Whiskey vs. Gin: How Are They Distilled?
Are you a whiskey or gin lover? With endless options for tasty drink recipes, there’s a lot to love about these two alcohols. But have you ever wondered how exactly whiskey and gin are made? Let’s take a closer look at how these two delicious alcohols are distilled.
First of all, what exactly is distillation?
Distillation occurs when a liquid is heated to create a vapor, and is then condensed back into a liquid. The concept of distillation is actually based off of nature. During the day, the sun vaporizes the water found in puddles. However, when the hot sun goes down at night, that vaporized water condenses into water droplets and lands on grass. This simple process is what led our ancestors to experiment with the idea of vaporization and distillation, which ultimately led to our modern practices.
How is whiskey distilled?
Whiskey is a distilled alcohol made from any form of fermented mash. Distillers use ingredients such as barley, rye, wheat, and corn, depending on the geographical location of the distillery. Most Whiskey is made in pot stills or continuous stills and is double or triple distilled. Generally, the more the spirit is distilled, the lighter and purer the final result is. Distillers monitor and collect the most flavorful part called the “heart.” Other parts are redistilled or discarded as they include tastes that aren’t as appealing. Whiskey must be strengthened and aged in a barrel as it cannot mature in a bottle. Although both Whiskey and Gin go through a similar process of fermentation and distillation, they differ in taste and flavor. The different flavors are added to the alcohol and aging process.
What about gin?
There are many different gin styles and classifications, from dry gin to aged gin. The one common element that all styles share is that their predominant flavor stems from juniper berries. Gin’s life starts as a neutral spirit made essentially of pure ethanol, and then the flavor is added during the process of re-distillation. To make the base spirit, gin producers distill the fermented wash in a traditional pot still. This process produces a weak, rough spirit known as low wines. Repeated distillation of the low wines strengthens and purifies the spirit. The base spirit must be redistilled with chosen botanicals such as seeds, berries, roots, and herbs to extract their essential oils and add base flavors to the spirit. There are many different methods of distillation, including steeping and vapor infusion.
If you are looking for a distillery in Denver where you can enjoy both handcrafted whiskey and gin, look no further than Deviation Distillery! We create whiskey destined for a long rest in charred oak casks as well as gin that has been distilled with a sophisticated blend of botanicals specifically chosen to complement the depth of locally sourced grains. Come experience the difference at Deviation Distilling or grab a few of our bottles at several locations in Colorado!