Distillers use the juniper berry to provide gin's predominant flavor. The word "gin" is a shortened form of the Dutch word "genever," which means "juniper."
Though all gin tastes of juniper berries, different distillers use other botanicals, such as flowers, spices, vegetable and herbs, to produce a unique flavor.
Gin has existed since at least the 16th century, when Flemish distillers produced the liquor, but it began to gain international fame 100 years later when many distillers moved to the Netherlands. Taking advantage of that country's extensive trade networks, they shipped their products across Europe and to the Netherlands' colonies. When the Dutch nobleman William of Orange came to the English throne, gin became especially popular in England, eventually causing the Gin Craze of the first half of the 18th century. During this period, some distillers flavored bootleg gin with turpentine.