When you have the energy for a small amount of walking, are in good spirits, and have some time off from work, this is the ideal time to visit a distillery with a partner or a group of friends. A spokesperson from the distillery will take you on a tour and show you how the company makes its spirits, followed by a chance to taste some of its wares. This can be quite enlightening and will show you the effort that goes into making the drinks you enjoy. Some distilleries still follow older processes, and a few are thoroughly modernised. You can read more about the history of distilleries here.
The sugar in alcohol undergoes a process of fermentation when yeast is introduced to the alcohol in a fermentation tank. The yeast feeds on the sugar, causing this reaction. This process takes anywhere from three to nine days.
After fermentation has been completed, the alcohol in its altered state goes into distillation machinery. The alcohol is heated to the boiling point fora specific alcohol. The fermentation machinery is made of stainless steel or copper. As the heated vapour rises, this is collected and allowed to cool down, returning to its liquid state. Distillation takes place more than once to create many smooth alcoholic drinks like whiskey.
Finally, the liquid is bottled. The company will have to comply with UK laws about the volumes that are permitted to be sold. When sold by the glass, there are rules about the volume per tot that can be served.
What Are You Looking For In A Tasting?
Gin is one of the most highly flavoured spirits. It is thus a good example to use to explore the purpose of tasting spirits. It should be emphasised that every distillery, like the Gibraltar Distillery Company, has its own recipes, so that the gin you taste on a Gibraltar distillery tour will differ from the same spirit at another distillery. It is the botanicals in a neutral alcohol base that gives good gins their distinctive flavour.
The subtle tastes in gin are the result of the following:
- Floral (e.g., violet, honeysuckle, lavender)
- Herbs(e.g., lemon thyme, pine, fennel leaf)
- Herbaceous (e.g., mint, basil)
- Spice (e.g., cinnamon, cardamom, ginger)
- Sweet (e.g., hazelnut, honey, vanilla)
- Dried fruit (e.g., prunes, citrus peel, raisin)
- Fresh fruit (e.g., apricot, pineapple, orange)
However, as everyone knows and tastes, juniper is the number one added botanical. It falls under the herbaceous category.
Not only do Gibraltar gin tasting tours give you the chance to taste all the wonderful aromas and look for hints of what has been used, but you can also use your sense of smell to hunt for specific scentsat the Gibraltar Gin Distillery, found at gibraltardistillerycompany.com. This is a guessing game for novices and a fun way to be introduced to new spirits and maybe find a new favourite drink.
Be sure to come home with a bottle or two of the spirits you enjoyed during the tasting.