We couldn’t ignore juniper! Aside from alcohol, it is (probably) gin’s most important ingredient.
Most gin production regulations demand two things: a specific strength (generally at least 37.5% ABV), and the use of juniper. The flavour of these berries should be at the core of any gin. Juniper is a hardy shrub which grows in countries around the world. While it is used in great quantities in gin production, its berries have to be harvested by hand. When distilled with a gin, they can add piney, citrusy and herbaceous aromas.
Some distillers have gone to great lengths to cram even more juniper flavour into their gins (such as Never Never Distilling Co’s Juniper Freak and Triple Juniper gins, Junipero Gin, or Hepple Gin, which features juniper distilled in three ways). Some distillers – including Hepple, Hernö in Sweden, and Citadelle in France – have also experimented with using juniper wood to age and flavour their gin.
While the most common juniper variety used in gin is (fittingly) Juniperus communis, countries around the world have their own varieties which gin makers use. These range from Juniperus procera in Africa to Juniperus recurva from the Himalayas and Juniperus horizontalis in North America.