The Art Of Making Gin After The Process Of The Holland Distillers

Having indicated the most proper means of obtaining spirits, I will now

offer to the public the manner of making Gin, according to the methods

used by the distillers in Holland. It may be more properly joined to the

art of making whiskey, as it adds only to the price of the liquor, that

of the juniper berries, the product of which will amply repay its cost.

Many distillers in the United States have tried to imitate the excellent
liquor coming from Holland, under the name gin. They have imagined

different methods of proceeding, and have more or less attained their

end. I have myself tried it, and my method is consigned in a patent.

But those imitations are far from the degree of perfection of the

Holland gin: they want that unity of taste, which is the result of a

single creation; they are visibly compounds, more or less well combined,

and not the result of a spontaneous production.

To this capital defect, which makes those imitations so widely different

from their original, is joined their high price, which prevents its

general consumption. In fact, it is made at a considerable expense: the

whiskey must be purchased, rectified and distilled over again with the

berries. These expenses are increased by the waste of spirit occasioned

by those reiterated distillations. This brings the price of this false

gin to three times that of the whiskey: consequently the poorer sort of

people, whose number is always considerable, are deprived of the

benefits of a wholesome liquor, and restrained to whiskey, which is

commonly not so.

The methods used in Holland, have reduced gin to the lowest price; that

of the juniper berries being there very trifling, and increasing but

little the price of whiskey: still that small addition is almost reduced

to nothing, as will be seen hereafter.

The United States are, in some parts, almost covered with the tree

called here cedar; which tree is no other than the juniper, and grows

almost every where, and bears yearly a berry, which is in reality the

juniper berry. Some Hollanders knew it at Boston, collected considerable

quantities of it in Massachusetts, and shipping it to some of the

eastern harbors, sold it as coming from Holland. I have seen some at

Philadelphia ten years ago, at the house of a Hollander, who received it

from Massachusetts in hogsheads of about ten hundred weight, and sold as

the produce of his own country, what was really that of the United


I collected myself a great quantity of those berries, at Norfolk, Va. by

means of negroes, to whom I paid one dollar per bushel of 40 lbs. being

2-1/2 cts. per pound. Two years ago, it sold for 6 cents in

Philadelphia, and bore the same price at Pittsburgh.

There is a great deal of cedar in Kentucky, and consequently of berries.

I have seen them at Blue Licks, and they abound near the Kentucky


Although an incredible number of those trees is cut down daily, there is

still a greater number standing, in the United States; and millions of

bushels of berries are lost every year, while only skilful hands are

wanted, to make them useful to mankind. The juniper berry has many

medical properties: it is a delightful aromatic, and contains an oil

essential, and a sweet extract, which by the fermentation yields a

vinous liquor, made into a sort of wine in some countries; that is

called wine for the poor: it strengthens the stomach, when debilitated

by bad food or too hard labor.

The Hollanders, who have long had the art of trading upon every thing,

have constantly turned even their poverty to account. They have immense

fabrications of gin, and scarcely any juniper trees. They only collect

the berry in those countries where it is neglected as useless, as in

France and Tyrol, which produce a great deal of it. The United States

need have no recourse to Europe, in order to get the juniper berries:

they have in abundance at home, what the Hollanders can only procure

with trouble and money. They can therefore rival them with great

advantage; but they must follow the same methods employed in the Holland


The juniper berry contains the sweet mucous extract, in a great

proportion: it has therefore the principle necessary to the spirituous

fermentation; and, indeed, it ferments spontaneously. When fresh, and

heaped up, it acquires a degree of heat, but not enough to burn, as I

have ascertained: it is therefore safely transported in hogsheads. From

that facility of fermenting, it must be considered as a good ferment,

and as increasing the quantity of spirit, when joined to a fermentable


A distiller may at pleasure convert his whiskey into gin. He needs only

to perfume the wort which he puts in fermentation, by adding a certain

quantity of the berries, slightly broken: the fermentation is then

common to both; their sweet mucosity enriches that of the wort, and

increases the spirit, while at the same time the soapy extract, which is

the proximate principle of vegetation, yields the essential oil, which

perfumes the liquor.[C]

The fermentation being common to both substances, unites them

intimately; and when, by the distillation, the spirit is separated from

the water, there remains an homogenous liquor, resulting from a single

creation, and having that unity of taste, and all the properties of

Holland gin, because obtained by the same means.

One single and same distillation can therefore yield to the distiller

either gin or whiskey, as it requires no more labor, and its conversion

into gin costs only the price of the berries, which repays him amply,

either by the spirit it yields, or by its essential oil, which, floating

on the surface, may be easily collected. This oil bears a great price,

and the Hollanders sell much of it.

We have seen, in the 10th chapter of this work, that my hogsheads for

the fermentation, contain about 120 gallons of wort, being the

production of the saccharine extract of 12 bushels of grain. The

intelligent distiller will himself determine the quantity of berries

necessary for each hogshead to have a good aromatic perfume. He may

begin with 10 lbs. per hogshead; and will, upon trial, judge whether or

not this quantity is sufficient, or must be increased. At any rate,

economy should not be consulted in the use of the berries, since their

price does not increase that of the whiskey. This low price must

naturally become the principle of an immense fabrication of gin; and

henceforth it will be an important article of exportation for the United

States, as well as a considerable and wholesome object of home