Gin, a spirit with a rich history and a versatile character, has evolved over the centuries to become a beloved and diverse beverage. Its distinct flavour profile, primarily derived from juniper berries, sets it apart from other spirits. As we embark on a journey through the world of gin, let’s explore the various types that grace our glasses.

Check out the history of gin here.

1. London Dry Gin

One of the most iconic and widely recognized types of gin is London Dry Gin. Despite its name, it doesn’t necessarily have to be made in London, but it must adhere to specific production methods. London Dry Gin is known for its crisp and dry taste, with a strong emphasis on juniper. Brands like Beefeater and Tanqueray have become synonymous with this style, offering a classic and timeless gin experience.

Types of Gin - London Dry

2. Plymouth Gin

Hailing from the historic naval town of Plymouth in England, Plymouth Gin is a style with its own geographical indication. It boasts a slightly sweeter and fruitier profile compared to London Dry, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a softer gin. The Pilgrim fathers are said to have enjoyed this gin before setting sail from England for what we now call North and South America, adding a touch of historical significance to its legacy.

3. Contemporary Gin: Pushing Boundaries and Breaking Traditions

In the dynamic world of spirits, contemporary gin has emerged as a trendsetter, pushing the boundaries of traditional gin-making. Distillers and mixologists are embracing innovation, experimenting with unconventional botanicals, and redefining what gin can be.

Botanical Exploration:

Contemporary gins are characterised by a bold approach to botanical selection. While juniper remains a key player, distillers are incorporating a wide array of botanicals that go beyond the classic juniper-citrus duo. Ingredients like lemongrass, elderflower, and even exotic spices like saffron are finding their way into contemporary gin recipes, creating complex and multi-layered flavour profiles. As an Australian distillery, we like to showcase spirits from the land, using flavours from lemon myrtle, finger lime, or Kakadu plums. Read more about our organic Australian botanicals.

Types of Gin - Australian Gin

Craft Distillation:

The craft distillation movement has played a significant role in the rise of contemporary gin. Artisanal distillers are taking a hands-on approach, carefully selecting and sourcing botanicals, and often utilising small-batch production methods. This attention to detail allows for greater creativity and a more personalised touch, resulting in gins that reflect the unique vision of the distiller.

Barrel-Aged Gins:

In a nod to whiskey and other aged spirits, contemporary gin producers are experimenting with barrel aging. Gins aged in wooden barrels develop a rich and nuanced character, with the wood imparting additional flavours and complexities. The result is a gin with a more rounded and mature profile, challenging the notion that gin must always be clear and unaged.

Colourful Expressions:

While gin has traditionally been associated with clear spirits, contemporary gin has broken free from this convention. Some distillers are introducing colourful expressions, adding a visual element to the tasting experience. Pink gins, infused with berries or floral elements, have gained popularity, offering a vibrant and Instagram-worthy twist on the classic.

Collaborations and Limited Editions:

Contemporary gin brands are increasingly engaging in collaborations with chefs, artists, and other creative minds. These collaborations often result in limited edition releases that showcase unique and experimental flavour profiles. Limited edition contemporary gins are not only a treat for the taste buds but also a collector’s item for enthusiasts looking to explore the cutting edge of the gin world.

4. Navy Strength Gin

For those seeking a more robust and powerful gin experience, Navy Strength Gin is the answer. Historically, it was crafted to withstand the rough conditions of naval life. The term “Navy Strength” refers to a high-proof spirit, typically around 57-58% alcohol by volume. The normal strength of gin varies, but it is generally lower than “Navy Strength” gin. Most standard gins have an alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 40% to 47%, with 40% being the most common. This percentage is often referred to as “40% ABV” or simply “80 proof”. It denotes that the spirit is 40% pure alcohol. This style allows the botanicals to shine through even at higher concentrations, delivering an intense and flavorful punch. It’s not for the faint of heart but promises a bold and memorable sipping experience.

5. Genever

Considered the precursor to modern gin, genever has its roots in the Netherlands. This juniper-flavoured spirit is crafted from a blend of malt wine and a neutral grain spirit. Unlike the clear and juniper-forward gins, we’re familiar with today, genever has a fuller, maltier flavour with a more pronounced botanical complexity. It’s worth exploring for those curious about gin’s historical evolution and its Dutch origins.

6. Old Tom Gin

Step back in time with Old Tom Gin, a style that bridges the gap between the drier London Dry and the sweeter Dutch Genever. Old Tom was popular in the 18th century and is characterised by a slightly sweetened profile. The name “Old Tom” allegedly originated from an old tradition. Pub owners would place a wooden plaque shaped like a black cat, called Old Tom, outside their establishments. Thirsty patrons would insert coins into the cat’s mouth, and a shot of gin would be dispensed. Brands like Hayman’s are reviving this classic style, giving modern gin enthusiasts a taste of history.

7. New Western Dry Gin

In recent years, a new wave of gin styles has emerged, challenging traditional definitions. New Western Dry Gin is characterized by a departure from the juniper-forward focus. Instead, these gins showcase a variety of botanicals, often with one or two key flavours taking centre stage. Brands like Hendrick’s, with its infusion of rose and cucumber, exemplify this approach, inviting gin enthusiasts to explore a broader spectrum of flavours.

8. Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin is a delightful and fruity variation that incorporates sloe berries, a type of wild plum. The berries add a sweet and tart flavour, creating a gin liqueur with a beautiful ruby hue. Sloe Gin is often enjoyed on its own or as a key ingredient in cocktails. Its sweeter profile makes it an approachable option for those who might find traditional gins too dry.

Types of Gin - Sloe Gin

9. Flavoured Gins

As the gin renaissance continues, distillers are experimenting with an array of botanicals, fruits, and spices to create flavoured gins. From citrus-infused gins to those boasting exotic spices like cardamom and coriander, the possibilities are endless. These gins offer a creative twist on the classic spirit, appealing to those who enjoy exploring unique and innovative flavour combinations.

The Shake Down

The world of gin is a vast and diverse landscape, with each type offering a unique flavour profile and history. Whether you prefer the traditional juniper-forward notes of London Dry Gin or the experimental and innovative twists of flavoured gins, there’s a gin out there to suit every palate. So, the next time you raise a glass of this timeless spirit, take a moment to savour the nuances and stories encapsulated within each sip. Cheers to the wonderful world of gin!