Gin is a liquor used all over the world in mixed drink but it’s terribly underappreciated by customers who take it for granted. The average customer never stops to think about the gin that goes into their martini or other cocktails; so they never know if they are getting the best drink possible. In the 500 years since gin was invented by a Dutch chemist it has evolved into several different types. Each version of this neglected liquor has their own unique flavor, aroma, and body that effects what it should be mixed with and how customers should drink it.
London dry is what the average person thinks of as gin, this type of gin is usually very dry with a pungent aroma and juniper flavor. In order to increase the flowery or botanical flavor that its known for distillers will usually inject London dry gin with a wide range of aromatic ingredients. Done during the 2nd or 3rd distillation process, every distiller uses a different set of ingredients creating unique tastes for every brand. This is the type of gin customers will want for their classic martini, gin and tonics, and aviation cocktails.
A close cousin of the London dry gin, Plymouth gin is less dry that offers an earthy flavor and softer juniper tones than any other type of gin. Plymouth gin is injected with a heady mix of roots that give it that unique earthy flavor that customers won’t find in any other type of gin. Plymouth is unique for two other reasons, first it is only produced in one place in the world Plymouth, England. Second there is only brand of Plymouth gin in the world, unsurprisingly called Plymouth, it was first distilled in 1793 and is now a common part of any bar.
The original type and style of gin created in Holland for medicinal uses by a Dutch chemist, it stands apart from other gin types in several ways. Its biggest difference from other types of gin on our list is that it’s made of malt grains instead of a mix of cereal grains. Those malt grains give Dutch gin a far darker color and flavor that gives it a similar taste to botanical flavored whiskeys; with a light body to match. Dutch gin is usually sipped straight or chilled rather than mixed into martinis.
Another close cousin of the London dry, Old Tom is a much sweeter type of gin. It’s often described as being somewhere between a London dry and Genever because of its sweeter flavor but dry body. It was the favorite drink of actor Tom Collins which makes its name so appropriate. Over the years it has almost completely disappeared from the market but has recently started making a comeback. Old Tom gin is most famously used in making Tom Collins, gin Rickeys, and Martinez cocktails. It can also be used for making Ramos Gin Fizz.
Otherwise known as the “New American Style Gin” it’s a name for types of gin that have appeared recently and use different distilling processes than other types. They all use the same base process for distilling but use flavors other than the juniper berries other gins are made with. Instead they focus on more botanical flavors and fragrances, that are being used by mixologists to invent all new cocktails like the Tante Marie Fizz. Customers will be the most familiar with the Hendrick’s brand international gin that’s flavored with cucumber and rose to give it a sweet and botanical flavor.
These might be the five recognized types of gin but customers must keep in mind that a gins taste will change depending on the brand. Every distiller has their own unique mix of botanical ingredients that can create a sweeter, earthier, or drier style of gin no matter the type. This list is best for deciding on the type of gin that you would most prefer before experimenting with different brands. Try out different brands in your favorite cocktails or different brands in an all new cocktails to learn what you like best.