Gin Buyer's Guide

Complex, slightly bitter, and refreshing, Gin is made for Spring and Summer

Refreshing drinks include; the Negroni, the Tom Collins, the Gimlet and of course, few cocktails are as easy and refreshing as the Gin and Tonic.... at home in any number of refreshing drinks, gin is perhaps The Perfect Spring and Summer Spirit.

 

London Dry

London Dry Gin is what most people think of as “gin.” London dry gin doesn’t have to be made in London and most aren’t. They are typically very dry, heavily juniper flavored, light in body, and aromatic. It’s what you typically get in a Gin and Tonic or Martini. 

You’re definitely going to get juniper, because juniper is the most dominant flavor within the gin and hence the reason it’s called gin (juniper is genévrier in French). To get the flowery, botanical flavor, this style of gin is typically infused with various aromatic ingredients during the 2nd or 3rd distillation process, giving each brand its own unique taste. Some London Dry gins steep fresh citrus peels or dried peels before distillation and that gives them a bright, citrus flavor—and why a twist of lemon really does magic in a martini, bringing all of that out even more.

London dry gin doesn’t have to be made in London and most aren’t, common brands include Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, and Beefeater. This style is great for classic martinis, gin and tonics, and Aviation cocktails. Sipsmith London Dry, Haymans London Dry

 

Plymouth Gin

Plymouth Gin is a less dry cousin to London Dry Gin that must be made in Plymouth, England. Infused with more roots, this style of gin has an earthier flavor with softer juniper notes than other styles. Currently, there is only one brand of Plymouth gin produced in the world and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s called Plymouth. "Plymouth was very special because it named in the Savoy Cocktail Book, and it was in 23 gin recipes in the book. It was one of the most significant cocktail books in the world and still is to this day. So to have the actual name physically in it, is very very important. With that, it allowed Plymouth to become very popular in the first part of the 20th century when a lot of gins were coming onto the market." It can be used anywhere a London Dry Gin is used. Plymouth

 

Old Tom Gin 

Old Tom Gin is a sweeter cousin to London Dry Gin and is appropriately named as it was the preferred gin in a Tom Collins. It’s often thought of as somewhere in between a London Dry Gin and Genever. "Old Tom is very good gin, the botanicals are usually distilled, the sweetness in it normally comes from a larger amount of licorice that’s in the distillation; they don’t add flavor after. It doesn’t taste like licorice, in case you’re wondering, but that different balance of ingredients affects the texture and "perception of taste”. It’s richer in flavor than London Dry, which is why Old Tom works better in mixed drinks and pre-Prohibition cocktails, anything that has bitter flavors.” Old Tom Gin is most famously used in the Tom Collins and Martinez cocktails but is also delicious in a Ramos Gin Fizz and in a Martinez (gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters). -Luke O’Neil Hayman’s Old Tom, Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat

 

Navy Strength

Navy Strength gin is an overproof version of London Dry originally used by the British Royal Navy because it wouldn’t inhibit gunpowder from lighting when damp with gin. Navy Strength gin must be bottled at 114 proof or higher. Distillers must balance the usual flavors at the higher proof, but the taste is essentially the same. Hayman’s Royal Dock of Deptford, Joseph Magnus Vigilant, Edinburgh Navy Strength Cannonball Gin

 

Genever

Genever or Dutch Gin is the original style of gin, dating back to 16th-century Holland. The base grains are malted, similar to whiskey, giving it a more robust flavor. It’s also flavored with juniper and botanicals, but less so than the other gin types. Less botanical than the English styles, and more sippable, Genever has been revived by craft mixologists who are using it creatively in cocktails (John Collinses, Gin Fixes), but it is just as good for sipping straight or chilled 

"Instead of using a neutral grain spirit, Genever distillers actually create a malt wine spirit, which is the predominant flavor of the gin. The grains are left to ferment for five days or so, and then turned into a mash, which is similar to how whiskey is made. Then theyll add different botanicals, including juniper, but the difference here between the dry gins and Genever is that juniper is not the predominant flavor. The actual gin is a lot more malty. Flavors added can be cloves, caraway, ginger, nutmeg. So youve got vaguely different style of taste, and you certainly have way more earth notes within it. If Old Tom is considered "rich" in flavor, Genever is even richer, meaning its best in rich cocktails, with something like sweet vermouth, or stirred with a tiny bit of bitters and a touch of sugar like a gin Old Fashioned. The idea is the malt wine has such a predominant flavor, if youre mixing it with something richer in flavor, its going to work really well,"  -Luke O’Neil Bols Genever 

 

Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin  is a gin-based liqueur flavored with sloe berries (relatives of plums) common in England. Sloe Gin is  traditionally made by soaking sloes in gin and sugar (to help extract the flavor), sloe gin must be at least 25-percent ABV by EU regulations, making it an easy dessert sipper and useful cocktail ingredient in drinks like Sloe Gin Fizzes and Bees Knees.

Deep, jammy and tart fruit, like cherries combined with plums on overload. If it’s made with a London Dry base, sloe gin may also have flavors of juniper, citrus, etc. Hayman’s Sloe Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin

 

New American or International Style

New American Gin or International Style Gin is an umbrella term used to refer to all of the new styles of gin that use the same base distilling process but are predominantly infused with flavors other than juniper berries. The most common one you might be familiar with is Hendrick’s, flavored with cucumber and rose. These gins tend to put less emphasis on juniper and more emphasis on other aromatics like floral botanicals, citrus, or, as is the case with Hendrick’s, cucumber.There are no legal classifications for the crop of modern craft gin distillers, but the stylistic similarities are enough to group them together. Roku Gin, Bluecoat, Hendrick’s Gin

 

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