Last Updated on October 24, 2022 by Lydia Martin
If you have a soft spot for hard liquors, we bet gin and whiskey belong to your collection and sit in your home bar. But do you know that these distilled spirits have their own fair share of differences and similarities?
Our team will give the spotlight to gin vs whiskey and will have a closer look at their differences, so read on.
Whiskey & Gin Compared
Whiskey and gin are two beverages with different geographical origins and base products. Moreso, the two alcoholic beverages have different production, distillation, and aging processes.
Like vodka, whiskey is a spirit-based beverage made from food grains such as rye, wheat, barley, and corn, depending on its geographical location. On the other hand, gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash, and juniper berries are its predominant ingredient.
Closer Look at the Key Differences
Whiskey was originally made in Ireland and Scotland before it made its way in North America and other parts of the world . On the other hand, gin was originally made for medicinal purposes of alchemists and monks across Southern Italy, the Netherlands, and Flanders in Europe.
Because of their different geographical origins, whiskey and gin have different recipes for a grain mash bill used to produce spirit-based beverages/alcohol.
Distillation & Production Process
Gin makers take different approaches when it comes to distillation, but they may distill once or twice. On the contrary, whiskey is distilled twice or thrice. The distillation helps purify the liquid and make it purer and more alcoholic.
The alcohol could be by the vapor infusion, steep, and vacuum distillation methods. On the other hand, whiskey uses copper pot still or continuous still for the distillation process.
The aging process of whiskeys is different from gin because it is matured in charred oak barrels for distinct flavor and color, while gin is flavored with juniper berries. The maturation in barrels and cask strength gives single malt whiskey and Irish whiskey flavors.
However, neutral spirits like gin are not required to undergo aging as long as it is composed of natural botanicals for aroma and flavor.
Whiskey has different types, and each has different base products. Malt whiskey is primarily made from malted grain (barley), while grain whiskey is made from any grain (corn, rye, and wheat).
On the other hand, gin is made from a base of grain such as barley, wheat, and then after its first distillation, juniper berries give a unique flavor profile to the spirit.
Spectrum of Flavors
Thanks to their maturation, base products, and origin, both beverages have different flavors. Whiskey’s flavors came from the charred American oak barrels, while gin has its flavor from the juniper berries, spices, and herbs.
Whiskey has wide flavor offerings with different alcohol content and distillation processes. The Scotch, Japanese, bourbon, rye, and blended whiskeys are just some.
On the contrary, gin has distilled gin, old tom gin, Bombay sapphire, London gin, and juniper-flavored spirit drinks.
Cocktails & Mixers
Both are excellent spirits to work with when mixing cocktail recipes. However, there are numerous mixed drinks and recipes incorporated with gin. Whiskeys are highly consumed neat and on the rocks like wine, rum, and scotch, but it also works well with mixers.
Gin has a versatile taste, which works like a charm with flavored vodka and other mixers. You can try Clover Club, Bramble, and Tom Collins, famous gin cocktail drinks.
Whiskeys generally have a distinct color because it is aged in charred barrels, while gin is colorless, just like vodka. London dry gin is a neutral spirit/alcohol and does not contain any colorant. It is one of the most noticeable key differences between the two liquors.
The final product of whiskeys is aged in charred or bourbon, while distilled gin is bottled directly after the re-distillation.
Based on the latest market report of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, it is revealed that gin is more popular than most whiskeys. The gin sales went up to 22% based on the combined gin sales in the online, supermarkets, and liquor shops, breaking the record of the billion-pound mark in the UK.
In 2020, the gin industry accumulated more than $13,000 Million, and the UK is the greatest consumer of the drink. However, in terms of commercial dominance for alcohol, whiskey has a wider global appeal. The whiskey industry hit $80,586 million in 2020, with India getting a large chunk of the business.
The price point is another key difference between distilled spirits. Gin has the upper hand in price point because there are cheaper options than other liquor like rum, tequila, vodka, and scotch. The London gin is easier to produce, so it is cheaper than whiskey and American brandy.
Read: Whiskey vs Brandy
Are There Similarities?
While the distilled spirits have their fair share of differences, they have similarities that other spirits do not have. Both spirits undergo the same fermentation and distillation process. In most cases, they are also bottled in 40% ABV, just like vodka. A few exceptions to the ABV are India’s 42.5% alcohol content.
In addition, the spirits are both excellent mixers for cocktails because of their taste, and both have sugar content. They were both used for medical purposes and had some health advantages when consumed.
Is gin healthier than whiskey?
Yes, in a way, gin is healthier than whiskey because it is made from a super fruit called juniper berries. It has a low-calorie count, and thanks to its botanical properties, the distillation process also gives health benefits.
Why is gin cheaper than whiskey?
The availability and rarity make the gin cheaper than whiskey. It is produced faster and cheaper because it does not need to be matured for a certain time. In addition, the raw material and processes are much cheaper than whiskey. However, does gin expire?
Gin and whiskey are liquor available in different parts of the world, and with millions of loyal consumers, not everyone knows the differences between the two spirits. Like tequila, vodka, and rum, the two distilled spirits have different base products, origins, flavor, maturation, and colors.
When drinking, storing, or just stocking up your favorite alcohol, it’s always recommended to know important details about them. We hope that you learned a lot about gin and whiskey in this article.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.