Spirit drinks
Mahón Gin

The island of Menorca came under British rule from 1712 to 1802, the year when it reverted once and for all to the Spanish. Menorca has an undeniable English influence that is still evident today, reflected by gin's considerable popularity with the Menorcan people, both as a drink and as a sign of their cultural identity. Although gin was originally a Dutch product, it was the English who boosted the trade, changing from importers to manufacturers and becoming enthusiastic gin drinkers. During Menorca's British rule, gin began to be made for the soldiers who were posted there. Initially gin was made with a spirit that was obtained by fermenting grain.

 

It was then distilled and flavoured with juniper berries (Juniperus communis), using various different techniques. Other ingredients were also added, like coriander grains or seeds, angelica root, cinnamon, cumin, orange peel etc. Gradually it started to be made with crops other than grains. At present, under European legislation, «juniper-flavoured» spirits can be obtained by adding juniper berries as an aromatizer to ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, to spirits or to a grain-based distillate. Given Menorca's Mediterranean nature, a wine-based alcohol was chosen instead of one made with grain.

 

This Mediterranean touch, together with certain aromatic herbs, gave Gin de Mahón its character and personality. Gin production first began in Menorca to meet the demand of the English. However, it gradually came to be highly considered and consumed by the islanders themselves. As a result, it survived its original drinkers' departure from the island and now forms part of the history, tastes, customs and celebrations of the Menorcan people (and by extension of many of the inhabitants of the archipelago's other islands).

The Production Process Gin de Mahón is made by distilling ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin and juniper berries in copper stills (Juniperus communis) using wood fires to fuel them directly. Mahón Gin - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy Gin de Mahón contains the following ingredients:

  • Juniper berries, with an oil content of 7-9 parts per thousand.
  • Ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin

Preference is given to juniper berries from plants grown at altitudes of between 800 and 1,000 metres to ensure that the distillate benefits from their full flavour and intensity of aroma. In the production of Gin de Mahón no additional additive, aroma or extract is allowed. The distillates have an alcohol content of 30 to 43%. End products made with liquid-based concentrates that are topped up with a mixture of water and alcohol are avoided, so as to prevent any losses or changes in the aromas and flavours characteristic of the concentration processes, thereby ensuring a better balance and natural effect. The gin is kept in white oak barrels, made with American oaks, so that it absorbs a little of the wood flavour until it is bottled. The geographical area where it is produced is limited to the island of Menorca.

Its Sensorial Characteristics

It is a clear-coloured, free-flowing drink with no viscosity. It gives off a strong aroma of alcohol with a clear predominance of the most volatile juniper components, together with aromas of other grains and seeds. It is strong and dry, as befits a drink with a high alcohol content. At the same time, however, it has a refined, balanced, delicate taste with a marked juniper-berry taste.

Its Chemical Characteristics Gin de Mahón, which is protected by a geographical designation, has the following chemical specifications:

  • Final alcohol content: 38 - 43%.
  • Maximum methyl alcohol content: 1 g/L.
  • Maximum heavy metal content: 40 ppm (expressed as lead).

The Control System

In order to use the Gin de Mahón designation on their labels, gin manufacturers must be listed on the Geographical Designation Register which is supervised by the Insular Council of Menorca.

Mahón Gin - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy
Production data

Year 2018

No. of manufacturers: 1

Output: 338.679 L

Insular Council of Menorca
Ctra. des Grau, km. 0,5 - 07710 MAÓ
Tel. 971 356 050
Fax: 971 350 298

sfo.agricultura@cime.es
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