J is for Juniper which is essential for the making of gin. Read all in The Drunken Botanist. Author Amy Stewart, author of of other tell-all tales of plants and insects, Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities, and Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects recently published her new book The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Make the World’s Great Drinks.
Her description of juniper includes a kind of sexy description “[Junipers] are dioecious, meaning that each tree is either male or female. The pllen from a male shrub can travel on the wind over a hundred miles to reach a female.” There is more information about the plant, the berries which take two to three years to ripen and the chemicals like a-pinene, myrcene and limonene that make up its essential flavor. Of course, to make gin the juniper berries. They are combined with coriander and lemon peel – that also contain those same compounds.
All gins are not the same. There are differences between Distilled gin, Genever, Gin, London gin, Mahon, Old Tom Gin, Plymouth gin and sloe gin. Sloes(Prunus spinosa) are tart berries and they can be macerated in gin to make sloe gin. To find out the properties of the other gins you’ll have to go to the book.
The Drunken Botantist will also tell you all there is to know about alcoholic drinks made from agave (tequila) to wheat (beer). It will not surprise you to know that Amy Stewart’s garden includes a bar for imbibing.
For more about the letter J on the A to Z challenge click here.