Base Spirit: Corn

The base spirit of a gin refers to the distillate to which botanicals were added. It’s helpful to think about the base spirit as a vodka-like spirit that the distiller used as a starting point— a blank canvas upon which the gin was designed.

But choice of base alone doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to taste it. Depending on choices the distiller makes, such as how many times the base is distilled, or to what strength it is distilled to— there might be no character at all coming from the base spirit.

Corn Base

Gin is rather unique among spirit categories. While many spirits are defined by the type of distillate— for gin this is not true. Gin can have any base spirit, and as long juniper is predominant. It’s gin.

Corn spirit is American origin. During the era of European exploration corn was one of the first crops that they took back to their home continent.

In the modern day, many gin distillers are playing with corn as a base. Firstly, because it is easily and widely available. Grown to surplus levels, especially stateside it’s an easy source of fermentable sugar. Secondly, if a distillery is also distilling a bourbon— which legally requires at least 51% of the mash bill to be corn— they probably are bringing a great deal of it in.

But thirdly and most importantly— many people choose a corn base because of the taste and texture. Corn spirit is often described as being slightly sweeter in character, especially on the finish than other grains. Corn spirit can also have residual character suggestive of— well corn. Corn chips, masa dough, or creamed corn aren’t unheard of as tasting notes for corn spirit.

Gins with a corn base


Last updated September 1st, 2020 by Aaron Knoll
Last updated December 16th, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
Last updated December 16th, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
Tommyrotter Distillery Cask Strength Bourbon Barrel Gin
Last updated October 1st, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
Empress 1908 Gin
Last updated August 11th, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
Gin Farallon bottle
Last updated July 2nd, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
Harbor of Broken Souls Gin
Last updated April 25th, 2019 by Aaron Knoll
No Return Gin
Last updated April 2nd, 2019 by Aaron Knoll