What Does Gin Taste Like – The Holiday Spirit

Gin is traditional alcohol that has been around in some variation since medieval times. It rose in popularity when the Dutch started producing it in the 1600s. Considering that gin is a well known spirit, try asking a friend “what does gin taste like”? You may be surprised to hear that they have never tried gin. Or maybe they tried it in a cocktail without knowing what it was! Gin is an underrated alcohol and can be appreciated in a variety of ways.

What Does Gin Taste Like Compared to Vodka

The alcohol that gin is most often compared to is vodka. If a bartender poured clear spirits into a cocktail glass, you would not be able to tell the difference without tasting it. Both gin and vodka are known as a clear, colorless alcohol. You may see specialized martini recipes that have either vodka or gin. For this reason many people assume that there is little difference between the two. However, appearance is the greatest similarity between them. 

If you have tasted vodka by itself you know that it is essentially tasteless except for the alcohol. Vodka is generally defined as a flavorless, clear, filtered alcohol. This makes it a popular additive to many cocktails and drinks. The original flavor of the mix is maintained regardless of what it is mixed with. Some popular vodka drinks are vodka and cranberry, the Screwdriver, Bloody Mary, White Russian, and Moscow Mule.

So the question remains, what does gin taste like compared to vodka? The difference is obvious once you taste it. Gin is characterized by its unique flavor. Most people simply describe it as the flavor of a pine tree. This does not adequately define gin. It is more complex than that. It is distilled using juniper berries. This adds a fantastic layer of taste that is unique to gin. Gin also is produced in different styles. Some are dry, some are sweeter, and some have a stronger herbal flavor. When deciding what does gin taste like, try a few different brands and see what you like.

How is Gin Made?

Gin is made with a neutral grain-based spirit. This is one of the reasons that it is often confused with vodka. However, the next steps are what sets it into its own class.

Although the technique may vary, spirits that are being made into gin are mixed with juniper berries. Traditionally, the berries and other botanicals are steeped in alcohol for a period of time before distillation occurs. This can also be done through a vapour-infusion process. The spirits are boiled and the berries are placed in baskets above the alcohol. The steam condenses after it is infused by the berries. Then it is condensed and mixed with water to the desired strength.

Modern technology combines methods. One of them uses the vapour-infusion technique and a vacuum-distilling process to create craft batches of gin. A benefit of vapour-infusion is that it produces a much milder-tasting gin.

What Does Gin Taste Good With

Although you can drink gin by itself, it is not recommended. Gin is regularly used in cocktails and may be the most used spirit for them. If you want to know what does gin taste good with, you can start with the simplest of drinks. 

1. Tonic

The gin and tonic is a well-known classical drink. What does gin and tonic taste like? As gin has a distinct flavor, adding tonic water to it mellows out the gin. Tonic water is not the same as carbonated water as it has a bittersweet taste that blends well with gin. Add some ice and a lime slice for a light, zesty beverage. It is refreshing and a great drink for socializing or relaxing on the deck.

2. Juice

For another basic drink, try mixing your gin with fruit juice. Some popular songs make a reference to “gin and juice”. Different juices will activate different points of flavor in the gin, so this one may be up to personal preference. Some options are apple, pineapple, mango, and orange juice. Serving it over ice keeps it cool as you sip this with your friends. See below for a specific cocktail you can make with juice and gin.

3. Grapefruit Juice

Add salt to the rim of your glass. Then combine grapefruit juice and gin for the cocktail known as the Salty Dog. It is even better when garnished with a wedge of grapefruit. Although the Salty Dog is a less popular drink, it is simple to make. This refreshing combination is an excellent summertime treat.

4. Dry Vermouth

In current times there are many versions of martini to try. Bars have developed their own recipes to share this well-known beverage. Yet there is the original martini made out of gin and dry vermouth. It is best associated with Bond, James Bond. The two alcohols are either shaken or stirred. Then it is poured into the iconic martini glass with an olive and enjoyed casually.

5. Lime Cordial

A mixture of gin and lime cordial produces another common drink, the gimlet. It can also be made with lime juice and simple syrup. Lime and sweetener are excellent companions to the flavor of gin. It is most often served in a martini glass with a wedge of lime.


In your quest to know what does gin taste like, your biggest takeaway should be that gin is not simply flavored vodka. It is alcohol distilled with juniper berries and other plants. Gin is definitely worth exploring as the main spirit in cocktails. Now that you know what to expect, go find the answer to “what does gin and tonic taste like”? You may have found your next go-to drink.

Check my other article on what does Sake and Lobster taste like.

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