For all of the budding gin geeks out there, we’ve put together a handy, little guide to some of the different styles of gin out there!
London Dry Gin
London Dry Gin, sometimes referred to as London Gin or Dry Gin, can be made anywhere in the world as it not subject to a PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator). To be classified as a London Dry if it adheres to the following regulations: it must be distilled from ethanol of agricultural origin, be at or above 37.5% ABV, cannot have any kind of flavouring or colouring added to it post-distillation (bar a small amount of sugar if required) and juniper must be the predominant flavour.
London Dry is the most common kind of gin made today; it is clean, juniper-y and will carefully present the flavours of the botanicals used in it’s creation. Sipsmith and Geranium are both good examples of classic London Dry gins.
Distilled gins are very common today, the initial production is much like that of London Dry gins (though without the same legal requirements), distilled gins are able to have much more adventurous flavour profiles as any number and range of flavours and ingredients can be added after the initial distillation. It is also possible to add new distillates into a distilled gin, and to redistill them. Brockmans is an utterly delicious example of this!
Old Tom Gin
Old Tom is a soft, sweet and very traditional kind of gin, it is full of gentle spice and has its origins in the 17th century when gin was mass produced on an enormous scale, exotic flavourings would be added to low quality alcohol to cover up the taste.
Modern day Old Tom’s forgo the seedier aspect of the drink, instead using high quality ingredients to make small batches. It is this kind of gin that would have been drunk during the Gin Craze, as well as being the base for many of the early gin cocktails. Jensen’s Old Tom is a staff favourite here at Gin Festival!
While there are many gins made in Holland, they are no more a specific variety of gin than an English or Spanish gin; what is actually being referred to is genever which isn’t a gin but a drink in it’s own right.
It is the traditional drink of the Netherlands and Belgium.While gin will tend to be from a neutral grain spirit, genever is made from malt wine (jonge genever will use up to 15% malt wine and the oude will contain from 15% to 50%. Though tasting of juniper, genever is noticeably malty with stronger herbal notes. Bols are renowned for making genever and are one of the oldest distilleries in the world.
While fruit gins (such as sloe gin) use a gin base, the finished product is actually a gin liqueur as the alcohol content is not high enough to be classified as a gin. They tend to have a thicker consistency than other gins and while the fruit will be the dominant flavour, the unmistakable taste of gin should cut through this. To make fruit gin liqueurs, fruit and sugar will be left in gin for an extended period of time (usually 3 - 6 months). Bathtub’s Sloe Gin is a more than worthy gold medal winner.
Now, this list isn't definitive, there are more styles of gin out there, but it is a solid introduction to some of the most common varieties, and the ones you’re most likely to come across!
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