Gin and TonicWhen studying bartending it is important to know how to mix a delicious drink and how to open & close a bar, yet many new bartenders forget to study the basics about the alcohols which they are serving. I highly recommend reading over each of the articles regarding the basics of alcohols. They will give you much more power as a bartender when preparing drinks and authority for conversations about your trade. We’ve provided a brief description of each, which should be more than adequate for you to take from this lesson.


Gin is a spirit with its name and flavor coming from juniper berries. The French word “Genevre” for juniper was shortened by the English when they adopted gin as their spirit of choice in the classic Gin & Tonic cocktail. While described as having a flavor of juniper berries, the recipes to produce gin are often carefully guarded secrets as the complex mixture of ingredients such as herbs, seeds, berries, and roots affects both the flavor and aroma of the final alcoholic product.

There are two main types of gins: distilled gin and compound gin. This is based on the method of production. Distilled is the more common variety as most leading brands are produced using this method. Compound gin, on the other hand, is created by mixing neutral spirits with juniper. While these methods are used to flavor neutral spirits, Holland Gin has a low-proof malt spirit base which results in a much more heavy bodied gin.


Juniper berries have long since thought to contain medicinal properties and Italian monks first started flavoring distilled spirits with them in the 11th century. The beginnings of gin production started with Dutch and Belgian distillers who created a pharmaceutical spirit to cure kidney ailments, stomach upsets, and gout. During the Eighty Years War, the English discovered this juniper flavored spirit and imported it back to England where it grew in popularity until its peak in the mid 18th century. The popular Gin & Tonic drink was actually born out of the necessity to disguise the taste of the anti-malarial compound of quinine that was in the tonic water given to those in the British colonies.

Bartending Tips

Gin is a popular spirit, often served in cocktails, such as a Tom Collins, Singapore Sling, or Gimlet. While Gin & Tonics are often the choice of gin-flavored cocktail in England, perhaps the best-known gin cocktail is still the Martini. A mixture of gin and dry vermouth, the martini can be shaken or stirred and is traditionally served in a wide-mouthed martini glass garnished with a sweet onion or olive.

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How to Muddle a DrinkBartender's Guide to Vodka


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