Simply put, gin is basically a neutral spirit, (high strength vodka) flavored predominantly with juniper and various seeds, berries, roots, fruits and herbs. Under EU legislation the name ‘gin’ means any flavored spirit over 37.5% alcohol by volume which includes some juniper. There are two classifications: ‘gin’ and ‘distilled gin’.
Distilled gins are always of the best quality whereas straight ‘gin’ can be correlated to ‘bath tub gin’ and are always inferior. MOST GIN enthusiasts realize that vodka is simply unfinished Gin…Vodka or “little water” is meant to taste like nothing, where as Gin has character. A good mixologist will 9 times out of 10 reach for Gin over vodka as their blank canvas. When crafting a cocktail, if you understand the particular essence and flavor profile of a particular gin, one can create a truly special libation where the botanicals “pop” and compliment the mixers and other liqueurs. In most vodka cocktails, you are simply trying to mask the alcohol taste.
“Gin is true magic, whereas vodka’s only trick is to disappear.” –The Gintender