How Gin Gets its Name
A spirit that can be made in various ways, but the well-known London dry gin is produced by distilling a fairly pure grain or cane spirit (already distilled) together with certain flavourings, such as juniper, coriander, orris and so on. (Gin gets its name from genievre, the French for juniper, a common ingredient.) The gin is carefully controlled, so that the best of the distillation only is reserved to bear the name of the product, quality and continuity of style being scrupulously preserved. Gin has a long history and although at one time it was drunk much by the ‘wretched poor’ trying to warm and cheer themselves, it is nowadays a truly classless drink.
Good gin is a very ‘clean’ drink and the foundation of many of the classic cocktails. Although many countries now make their own, London dry gin is still admitted to be the supreme type.
Flavoured gins, such as orange and lemon gins, are not now as popular as they were some years ago, but sloe gin is still made and drunk quite a lot. Plymouth gin is rather more definitely flavoured than London gin. Dutch gin, also known as Hollands, Genever, and Schiedam, has a rather full flavour compared with London gin. Steinhaeger is German gin. Old Tom is a sweetened London gin, once very popular and now mostly drunk in the northern export markets. It was this gin that gave the name to the long drink, Tom Collins; while the original John Collins was made with London dry gin.