Is Botanical vodka just gin?

Answered by Jesse Garza

To answer the question, let's delve into the world of and explore the distinction between and . Vodka is often referred to as the “conception spirit” because it serves as the base for many other distilled spirits. It is typically made from fermented grains or potatoes and then distilled to a high proof.

Gin, on the other hand, is a specific type of spirit that is infused with botanicals, primarily juniper berries. The infusion of these botanicals gives gin its characteristic flavor and aroma. While juniper is the dominant botanical in gin, other ingredients such as coriander, citrus peel, orris root, and angelica root can also be used to enhance the flavor profile.

Now, coming back to the question at hand, botanically infused vodka can indeed be considered a precursor to gin. By adding traditional gin botanicals, such as juniper, to vodka, you can create a spirit that closely resembles gin in terms of taste and aroma. However, it is important to note that not all botanically infused vodkas can be classified as gin.

The key distinction lies in the production process and the specific botanicals used. Gin must be made through a process called redistillation, where the botanicals are added during the distillation process. This allows the flavors and aromas of the botanicals to become fully integrated into the spirit.

On the other hand, botanically infused vodkas can be created by simply adding botanicals to vodka and allowing them to steep or macerate for a period of time. This process, known as cold compounding, does not involve redistillation and therefore does not result in a true gin.

In my personal experience as a sommelier and brewer, I have encountered a wide range of botanically infused vodkas and gins. Each spirit has its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles, depending on the choice and combination of botanicals used.

To summarize, while botanically infused vodka can be a stepping stone towards creating gin, it is not the same as gin itself. Gin is a distinct category of spirit that undergoes a specific production process involving redistillation with botanicals. So, next time you come across a botanically infused vodka, remember that it may resemble gin, but it is not quite the same.