Although the English claim to have invented gin, it’s origin actually lays with the Dutch who started producing it in the 16th century for its “medicinal power”. The name is also derived from the Dutch word “jenever“ which means “juniper”. The juniper berry is the prime component of gin giving its characteristic odor.
Next to the juniper berries gin contains other ingredients which can vary per distillery. But ingredients most commonly used are angelica, licorice, iris root, citrus peel, caraway en coriander seeds. Gin has a strong aroma but despite that it suits well as an ingredient in cocktails. This is due to the fact that it’s colorless and has an aroma of herbs and spices which mixes well with liqueurs, juices and other distillations.
From a legal point of view there are 4 gin categories. Juniper-flavored spirit drinks which are produced by pot distilling a fermented grain mixture and re-distilling it with herbs and spices. Compound Gin is a juniper-flavored spirit made by simply adding juniper and/or other natural flavoring substances to a neutral gin. Distilled gin is produced exclusively by re-distilling ethanol of agricultural origin with an initial strength of 96% ABV in stills with primarily juniper berries and other optional natural botanicals. London gin is made exclusively from ethanol of agricultural origin and with a maximum of 5 grams methanol per hectolitre which is introduced through the re-distillation in traditional stills of ethanol together with the juniper berries and all other natural plant components used.
In Europe the minimum required alcoholic strength is 37,5%. English gins are around 45%. The main types of English gin are London Dry gin and Plymouth gin. London dry gin is the most famous of the two and doesn’t necessarily needs to be produced in London as its name would suggest. They have an intense flavor and Gordon’s and Beefeater are the best-known brands.
Plymouth gin is distilled at the Blackfriars distillery at the coast of Plymouth. It’s a full-bodied gin with more subtle aromas and it’s dryer then the London dry gin . A small quantity of the gin ages on wood and is called “golden gin” due to its color.
Dutch gin or jenever varies from English gin due to the mixture of heavily fermented grains that’s being used. This results into a more beer-like taste. There are two types of jenever: old and young jenever. The young jenever resembles the English gin most.
What’s the difference between English and American gins? American gin tends to have more floral and fruity aromas. These more fragile flavors can get lost in a cocktail mixed with liqueurs and bitters. That’s why the stronger English gins are preferred in cocktails. The minimum alcoholic strength for American gins is 40%.
Gin is quite simple to make. A grain distillate is made from rye en barley while wheat is used for jenever or American gin . The gin gets purified by means of repeated distillation. The aromas are added by soaking the berries, dried herbs and spices in the alcohol or by letting the alcohol drip through the ingredients. The result is bottled and ready for consumption.
Besides gin and tonic there are some other cocktails that you should try like the famous Martini, the Gin Fizz which has an acid taste due to the lemon, the Negroni with its bitter taste, the Gimlet made with Plymouth gin or the Singapore Sling.
You might have asked yourself one of these questions: what’s the difference between liqueurs and liquors? Are liqueurs and liquors the same? Well, liqueurs are sweet while liquors are not. That’s the easiest way to remember the difference. Now we’ll explain it a little more technical.
Whiskey, tequila, vodka, rum and gin are (distilled) liquors. A distilled liquor is obtained by the distillation of fermented fruits, plants or grains. Fermentation is the process where yeast transforms carbohydrates (= sugar) into ethanol (= alcohol), carbon dioxide and energy.
Distilled liquors are alcoholic beverages in which the concentration of ethanol has been increased above that of the original fermented mixture by the method of distillation. Distillation means that when a liquid which contains ethanol is heated to a temperature above 78.5°C but below 100°C (the boiling point of water) the vapour coming off that liquid condenses. That condensate will have a higher alcohol concentration.
To come to liqueur, liquor is used as a base spirit. The liquor gets flavored with fruit, plants or grains and sweetened by the addition of sugar. The alcoholic percentage of liqueur can vary from 20% to 60% (40 to 120 proof) and it contains at least 100 grams of sugar per liter. To talk about cream or crème, the liqueur should contain at least 250 grams of sugar per liter.
So liqueurs are sweet because they contain a lot of residual sugar, whilst liquors don’t. There are many types of liqueurs:
Now you know everything about liqueurs and liquors.
Midori: sweeter than swe?
Midori is well known to cocktail professionals and bartenders. Some really famous cocktail recipes are based on it although some people claim it to be too sweet. I must admit that Midori is one of the sweetest liqueurs but who ever told that sweet is bad. And of course, there are people who love sweeter than sweet. In this article you’ll discover some cocktails which midori that are tasty, sweet and different…
One of the easiest of them all is the Midori Sour. Take 1,5 oz Midori, 2 oz sweet and sour mix, 1,5 oz lime juice, a dash of lemon lime soda and shake it all with ice. Strain your Midori Sour into a nice glass and ready…
Another one is the Midori & Pisco Sour cocktail. This one is made with Pisco, Midori, orange bitters, lime, egg white and sugar syrup.
The Illusions cocktails is based on vodka and Midori. But that’s not all. Orange juice, Malibu and Blue Curaçao give it its particular taste.
The Paradise Fizz combines Midori with white Rum, soda, lime juice, icing sugar and some egg white.
Shots and shooters
Midori is no only used as an ingredient for cocktails. Also some famous shots and shooters are based on Midori. I selected the following shots and shooters for you.
Of course there is more to Midori than this. If you feel like we would be happy if your send us your Midori cocktail recipes. We then put them online and link back to you.
Before we look at some of cocktail recipes with Campari, we first look into the ingredient itself.
Campari is often used in cocktails giving them a reddish tint and a more bitter taste. Campari is an Italian liqueur which is invented by Gaspare Campari who was experimenting with making new beverages. The Campari recipe has been kept secret all that time and was passed over to only few over the years.
It is made from the infusion of herbs and fruit in water and alcohol. Campari has a dark red color and a bitter taste. It has an alcohol by volume from 20,5% to 28%. Although the recipe is kept a secret, Wikipedia says it that it contains chinotto and cascarilla.
Chinotto is the Italian name for fruits that resemble small oranges which are sour and bitter. Cascarilla is a plant from to the Caribbean area of which the tincture of the bark is used to flavor the Campari.
For the rest there is not much known about the other ingredients of Campari and we won’t bother either… but who cares… because we are interested in the best cocktail recipes with Campari.
A combination of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin.
Garnished with an orange wedge. Click here for this famous cocktail recipe with campari.
Replace the gin with some soda.
The dry version. Recplace the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth.
Something more classy…
Other proper ways of serving Campari is with soda water, citrus juice or even wine.
Some other combination I would recommend are Campari gin (2 parts Campari and 1 part gin), Campari orange (3 parts orange juice and 1 part Campari) and Campari tonic (1 part Campari and 2 parts tonic).
There are of course much more fancy, classy and cool cocktail recipes with Campari. Some of them can be found here.
If you have some other suggestion, just get in contact with us. We’ll then publish your Campari recipe.