Gin is a distilled alcoholic drink that derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries. Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, all of various origins, styles, and flavour profiles, that revolve around juniper as a common ingredient.
Gin began its life as a medicinal liquor made by monks in Italy, who were swiftly followed by other monks and alchemists across Europe, particularly Southern France, Flanders and the Netherlands – where gin is often incorrectly believed to have been invented, to provide aqua vita from distillates of grapes and grains. It then became an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin emerged in England after the introduction of the jenever, a Dutch and Belgian liquor which originally had been a medicine. Although this development had been taking place since early 17th century, gin became widespread after the William of Orange-led 1688 Glorious Revolution and subsequent import restrictions on French brandy.
Gin today is produced in subtly different ways, from a wide range of herbal ingredients, giving rise to a number of distinct styles and brands. After juniper, gin tends to be flavoured with botanical/herbal, spice, floral or fruit-flavours or often a combination. It is most commonly consumed mixed with tonic water. Gin is also often used as a base spirit to produce flavoured gin-based liqueurs such as, for example, Sloe gin, traditionally by the addition of fruit, flavourings and sugar.