Love a Gin, but do you know the different styles?
Gin today is produced in different ways from a wide range of botanicals, giving rise to a number of distinct styles and brands. In the USA, "gin" is defined as an alcoholic beverage of no less than 40% ABV, while 37.5% ABV in the EU. While it's true that the majority of cosmopolitan cities across the world are enjoying the cocktail revolution, there are still significant points of difference between countries, too. From the drinking culture (cocktails in the USA versus G&Ts in the UK), to styles of Gin. “While the American affinity for Gin continues to grow at a steady clip, it is not nearly as ingrained as it is in British culture”.
In recent years you may have noticed an explosion of craft Gins, which generally all stem from these 7 ‘essential Gin styles’:
Perhaps the most familiar and common gin style, London Dry dates back to the early 19th-century gin craze in England. Now, London Dry can be made anywhere and refers less to the flavour and more to the process: All the flavour ingredients are extracted before or during distillation — nothing further can be added later. Taste-wise, there is little to no sweetness in a London Dry.
New Western / New World
A New Western gin uses an extensive array of botanicals in addition to juniper and are usually sweeter than the traditional London Dry style.
Made only by the Plymouth Gin Distillery in the south of England, this style of gin dates back to 1793. It is generally drier and more citrus-forward than London Dry (less juniper forward), and it also uses more roots in its botanical blend, giving it an earthy taste.
Legend has it that 18th-century British naval vessels stored their gin allotments near the gunpowder below decks. If any gin leakage occurred, the gunpowder would still spark if the gins were over 109 proof, or Navy Strength. Today, a gin is considered such once it reaches 57% ABV (114 proof).
Old Tom gin is usually a richer and sweeter gin than London Dry, as sweeteners (sugar or frequently licorice) can be added after distillation. And Old Toms are sometimes colored due to use of a malt base and/or barrel-ageing.
Genever gin is another regional alcohol, but this one was created in 16th-century Holland. This type of gin is made with malted grains and the alcohol content is lower (35%) when compared to other styles of gin (40%-47%), which makes it very easy to sip.
Sloe Gin is a sweetened gin-based liqueur commonly used for mixing in dessert cocktails.
And that’s it! Hopefully you will have expanded your knowledge of the World’s favourite spirit - and the next time you’re out shopping for a new tipple you may find something new to your taste, and of course, our East Imperial range is the ultimate collection of tonic waters and other mixers to perfectly pair with your premium Gin.