WELCOME TO OUR
BOTTLE MARKET GIN-PARADISE
Around 25 producers and importers will welcome you to our GINsel ("gin island") and present juniper schnapps from twelve countries. Altogether, you can discover more than 100 types. Whether London dry, new western style, sloe or barrel-aged, we have the right gin for every taste!
Manufacturers and importers
Let the experts tell you about the special features of the individual brands, and find your favourite for the upcoming Christmas season. Test a gin with various tonics. Rosemary, pepper, or classic cucumber? Learn what garnishes best complement the fine aromas of your new favourites.
At the gin tastings, you can try various types, learn about the differences between them and how they are made, and listen to a few anecdotes as well.
WHAT ACTUALLY IS GIN?Some people think the EU does too much, others think it does too little. The fact is that the EU regulation on spirit drinks defines what gin is and what official types there are.
Here's an excerpt from the revised regulation of May 2019:
GIN IS A SPIRIT
..., which is produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol* of agricultural origin with juniper berries (Juniperus communis L.).
IT'S MINIMUM ALCOHOLIC STRENGTH
... is 37.5 % by volume.
... of gin may use only flavouring substances and/or extracts, provided the juniper taste is predominant.
THE TERM „GIN“
... may be supplemented by the term "dry" if it does not contain added sweetening exceeding 0.1 g per litre of the final product.
So much for the official terms.
Now what are the official varieties of the popular juniper spirit? And what are the official types of the popular juniper berry spirit? In fact, there are only three! They are London Gin, Distilled Gin and Sloe Gin. They are London gin, distilled gin and sloe gin. The differences are not in flavour, but in the method of production. All other types are either historic or have become popularly established over time. However, their names are unofficial, which explains why you will find different information about them online, in newspapers and in magazines.
This name doesn't refer to the region where the gin is made - it can be produced anywhere. Its aroma is produced exclusively by the distillation of ethyl alcohol with the addition of ALL natural plant-based substances used. However, for London gin, the botanical substances must be added collectively and at the beginning of the distillation process. The resulting distillate has a minimum alcohol content of 70% by volume and is not coloured.
For this type of gin, the botanical substances can be added at any time during distillation. A combination of the distillate and ethyl alcohol of the same composition, purity and alcohol content is also possible.
Aroma substances or aroma extracts identical with natural ingredients may be added. HOWEVER: Gin which is produced by the simple addition of essences or aromatic substances to ethyl alcohol, i.e. without any distillation process, cannot be termed distilled gin.
Strictly speaking, sloe gin is a sloe liqueur. It is created through maceration (steeping) of sloes in gin, which causes the soluble parts of the fruit to transfer into the gin. Sometimes sloe juice is also added. Only natural aroma substances and extracts may be used. The minimum alcohol content of this type of gin is 25% by volume, and the sloe berries give it a red colour. Sloe gin may also be described with the addition "liqueur".
Old Tom Gin
Old Tom is the predecessor of the gin we know today. Its roots are in the 18th century. At that time, fine distillation methods and equipment had not yet been developed, and that naturally affected the quality of the distillate. The alcohol content was very high, and because of the strong juniper flavour, it wasn't that pleasant to drink. To make it more palatable, liquorice or syrup were added. Sweetened in this way, it was often used for cocktails, for example Tom Collins. Today, brands such as Hayman’s, Citadelle and Both’s are responsible for a comeback of Old Tom gin.
Compound gin is a term for the manufacturing method, and it is a poor-quality drink. It is simply manufactured by placing the botanical ingredients into neutral alcohol without any distillation process. The soluble aroma substances are transferred into the liquid. After their "bath" in neutral alcohol, the botanical ingredients are filtered out, leaving a cloudy, usually brownish alcohol. And that's it! During Prohibition, the term bathtub gin was coined, for obvious reasons. Ableforth’s in the UK produces bathtub gin, although naturally not in actual bathtubs!
New Western Gin
The special characteristic of this still fairly new category is that the juniper note doesn't dominate the taste. The other botanical ingredients can contribute with an equal intensity, or even dominate over the juniper. Tanqueray, a traditional distillery that today belongs to the global operator DIAGEO, was probably one of the first producers to move away from the dominance of the juniper flavour. Hendricks Gin is another, world-famous pioneer of this style of gin. New Western Gin is produced just like distilled gin and London gin, which guarantees a high quality.
In the 19th century, the distilling process was refined and it became possible to distil higher-quality gins. Cordial gin was developed after Old Tom and before dry gin. Currently, cordial gin is undergoing a Renaissance. After its re-discovery in 2017 in archived documents, Sipsmith’s and Hayman’s started producing this variant. Because consumers were accustomed to the sweetness of Old Tom, cordial gin was also sweetened. Originally it was a liqueur and therefore had a lower alcohol content. Today, cordial gin has a higher alcohol content and can therefore be termed gin.
Reserved/Barrel Aged Gin
The difference from the usual method here is that a classic distilled gin or London gin is not bottled directly after production, but first stored for a period in wooden barrels. Unlike whisky, there are no rules about how long it has to be matured. Usually, the barrels previously contained other spirits such as whisky, brandy or wine. As a result, not only notes of wood, but also the aroma of the previous contents go into reserve gin. Because of this barrel storage, this type is usually a yellowish-brown, giving it the name yellow gin. What at first glance seems like a new style of gin actually has a long tradition for practical reasons. For example, the British Royal Navy received a considerable allowance of gin every day to bolster the motivation of sailors, and also for medical reasons. Because of the quinine content, gin and tonic protected soldiers from malaria. And because bottles aren't so practical on board ship, the gin was stored in barrels. Beefeater, Jodhpur, Alambics and Dictator are just some of the companies that produce reserve gin today.
This gin is the black sheep among juniper spirits. It is practically a further evolution of Old Tom and to improve the flavour, not only sugar but also cream was added. This was an attempt to make it as palatable as possible, and at the time it was successful. Today, there's a modern variant of cream gin, produced by Masters of Malt. Originally, the cream was added to the finished distillate, but now it is added during distillation and treated like a botanical substance. This method provides the cream aroma without the oily film of the past, and the distillate remains clear. A cold distillation process is used for cream gin.
Until just a few years ago, the name Plymouth gin was protected in the same way that Scotch is. Therefore, Plymouth gin had to be produced in the English town of the same name. This gin was very popular at the beginning of the 20th century. There was even a tradition in the Royal Navy whereby every ship was provided with a wooden box that held two bottles of Plymouth gin Navy strength along with suitable glasses. Today, only one Plymouth gin distillery remains that produces this tradition-rich spirit: Black Friars Distillery. It has changed owners several times, and now belongs to Pernod Ricard. Its roots go back to the year 1793. Plymouth gin has a more subtle juniper note than the official types and also largely does without any bitterness.
This gin must be produced in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. However, it is irrelevant for the global market and more of a regional product. Since 1907, Vilnius gin has been produced by a single distillery. The main aromas are juniper, coriander, orange peel and dill. It is produced in the same way as London Gin, but with a higher alcohol content than the classic London gin, at 45 % by volume.
This gin must be produced in Mahón, the capital of Menorca (the neighbouring island of Majorca). It's another type which barely plays a role on international markets. Unlike all other gins, it is based not on a distillate from grain, but from wine. This is another gin we can thank Britain for, because when the British occupied the island of Menorca in the 18th century, they didn't want to go without one of their favourite drinks. In response to the demand, the Xoriguer family decided to create a gin, and soon it was popular throughout the island. From around 1750 to the present day, the Xoriguer family has been producing their Mahón gin and determinedly protecting the secret of its recipe. Today, the company is the island's sole producer of Mahón gin.