctive flavoringingredients. These can include herbs, spices, honey, fruits, and vegetables. The sky’s thelimit
Fermenting The sugary liquid — either mash, or pressed juice (from fruit, sugar cane, agave, etc.) — is fermented with yeast, which converts the sugar into alcohol. Distilling After fermentation, the alcoholic liquid is processed (usually multiple times) in a still, to concentrate the alcohol and, during each successive distillations to make purer spirit. Types of Stills Pot Still; or Continuous Still Pot stills, the original stills, developed from that principle. They produce just one batch at a time, according to the size of the still (anywhere from a few hundred gallons to tens of thousands of gallons). As such, pot stills are used for most hand-crafted “brown goods” and sipping spirits. Continuous stills cycle the spirit continuously through successive containers, usually columnshaped,that repeatedly heat, cool and refine the spirit. These stills are commonly used for white goods such as vodka, where clarity and purity are crucial to the style and quality of the spirit.
Aging Many spirits are aged in casks (usually of oak), to mellow, harmonize and flavor the spirit. Which spirits are aged? Some spirits, like whisk(e)y and Cognac, are always aged, while others, like rum and tequila, may or may not be aged. Vodka is rarely aged. Because the cask aging also imparts a coppery or golden-brown color, spirits aged in this way are commonly called “brown goods.” Why barrels? Traditionally barrels were used for convenience and durability during shipping. But it soon became clear that, as with wine, barrel aging could improve the taste of the spirits shipped. Gradually barrel aging became an important factor in the style of many spirits. Modern distillers are very particular about the barrels they use. Old barrels or new? Some spirits are aged in new white oak barrels, while for others, used barrels are employed. A new oak barrel will impart more flavor to the spirit, a used barrel less flavor. Spirits produced in continuous stills, which are usually lighter, are often aged in new oak barrels. Spirits produced in pot stills, which are generally more flavorful, are usually aged in used oak barrels, whose flavor is less strong. Barrels whether new or used may be charred to add a smoky, toasty flavor and aroma. How much time in the barrel? Spirits may be barrel aged for anywhere from just a few months, to several years.
MIXOLOGIST TIP: Use a squeeze of fresh lime for a gin and tonic; use sweetened and bottled lime juice (such Rose’s or Daily’s) for a Gimlet. Does shaking a gin Martini “bruise” the gin? No, stirring is classically the preferred method for chilling gin for a Martini served “straight up,” because shaking incorporates too much water and air into the drink, thus diluting the flavors and scents of the botanicals. (That said, if your guest prefers their gin shaken, that’s great, too. Shake it with enthusiasm!) Some common gin botanicals: Angelica * Aniseed * Caraway * Citrus peel (lemon, orange) * Coriander * Cumin * Juniper berry * Licorice * Nutmeg * Rosemary * Savory
SERVICE OF GIN: Served in Old Fashioned Glass mostly with Tonic Water, a slice of lemon or Lime TRIVIA- Tonic Water originated in India – when British invaded India, they needed Quinine to keep them healthy from Mosquito Bites – Quinine is the main ingredient in Tonic Water