Alcohol types

9 types of gin explained + good brands of gin to drink

Nothing makes you feel sophisticated faster than a gin and… something. But did you know how many types of gin there are on the market? Sit down and grab a tonic, as we’re going to be reviewing a range of excellent gins.

A popular and healthy spirit

Gin is a neutral grain spirit with a rich history. It was discovered in the Middle Ages and was first used as herbal medicine.

Related Reading: Best Gins Reviewed

Although there are many different types of gin, they all have a common base flavor through the use of juniper berries; a super fruit with many health-promoting properties.

In High Spirits – Ten different types of gin

Make a Tom Collins with different gins

Most types of gin have an ABV of 40% and are low in calories, making it one of the healthiest spirits. It is also a very versatile liqueur, which explains its popularity in cocktails.

The following different types of gin give you a range of flavors and styles to suit all needs.

1. London Dry Gin

London Dry Gin
via Co-Op

The London Dry Gins are the flagship; the botanical draft horse who has remained the boss! It is the common base of a classic gin cocktail.

One of the main characteristics of London Dry is its strong taste of juniper. Juniper berries create the predominant flavor, though you’ll also notice citrus (lemon zest) or rooty notes, depending on your brand of choice.

In addition, London Dry gin is characterized by its lighter finish, which makes it excellent for making rich cocktails.

Notable Brands—London Dry Gin Brands

2. Plymouth Gin

by Plymouth Gin

By law, Plymouth Gin can only be made in Plymouth, England. There is only one distillery currently producing it.

Plymouth gin has strong citrus notes and a spicy finish. It is sweeter than its compatriot London Dry gin. The liqueur is made from a blend of seven botanicals, including angelica root, juniper, and dried herbs such as coriander, cardamom, and orris root.

Strong earthy notes on the juniper berry flavor. Whether you want to make cocktails or just enjoy these neutral grain spirits with sparkling water, Plymouth gins will give you a more palatable and enjoyable cocktail.

Notable Plymouth gin brands

  • Mr King’s 1842 Recipe
  • Plymouth fruit bowl

3. Sloe Gin

Sloe berries and sloe gin

It is also the only liquor legally allowed to be called gin.

The flavor profile of sloe gin depends on the ingredients used. Premium brands have a solid plum flavor with an earthy feel. Unlike most gins, sloe gin has a much smoother finish.

Additionally, you can expect the best quality brands to be “very” sweet with a fruity flavor brimming with hints of almond. Low-end brands are often too sweet. Unlike regular gins, sloe gin tends to have a 25% lower ABV.

Notable Sloe Gin brands

  • Plymouth sloe
  • Hayman’s sloe

4. New Western Dry Gin (New American)

New Western Dry
via Difford’s Guide

New Western Dry Gin makers set out to create exciting and unusual new flavors rather than making copies of existing or classic neutral alcohol styles.

One thing that sets New Western Dry Gin apart is how they have moved away from the classic juniper berry base. Give yourself more also for experimentation. Most brands use botanical ingredients that Americans find tasty and familiar. Common flavors include citrus fruits like grapefruit, orange, and lemon.

Notable New Brands of Western Dry Gin

  • Bourbon Barrel Four Peel Gin
  • St. George Dry Rye Gin

5. Barrel-aged gin (barrel-aged gins)

Cask aged gin
via Scotsman Food and Drink

Barrel-aged gins undergo a period of maturation just like whiskey and wine. Distillers steep the liquor in aged wooden casks allowing it to sip all the health-promoting properties of its botanical ingredients.

Barrel-aged gins are made using other botanical flavors like juniper, fruit, and spice. However, its predominant aromatic profile is that of the barrels used (oak or ash).

You will also notice hints of hazelnut, spice or vanilla. Because this type of gin is aged in barrels, it has a golden-orange color instead of a clear hue.

Outstanding barrel-aged gins

  • Chemist Barrel Rested Gin
  • Cask Aged Sunshine Cuckoo Gin

6. Japanese gins

Japanese gin
via DrinksGeek

Japanese spirits are made from rare and unusual natural plants, including Japanese tea, bamboo, sansho peppers, sakura, and yuzu, to name a few.

Generally, Japanese gins have a crisp, floral, and lemony flavor profile. But, don’t be fooled; the floral and citrus notes are entirely different due to the use of unusual elements like bitter melon, guava leaf, shekwasha citrus and roselle.

Notable Japanese gin brands

  • Ki NOH BI
  • Dennochine 1812

7. Old Tom Gin

Old Tom
by Bevvy

Old Tom Gin, originally known as “bathtub gin”, was named for its early homebrew origins. Initially not known for its quality but rather its overly sweet style thanks to high levels of licorice and artificial flavorings used to mask its harsh taste.

Since then, the brand has become much more reliable and popular. Moving away from tubs, it is now a professionally distilled brand of gin. It is a strong gin, more robust than the London Dry. This is the best gin for making pre-prohibition cocktails.

Notable Old Tom brands

  • Ransom Old Tom Gin
  • Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

8. Juniper

by Bevvy

Jenever is the ancestor of modern gin with specific regional denominations. The liqueur can only be produced in Belgium and Holland or in certain regions of Germany and France.

Jenever is made from malt wine (distilled corn, malted barley and rye). It has strong whiskey-like malt notes that make it ideal for drinking neat, neat or over ice.

See also: Types of whiskey to know

Juniper is aromatic and sweet. It has fresh pine flavors with hints of spice and yeast. Just like popular gin brands, this spirit can contain a host of other botanicals which include, but are not limited to, caraway, anise, and coriander.

Notable Genener brands

  • Juniper Gin Bowls
  • Old Duff Real Dutch Jenever

9. Marine strength gin

Navy Style Gin
via The Independent

Any spirit with at least 57.1% alcohol can be called “naval force”. The term comes from when gin was a legal requirement aboard British Royal Navy ships for its medicinal properties. To prevent the gin from being watered down and therefore less effective, they devised a test using gunpowder. The result was a much stronger gin than what was available elsewhere.

Notable Navy Strength gin brands

  • Mackintosh Mariner Force Gin
  • Hayman Royal Wharf

Looking for something else to drink? Check out our primer on 8 essential types of alcohol

Final Thoughts

Do you drink gin? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. What are your favorite types of gin? Do you prefer London dry gin, or maybe a sweet vermouth cocktail? Let us know your favorite gin cocktail recipes. Whether you prefer gin made with a wedge of lime or have discovered a clever way to replace juniper-flavored vodka, we’d love to hear it!