How to take the romance out of gin

From Chemical & Engineering News:

SEPTEMBER 10, 2008


Gentler Process Yields Better Gin

High-vacuum, low-temperature distillation preserves appealing flavors

By Sophie L. Rovner

A superior gin results when the liquor is produced under distillation conditions that are milder than the conventional method, according to Derek M. Greer and colleagues at Bacardi-Martini Product Development in Jacksonville, Fla., and Clemson University (J. Agric. Food Chem., DOI: 10.1021/jf801308d).

To compare the two methods, the researchers created a "model" gin made with spirits derived from wheat and flavored with dried juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, and dried lemon peel. They found that gin produced through their high-vacuum, low-temperature distillation (0.1 mm Hg, –15 ºC) retains the natural flavor of the botanicals better than other distillation methods, which are carried out at atmospheric or slightly lower pressure and require heating to 50–80 ºC. Also, degradation products including α-pinene and α-phellandrene are 10 times higher in the traditional, still-made gin.
The new type of gin is "cleaner, and the flavor more crisp and refreshing," says Greer, who is now with Sensient Flavors & Fragrances in Indianapolis. Bacardi is testing the technique for commercial-scale production, using a special blend of ingredients that create a gin that Greer says is "quite extraordinary, superb really."

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