The Different Types of Gin

Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage that derives its predominant flavor from juniper berries, giving it its distinctive taste.

Glass and bottle of gin and branch of Juniper with berries

It’s heavily regulated around the world, and in order to be classed as gin, the distilled liquor must be at least 40% ABV or 80 proof. 

Gin today is broader than it has been in the past, and the industry has opened up to new styles and flavors of gin. In this article we explore the four main types of gin.

After juniper, gin tends to be flavored with botanical and herbal notes, hints of spice, floral or fruit flavors or often a combination of all of these. 

Types of Gin

Read on to learn about different types of gin, their botanical flavors, and the mixed drinks they go best in.

London Dry Gin

London dry gin is considered the original gin, and it’s also the variety with the most juniper-forward flavor.

Bottle of Gordon London Dry Gin
Bottle of Gordon London Dry Gin

That said, some London dry gins steep fresh citrus peels or dried peels before distillation, which gives them a bright, citrus flavor that works extremely well in a martini.

The amount of flavors, coloring, and sugar that distillers are allowed to use for London dry gin is regulated, however. 

London Dry Gin originated in London, but it does not have to be produced in London to be considered London Dry Gin. Instead, the “London” is a quality designation to know that this distilled gin is high quality and juniper-forward.

Dry Gin

A variety of gin known as “dry gin” is distinguished by the use of botanicals and a significant amount of juniper berries.

glasses of gin and tonic cocktails

Dry gin is the most popular type of gin, and many traditional drinks like the martini and gin and tonic frequently start with dry gin as their base.

The quantity of botanicals used in the distillation process is the main distinction between dry gin and other gin varieties. Dry gin is distilled with barely any flavorings or sugar added, allowing the flavor of the botanicals to come through.

Dry gin may also contain other botanicals including coriander, angelica root, lemon or orange peel, orris root, and cinnamon in addition to juniper.

Dry gin’s requirement to be distilled at a high ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage—typically above 70%—before being diluted to the final bottling strength is another essential feature. This distillation procedure helps to produce a spirit that is crisp and pure, making it ideal for blending in cocktails.

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Plymouth Gin

Plymouth gin has a sweeter taste than London dry gin and must be produced in Plymouth, England to earn the name.

Plymouth Gin Black Friars distillery
Plymouth Gin Black Friars distillery

Today, there is only one brand of Plymouth gin which is produced by the Black Friars Distillery – the only remaining gin distillery in Plymouth.

Navy Strength Gin

Yep, you guessed it – this gin is strong. It’s 57% ABV or roughly 110 proof, so if you like your martinis extra strong, this is the type of gin to go for.

four pillars gin bottles

Allegedly, navy strength gin is stronger as ships didn’t have a lot of space to store liquor, so by increasing the strength of the gin sailors would get drunk faster on a smaller quantity. Win-win!

Old Tom Gin

Old Tom is good for people who aren’t gin-lovers by nature, as it’s sweeter than the other varieties of gin, and its botanical notes aren’t as strong.

3 types of haymans gin bottles

Old Tom gin is regularly used in gin cocktails as it blends well with other ingredients, so this is better if you want a more subtle tasting gin.

Old Tom gin is softer in flavor, and it’s more similar to Dutch genever gin described below.

Japanese Gin

Japanese gin is a particular variety of gin made in Japan from traditional and regional botanicals and methods that pay homage to the nation’s distinct history and culture.

roku japanese gin bottle

Japanese gin frequently uses a range of botanicals, including traditional Japanese ingredients like yuzu, sakura blossoms, and green tea, and typically emphasizes a balance of flavors.

Depending on the brand and recipe, Japanese gin can have a variety of flavors, but generally speaking, it has a smooth and well-balanced flavor profile with an emphasis on floral and citrus notes.

Japanese gin differs from other types of gin produced abroad like typical London dry gin due to the usage of Japanese botanicals, which give it a unique flavor. Moreover, Japanese gin is frequently distilled with rice-based

Genever Gin

Genever gin is a type of gin that originated in the Netherlands and is prepared from a malted grain mash that is comparable to that used in the creation of whisky.

dutch genever gin in tulip glasses

It is sometimes referred to as jenever or Dutch gin. Genever has a distinct flavor profile and production method from other types of gin, and it is frequently regarded as the forerunner to London dry gin.

Genever is distilled from a mixture of malted barley, rye, and corn and is then flavored with juniper berries, coriander, and anise. As a result, the resulting spirit has a smooth texture, a strong juniper flavor, and a flavor that is slightly sweet and malty.

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Types of Gin

  1. London Dry Gin
  2. Dry Gin
  3. Plymouth Gin
  4. Navy Strength Gin
  5. Old Tom Gin
  6. Japanese Gin
  7. Genever Gin

Which Kind of Gin Do You Prefer?

Whether you prefer a strong botanical flavor or a more neutral spirit, there are different types of gin for everyone! If you drink gin, you should give each of the types of gin a try to find out which is your favorite.

Tell us in the comments which gin you like to drink, and check out gin cocktails to make with it!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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