Exploring the Varieties: What Are the 4 Types of Gin?

by Kaia

Gin, a beloved spirit renowned for its versatility and complex flavors, has gained immense popularity across the globe. Its distinct taste profile stems from a blend of botanicals, chiefly juniper berries. As gin continues to evolve, connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike have witnessed the emergence of various types, each offering a unique experience. Delving into the world of gin reveals four prominent types, each characterized by its production methods, ingredients, and historical roots.


1. London Dry Gin: A Quintessential Classic

When pondering the question “What are the 4 types of gin?” London Dry Gin promptly claims its place as one of the most recognized and widely consumed variations. Contrary to popular belief, London Dry Gin need not be produced in London; rather, it denotes a specific distillation process. This gin type is known for its stringent production regulations, mandating a predominance of juniper berries and a minimal addition of sweeteners or artificial flavors after distillation.


The meticulous distillation of London Dry Gin involves a two-step process: firstly, the botanicals, including juniper, coriander, citrus peels, and angelica root, are macerated or vapor-infused into a neutral spirit. Next, this flavored spirit undergoes distillation, resulting in a crisp, dry, and juniper-forward profile. Brands such as Beefeater, Tanqueray, and Bombay Sapphire epitomize this classic gin style, appreciated for its versatility in cocktails like the iconic Gin and Tonic.


2. Plymouth Gin: A Distinctive Heritage

Among the varieties that answer the query “What are the 4 types of gin?” stands Plymouth Gin, a historically significant spirit with its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. Distilled exclusively in Plymouth, England, this gin boasts a rich heritage dating back to the 18th century. While similar to London Dry Gin in terms of botanicals, Plymouth Gin possesses a smoother and slightly sweeter taste profile.


The defining characteristic of Plymouth Gin lies in its water source. Distilled using soft Dartmoor water, it contributes to the gin’s distinctive flavor. The botanical blend, including juniper, coriander, citrus peels, and cardamom, is carefully balanced to deliver a harmonious and slightly earthy taste. Its versatility in cocktails like the classic Martini has garnered a loyal following among gin aficionados seeking a nuanced drinking experience.

3. Old Tom Gin: A Sweetened Resurgence

In exploring the realm encompassing “What are the 4 types of gin?” one encounters Old Tom Gin, a revival of a historic gin style that once reigned in the 18th century. Recognizable by its slightly sweeter taste profile compared to London Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin bridges the gap between the juniper-forward London Dry and the malty Genever.

Old Tom Gin is characterized by its light sweetness derived from the addition of sugar or other sweetening agents post-distillation. This type of gin has witnessed a resurgence in recent years, appealing to mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts eager to explore traditional recipes like the classic Tom Collins. Brands such as Hayman’s and Ransom Old Tom showcase the revival of this gin type, offering a glimpse into gin’s diverse history.

4. New Western or Contemporary Gin: A Modern Innovation

The exploration into “What are the 4 types of gin?” culminates with New Western or Contemporary Gin, a modern iteration diverging from the juniper-forward tradition. In this innovative approach, distillers prioritize highlighting diverse botanicals, allowing them to take center stage alongside, rather than being dominated by, juniper.

Contemporary gins embrace an array of botanicals, from floral elements like rose and lavender to exotic additions such as lemongrass and cucumber. The result is a gin with a broader spectrum of flavors, often floral, fruity, or herbal, catering to evolving palates and encouraging experimentation in cocktails beyond the classic G&T. Brands like Hendrick’s and Monkey 47 exemplify this trend, captivating enthusiasts seeking unique and adventurous gin experiences.

In Conclusion

The question “What are the 4 types of gin?” unravels the diverse landscape of this beloved spirit. From the classic juniper-forward London Dry Gin to the historical significance of Plymouth Gin, the sweeter notes of Old Tom Gin, and the innovative realm of Contemporary Gin, each type offers a distinct journey through history, craftsmanship, and evolving taste preferences. As gin continues to evolve, embracing tradition while inspiring innovation, its versatility remains a testament to its enduring popularity among cocktail enthusiasts worldwide.



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