8 Types of Gin: A Guide to Gin Varieties
If you’ve ever wondered, “What is gin made of?” it’s come quite a long way. Gin was once merely a medicinal liquor made from juniper berries. Today, gin types are as diverse as the flavors they offer, from the traditional London Dry Gin to the contemporary New Western Gin. This guide will help you navigate the world of gin, explore its varieties, and maybe even find your new favorite spirit.
#1 London Dry Gin
Flavor Profile and Distillation Process
A quintessential type of gin, London Dry Gin, sets the standard with its strong juniper flavor and dry finish. Contrary to its name, it doesn't have to be made in London, but it does have to adhere to specific distillation practices. The juniper-led flavor is achieved through re-distillation, where the gin botanicals, including angelica root and coriander, are steeped in neutral grain spirit and then redistilled.
Popular Brands and Tasting Notes
Beefeater London Dry Gin and Bombay Sapphire are two widely-recognized brands that perfectly embody this gin type. Beefeater's classic gin offers a robust juniper flavor with a hint of citrus and spice, while Bombay Sapphire is known for its aromatic botanicals and balanced finish.
#2 Old Tom Gin
A Sweeter Alternative
Old Tom Gin, often termed the missing link between London Dry Gin and Dutch Gin (Genever), offers a sweeter alternative to the traditional dry gin. Its sweetness isn't derived from additives but rather from the malt wine base and the botanicals used.
How Old Tom Gin is Made
Old Tom Gin undergoes a distillation process similar to London Dry Gin. The difference lies in the botanicals used and the presence of residual sugars, which lend it a distinctive sweet flavor profile.
Best Old Tom Gins to Try
Hayman's Old Tom and Ransom Old Tom are two top-notch Old Tom Gins, both offering a perfect balance of sweetness and botanical flavors.
#3 Plymouth Gin
A Classic British Staple
Plymouth Gin, originating from the British city of Plymouth, is a classic gin with a Protected Geographical Indication status. This means true Plymouth Gin can only be produced in Plymouth.
Plymouth Gin's Unique Characteristics
With a less pronounced juniper flavor than London Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin showcases a balanced blend of seven botanicals, creating a smooth and slightly fruity flavor.
Top Plymouth Gin Recommendations
Plymouth Original Strength is a go-to for many gin lovers. Its soft juniper flavor combined with a hint of citrus and spice makes it a versatile choice for any gin cocktail.
#4 Genever (Dutch Gin)
The Original Gin
Genever, often referred to as Dutch Gin, is the original gin. Predating the London Dry style, it's made using a base of malt wine, giving it a flavor profile closer to whiskey.
Flavor Profile and Production Techniques
Genever's flavor is maltier and smoother than most gin types due to its malt wine base and the pot-still distillation method. Some traditional versions even contain as much as 50% malt wine.
Must-Try Genever Brands
Bols and Rutte are two Genever brands that deserve a place on your gin-tasting list. Both offer an authentic taste of this classic spirit.
#5 Navy Strength Gin
A Powerful Punch
Navy Strength Gin, as the name suggests, packs a powerful punch. Clocking in at 57% alcohol by volume, it was a staple aboard British Royal Navy ships, hence the name.
The Story Behind the Name
The term 'Navy Strength' was coined because the gin had to be high-proof enough not to spoil the ship's gunpowder if it accidentally got soaked with the spirit.
Navy Strength Gins Worth a Taste
Brands like Plymouth and Sipsmith offer Navy Strength Gins that truly deliver on the promise of a robust, flavorful gin that isn't for the faint-hearted.
#6 New Western (American) Gin
A Contemporary Twist on a Classic
New Western Gin, often referred to as American Gin, is a modern twist on the classic gin styles. While juniper is still a component, it takes a back seat to a variety of other botanicals.
How New Western Gin Differs from Other Varieties
Unlike traditional gin types, New Western Gin doesn't emphasize juniper as the dominant flavor. Instead, it showcases a diverse range of botanicals, resulting in unique and complex flavor profiles.
Outstanding New Western Gins
Aviation Gin is a standout in the New Western category, offering a subtle juniper flavor complemented by a medley of botanicals that results in a smooth, balanced gin.
#7 Sloe Gin
A Fruity Liqueur
Sloe Gin is actually a gin liqueur, sweet and fruity, thanks to its main ingredient - sloe berries. These small, dark fruits infuse the gin with a sweet-tart flavor, making it a delicious alternative to dry gins.
The Process of Making Sloe Gin
To make Sloe Gin, sloe berries are steeped in gin, often with sugar, and then left to age. This process extracts the flavors and colors of the berries, resulting in a rich, fruity liqueur.
Top Sloe Gins to Enjoy
Sipsmith Sloe Gin is a must-try, offering a perfect balance of sweet and tart with a warming finish. It's excellent sipped neat or as part of a cocktail.
#8 Barrel-Aged Gin
A Bridge Between Gin and Whiskey
Barrel-Aged Gin offers the best of both worlds - the botanical flavors of gin and the rich, caramel notes of whiskey. This is thanks to the aging process, which takes place in oak barrels.
The Aging Process and Flavor Development
Much like whiskey, Barrel-Aged Gin is stored in oak barrels for a period of time, which allows the gin to develop a complex flavor profile. It takes on the characteristics of the wood, resulting in a gin that's full-bodied and rich.
Barrel-Aged Gins You Should Try
Try FEW Spirits Barrel Gin for a gin that offers a taste of both the gin and whiskey worlds, with botanical flavors enriched by notes of vanilla and caramel from the oak aging process.
Find Your Perfect Gin with Barbank
If you’ve ever wondered, “What does gin taste like?”, gin's vast world, filled with diverse styles and flavors, ensures there's a type for everyone, from those who enjoy a classic gin cocktail to adventurous souls looking for the next flavor explosion. Whether you're a gin connoisseur or a curious beginner, dive into the gin world and let Barbank’s online liquor delivery service guide you to your perfect gin.
From London Dry Gin to the fruity Sloe Gin, every variety has a unique story and flavor profile that contributes to the rich tapestry of gin types. So go ahead, explore, taste, and revel in the different types of gin, and buy gin online with Barbank. Your perfect gin is out there, waiting to be discovered!