What's reserve gin?
The gin variant Reserve Gin is stored in a wooden cask, as you already know it from whiskey, and thus additionally refined. Preferably, casks that were previously filled with spirits are used for this purpose. This not only gives the gin a fine wooden note, but also gives it the special bouquet of the spirits previously stored in it. Thus, the aromas contained in the barrels, which were previously drawn into the wood fibres, are released back into the gin stored in the barrel. In contrast to what one is used to from gin, Reserve Gin takes on a golden-yellowish, even amber colour.Taste profile of a Reserve Gin
In taste usually softer and rounder, with a wide range of aromas. After distillation and flavouring with various botanicals, i.e. the vegetable ingredients, the gin is stored in oak barrels. There it absorbs sweet and/or spicy aromas from the wood fibres. These can contain smoky vanilla notes, malty caramel notes, or even spicy and peppery flavours. The aromas are influenced by what the selected barrel was previously filled with. Usually whiskey, wine or brandy casks are used. The longer the maturing process of the gin is, the more intensive the effect is. However, it should be noted that a too long storage could have a negative effect on the aromas of the botanicals.Production of a Reserve Gin
Gin is produced on the basis of grain and molasses and therefore belongs to the grain brandies. Only after flavouring with spices, especially coriander and juniper berries, does the clear distillate acquire its characteristic taste. There are essentially three different methods that can be used to refine the gin:Digestion (the hot extraction): Digestion is the flavouring by means of a temperature-controlled process. In this process the botanicals are also pressed or crushed and mixed with the ethyl alcohol produced by the first distillation process. This mixture is boiled at about 70 degrees. The essential oils of the fruits, herbs and plants (botanicals) dissolve and mix with the alcohol. Finally, the cooled mixture is also filtered and diluted to obtain the desired end product.Maceration (the cold extraction): the botanicals that are to give the gin its flavour are pressed or crushed to release their aromas. These are then soaked in the alcohol for several weeks so that the flavours contained in them can be absorbed. In a final process, the spirit is filtered and diluted to obtain the finished gin as the final product.Permutation (steam extraction): this is the gentlest method of developing the flavour of the gin and is carried out during distillation. This process is also called steam extraction. The desired ingredients are filled into a botanical tray, the so-called spirit basket, with a sieve insert. Thus, the botanicals do not come into contact with the alcoholic liquid, but only with the alcohol vapours produced during distillation.Percolation (multiple flavouring): this is a less common procedure. The aromas are released from the botanicals by repeatedly pouring a hot alcohol-water mixture over them. Generally speaking, gin does not need to be stored. Nevertheless, there are some gin distilleries that allow their gin to rest for two to six weeks after the distillation process. This allows the spirit to recover from the heating and develops a rounder taste during the short storage period. However, the storage must take place in a neutral container which must not release any aromas. However, this rule does not apply to Reserve Gin. This is deliberately stored in pre-stocked oak barrels to absorb the aromas contained in the wood fibres. Depending on the brand of gin, the storage in the barrels can last only a few months, up to several years.What is the best way to drink reserve gin?
You can definitely drink Reserve Gin straight. The same rules apply to the question of whether you should enjoy it with or without ice as to whiskey. So if you want ice, Reserve Gin is best served with an "ice rock", a single, very large single cube that dilutes the drink slowly so that you can taste some of its unique aromas for as long as possible. As the body of a Reserve Gin is very rich due to the barrel storage, it is easy to avoid adding tonic, as it already unfolds its full potential when pure. If you still don't want to drink it pure, you can try a cocktail, as Reserve Gin is also perfectly suited as a cocktail component. For example for classic cocktails like the Martinez. But it also works very well in whiskey cocktails, like the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan, where Reserve Gin is used instead of whiskey.