Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, she walks into mine.
Made from a neutral spirit usually distilled from grains such as wheat or barley or rye (although sometimes from molasses), gin takes its flavour from botanicals - natural herbs, flowers, fruits and spices. The mix of botanicals is unique to each brand and often a secret, closely guarded by the distller. The botanical recipe can include coriander, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, angelica and cardamom, but all gins must include juniper and juniper must be the main or characteristic flavour.
Gin originates from the Dutch spirit, Genever (or jenever) (which literally translates as juniper). British sailors travelling between the English ports and the Low Countries' ports brought Genever home with them and during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) British troops fighting alongside Dutch soldiers were given rations of Genever (or Dutch Courage) to keep out the cold before battle.
The name "Gin" is the anglicised version of the Dutch word "Genever," but the modern day products are very different. Dutch Genever styles are generally more deeply and richly flavoured, and juniper need not predominate, while London Dry gin is lighter, crisper and dry in style with a predominant juniper flavour.