Different Gin bottles shelf

9 different types of Gin you need to know

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 31, 2022 
In the past decade, Gin became one of the most fashionable spirits and that led to a sheer endless variety. With so many options, labels and spices, picking one can can quickly get an overwhelming task. But knowing the different types of Gin will certainly help.

In the past few years, hundreds of Gins flooded  the market. It seems like it has never been that popular as it is today. At least not on a global scale - and it doesn’t stop. We also love Gin - it doesn’t matter if used in a cocktail or a Gin & Tonic. For every kind of drink, there's a perfect type of it. If you're new to Gin and still believe that it is only juniper flavored Vodka, we show you that there's more about it. Here are 9 different types of Gin and what they taste like.

London Dry Gin

The London Dry Gin is probably the most famous type of Gin at the moment. But also the one with the strictest rules. A London Dry doesn’t have to be produced in London, but there are plenty of other rules that you have to follow:

  • At least 37,5% alcohol
  • Distilled with natural botanicals in the still (all at the same time)
  • Clear (you can only add water)
  • No sugar or flavors addition afterward

A lot of London Dry Gins have a strong juniper note. But for most of them, it’s no longer the main thing you can taste.

Dry Gin

A Dry Gin is quite similar to a London Dry Gin but with fewer restrictions. You are allowed to add natural substances and botanicals at any time of the process. You can also change the color and of the product with natural colors and flavors. But it has to stay boozy - at least 37,5% of alcohol.

Plymouth Gin

Yes, Plymouth Gin is technically a type of Gin. Although there is only one distillery creating it. Plymouth Gin became very popular when mentioned in the Savoy cocktail book. In total there were 23 cocktail recipes in this book using it. It is one reason why it was one of the most popular Gins in the first part of the 20th century.

When it comes to flavor, the Plymouth Gin is dryer than a typical London Dry Gin. It also has quite a strong citrus note, and you might get a spicy finish from the mix of seven botanicals. One of them is Orris roots. They create a fantastic earthy note, making it a perfect ingredient for Martinis and Negronis. If you look for a more detailed recommendation, we put together a list with the best Gins for Martinis and one with the best Gins for Negronis, too.

Sloe Gin

Officially the Sloe Gins are no Gin but Liqueurs. But they are allowed to use the word Gin - although most of them do not reach the minimum percentage of alcohol to be one (37,5%). The minimum amount of alcohol a Sloe Gin needs to have to be called a "Gin" is 25%.

It is created by adding Sloe berries and sugar  to a Gin. Over the next weeks and months, the Sloe Gin develops and gets its unique, dark red color. When used in a Gin & Tonic the Sloe berries add a new and fruity taste to your classic G&T.

New Western Dry Gin

New Western Dry is a very young type. Around the year 2000 several gin crafters (especially American craft Gin distillers) tried to push the boundaries with less juniper-forward creations. There have been discussions if those creations could still be called Gin. You can - and this new type is now called New Western Dry Gin.Sometimes they are also referred to as New Wave.

Some examples for these not so traditional Gins are Hendricks (cucumber forward), G'Vine & Nordés (grape forward), or the fruity and floral Aviation.

Old Tom Gin

Originally Old Tom Gin is a sweetened style. In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century it had abad reputation as people started to make their own Gin - sometimes even sweetening the Gin with licorice. The street name by then was Old Tom.

Today Old Tom Gin has nothing to do with this kind of bathtub Gin. It's distilled using high-quality botanicals. The sweetness comes from added licorice in the distillation process, no flavors are added afterward. It is richer than a London Dry and works very well in mixed drinks. A superb fit for pre-Prohibition Cocktails.

The Casino Cocktail

A riff on the Aviation Cocktail incorporating Old Tom Gin in the most beautiful way.

Learn how to make the Classic Casino Cocktail.

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Casino Cocktail

Reserve Gin

Gin does not have to be cask-aged, but today this is a new trend. The cask-aged Gin absorbs the notes of the wooden casks, and also its color changes slightly. You can also see that in the beautiful color it develops. Some find it interesting others think of it as just a new way to increase Gin prices.

No matter what you might think about those Gins, they bring some new flavors and variation into the Gin-world.

Compound / Bathtub Gin

Maybe the least popular type in this list. A compound - or also called bathtub - Gin is not distilled. Instead, the botanicals are added to neutral alcohol separately and then mixed at the end. One of the main issues with this type is that it might change in taste and color over time. If the botanicals are not filtered correctly, the tiny parts of botanicals are still developing flavor and color over time.

Using this method, You can create your own Gin at home. That is not super easy but super fun.

Genever

Genever is the original style of Gin from the Netherlands and Belgium. Dating back to the 16th century and its creation process is closer to a whiskey than a typical Gin. Distilled from a malted grain mash (similar to Whiskey), Genever is often cask aged for 1-3 years. There are two versions of Genever - Oude (old) and Jonge (young).

Old Genever is the original style and is relatively sweet and aromatic. Young Genever is drier and has a lighter body. It is best used in very rich cocktails with sweet vermouth or in a Gin old fashioned.

Which type of Gin is the best?

Well, that's obviously up to you. It highly depends on how you want to drink it and what your personal preferences are. Every type and even every Gin itself is different. But of course, there are some things you should consider choosing your best fit. An Old Genever usually works great in a Gin Old fashioned. A Plymouth Gin works great in Martinis and Negronis. And if you like to enjoy your Gin Tonic with a less juniper heavy Gin - take a look at the New Wave Gins.

You can also check out our Gin recipes if you need some inspiration.

More types of Gin?

We hope you liked the article. If you think our list of different types of Gin is missing something, please let us know. We are happy to update the article and keep everyone up-to-date.

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