The Fascinating World of Gin: A Guide to the Different Styles and Flavours

The Fascinating World of Gin: A Guide to the Different Styles and Flavours

Gin has captivated the world with its enigmatic and diverse range of flavours, finding itself at the heart of countless classic cocktails and innovative concoctions. With origins dating back to the 17th century, gin has evolved tremendously, encompassing a broad spectrum of styles and distilling techniques. As we delve into the multifaceted world of this enticing alcoholic spirit, one cannot help but admire the exceptional craftsmanship that goes into every drop of gin.

While juniper berries give gin its distinctive character, countless botanicals have added their own unique contributions to create a diverse landscape of styles and flavours. From crisp London Dry gins to rich Old Tom gin and the elegant Plymouth gin, each variety has its own intricate nuances that tantalise and enchant the palate. At the same time, artisan distilleries such as Jim and Tonic have been pushing the boundaries of traditional gin-making, experimenting with unconventional botanicals and infusions to create truly one-of-a-kind bespoke gins – an ode to the versatility and adaptability of this beloved spirit.

In our comprehensive guide to the world of gin, we'll start by delving into the fascinating gin-making process – a captivating journey that transforms the base spirit into the aromatic and refined beverage we all know and love. 

Next, we'll explore the various gin styles that have emerged over time, each with its unique history, characteristics and appeal. As we examine the botanicals that shape and influence gin flavours, we'll gain a greater appreciation for the countless variants and subtleties that make gin such a versatile and delightful drink.

Ultimately, our journey through the world of gin will culminate in tips and guidance on selecting the perfect bottle to suit any occasion or preference. Whether you're seeking a classic London Dry for a timeless G&T or an innovative, small-batch creation that pushes the limits of gin's potential, our guide will empower you with the knowledge and confidence to make the perfect choice.

Embark on this enriching journey with us, and immerse yourself in the alluring world of gin – celebrating its rich history, embracing its diverse styles and discovering the endless possibilities and enjoyment that await in every sip.

The Gin-making Process: From Base Spirit to Finished Product

An Intricate Transformation

The production of gin starts with a neutral, high-proof base spirit, typically distilled from grains such as wheat, barley, or rye. The magic begins when this spirit is redistilled with an array of botanicals, including the essential juniper berries, which imbue the gin with its unique and characteristic flavours. The resulting spirit is then diluted with water to reach the desired alcohol content before it is bottled and ready for enjoyment.

A Delicate Balancing Act

The crafting of a fine gin requires an expert hand and a keen understanding of how different botanicals interact during the distilling process. Master distillers carefully select and balance their recipe of botanicals to create gins that boast harmony, depth and complexity. While juniper remains the star of the show, a multitude of other ingredients, such as citrus peels, herbs, spices and even fruit, contribute to the vast spectrum of gin flavours available.

Popular Gin Styles: London Dry, Old Tom, Plymouth and More

An Array of Distinct Styles

Gin's journey through history has given birth to numerous distinct styles, each offering a unique drinking experience. Some of the most famous styles include:

  • London Dry Gin: Known for its crisp and clean profile, London Dry is the classic gin style. It showcases a bold juniper flavour, often accompanied by citrus and herbal notes. Despite its name, London Dry gin need not be produced in London, but must adhere to specific production regulations, including the prohibition of added sweeteners or colourings.
  • Old Tom Gin: A sweeter and more full-bodied style, Old Tom gin bridges the gap between London Dry and the sweeter Dutch genever. It's often barrel-aged, giving it a golden hue and slightly richer flavour profile. Old Tom gin works well in cocktails, providing a smooth and well-rounded backbone.
  • Plymouth Gin: Exclusive to Plymouth, England, this style of gin is slightly sweeter than London Dry and has a more prominent, earthy character. Plymouth gin boasts a well-balanced blend of botanicals, making it an excellent choice for sipping neat or in classic cocktails, such as the esteemed martini.

The Botanicals behind Gin Flavours: Juniper and Beyond

Nature's Treasure Trove

The vast array of gin flavours stems from an extensive list of botanicals used in the distilling process. While juniper is essential for a spirit to be considered gin, it has a diverse supporting cast of natural ingredients that impart unique flavours.

  • Juniper Berries: The unmistakable essence of gin, juniper berries impart the signature piney and resinous flavour that defines the spirit. The strength and depth of juniper notes vary from gin to gin, setting the stage for a myriad of blend possibilities with other botanicals.
  • Citrus Peels: Commonly found in many gins, citrus peels deliver a fresh and zesty dimension to the flavour profile. Lemon, orange and grapefruit peels are popular choices, providing a fruity and bright counterbalance to juniper's bold character.
  • Herbs and Spices: Gin-makers often incorporate a treasure trove of fragrant herbs and spices into their recipes to create complex flavour profiles. Coriander is a common addition, adding a sweet and citrusy touch, while spicy notes from peppercorns or cardamom can be found in more adventurous creations.

Choosing the Perfect Gin: Tips for Selecting the Right Bottle

Navigating the Gin Landscape

With countless gin options available, choosing the perfect bottle may seem like a daunting task. Here are a few tips for making the right choice:

  • Determine Your Preferred Style: Consider your taste preferences when selecting a gin. For a clean, classic gin flavour, choose a London Dry. If you're seeking a sweeter, more full-bodied gin, try an Old Tom. Branch out to explore regional styles, such as Plymouth gin, for a unique and captivating experience.
  • Consider Your Drinking Occasion: If you plan on mixing cocktails, select a versatile and reliable gin, such as a London Dry, that will hold up well in various drink creations. For sipping neat or on the rocks, consider a small-batch or aged gin with a more distinct and intricate flavour profile.
  • Explore Artisanal and Boutique Gins: Don't hesitate to venture beyond mainstream brands and discover the world of bespoke gins created by artisan distilleries, such as Jim and Tonic. These unique and innovative creations can offer novel and unforgettable drinking experiences.


Gin is a fascinating and versatile alcoholic spirit, boasting a rich history, diverse styles and an incredible range of botanical flavours. Armed with the knowledge of the gin-making process and key tips for selecting the perfect bottle, you're now ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of gin. Explore and experiment with both classic and avant-garde gins, letting your senses guide you on an unforgettable journey of flavour and discovery.

Venture into the intriguing world of artisanal gin with Jim and Tonic's exquisite handcrafted range. Begin your flavour adventure now and experience the outstanding dedication and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle. Shop for bespoke gins

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