Before we describe the recipe and production that makes Pink 47 so special, let us answer that basic question… London Gin has been recognised as a special quality beverage by the European Union and the new definition was passed into EU law on 20th February 2008 as part of the revised EU Spirit Drink Regulations and became law on 20th May 2009.. There are three definitions of gin. They are:
- Distilled Gin
- London Gin
All these gins are made with ethyl alcohol, alcohol flavoured with juniper berries (juniperus communis) and other flavourings. The ethyl alcohol used must be distilled to the minimum standards stated in the EU Spirit Drink Regulations. In all types of gin, the predominant flavour must be juniper, and they must have a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
1. London Gin is made in a traditional still by re-distilling ethyl alcohol in the presence of all the natural flavourings used (these are often called botanicals). The other things that make London Gin especially different are the following: The ethyl alcohol used to distill London Gin must be of a higher quality than the standard laid down for ethyl alcohol. The methanol level in the ethyl alcohol must not exceed a maximum of 5 grams per hecto litre of 100% volume alcohol.
2. The flavourings used must all be approved natural flavourings and they must impart the flavour during the distillation process. No flavourings can be added after distillation. The use of artificial flavourings is not permitted.
3. The resultant distillate must have a minimum strength of 70% abv. Further ethyl alcohol can be added after distillations provided it is of the same standard.
4. A small amount of sweetening may be added after distillation provided the sugars do not exceed 0.5 grams per litre of finished product (the sugar is not discernable and is added to some products purely for brand protection purposes). No sugar will be added in a London Dry Gin.
5. London Gin cannot be coloured. The only other substance that may be added is water, which is used to reduce the alcoholic strength to a drinkable level. (This means that Pink 47 takes its colour from the bottle decoration not the colour of the liquid. There is a cocktail called ‘Pink Gin’ which is made by the addition of Angostura bitters to the gin base: this is a different thingaltogether.)
Source: Gin & Vodka Association May 2009
Learn more about the history of gin and its production at Good Food and Beverage underground.