If you are an avid drinker, you may have had your variety of gin-based drinks. From the simple gin and tonic to the fruity negronis, the options with this spirit are endless. However, have you ever wondered what gin is made from?
In this article, we will run you through everything you need to know about the different types of gin.
Is Gin the Same as Vodka?
Some people may say that gin is just juniper-flavoured vodka. Sure enough, gin and vodka are made from neutral grain spirits like rye, barley, wheat, and corn. However, they are not the same.
Gin is steeped with botanicals such as dried herbs, roots, citrus peels and redistilled. This is what gives gin its unique juniper taste.
On the other hand, vodka is distilled and redistilled, so you get the grainy taste of wheat.
Given that gin may be steeped with various botanicals, there are different kinds of gin with distinct characteristics and uses, which we will discuss below.
London Dry for the Juniper Notes
London Dry is what people usually think of when they think of "gin." A classic gin and tonic or martini are made using this spirit. Juniper is the most prominent flavour in this gin, and that's why it's named gin (genévrier in French).
The strong piney flavour of juniper mellows down once it is distilled. Some brands immerse fresh or dried citrus peels, giving London Dry a vibrant, citrus taste. This is why adding a twist of lemon to a martini brings out even more of the citrus flavour.
Plymouth Gin for a Drier and Citrus Taste
Plymouth gin is technically a gin type. However, it is produced by only one distillery, one of the oldest known distilleries in the United Kingdom. It has a rich history as it has gone through a lot—different owners, World War II, and the typical march of time.
Plymouth grew in popularity throughout the early half of the twentieth century, when there were several gins coming out in the market.
In terms of flavour, it's drier and more citrus-driven than London Dry. It has a spicy finish from its seven botanicals: juniper, coriander seed (which adds acidity), dried sweet orange peels, cardamom, Angelica root, and Orris root. Because of those roots, the gin has more of an earthy flavour, and the juniper is a touch softer.
Old Tom for a Rich Sweet Taste
Old Tom was initially a sweeter variety of gin made around the middle of the 18th century. It was once the street name of gin that people usually made using sweetening agents.
Nowadays, Old Tom is a very lovely gin; the botanicals are generally distilled. The sweetness comes from a more significant amount of liquorice in the distillation; no flavour is added afterwards.
It doesn't taste like liquorice, but the changing component balance influences the texture and sense of flavour. Because it has a fuller taste than London Dry, Old Tom performs better in mixed beverages and pre-Prohibition cocktails and anything with bitter qualities.
Genever for Robust and Rich Flavor
This is the original gin style, dating back to the 16th century in Holland. Similar to whiskey, the basic grains are malted. This means that the grains are allowed to germinate for a bit before it is interrupted. This process gives it a more robust flavour. It is likewise flavoured with juniper and botanicals, although to a lesser extent than the other gins.
The grains are fermented for around five days before being transformed into a mash, similar to how whiskey is manufactured. Then they'll add various botanicals, including juniper, but the distinction between dry gins and Genever is that juniper isn't the primary taste.
There are many different types of gin all around the world. Certain types are better as a base for certain cocktails than others. However, no matter the type of branded gin you are getting, it is an excellent addition to your drinks!
Are you looking for a gin bar in London? Head on to Jim and Tonic! You can visit our cocktail bar or shop for your favourite gin online!