Gin is one of the most well-known alcoholic spirits in the world. It has a long and interesting history that goes all the way back to medieval times when it was distilled as an herbal medicine.
As time went on, gin became more popular, and a lot of different styles emerged. In this blog post, we will go over four types of gin: Old Tom Gin, Genever Gin, London Dry Gin and Contemporary Style Gin. We’ll go over what makes them unique and why they are so popular!
Old Tom gin is a type of gin that has a sweeter taste and is often referred to as the “mother” or “grandfather” of gins. It was popular back in the late 18th century and early 19th century but went out of fashion for many years until recently when people started getting interested in different types if flavours. This style of gin typically contains more juniper berries than other styles because they are used to produce its signature flavour.
It’s said that this style of gin went out of fashion for a while but when it returned to popularity there were some variations on its original recipe – including using sweeter ingredients such as orange peel or cinnamon sticks which are added post-distillation process.
Genever Gin is a “very mature” recipe which became hugely popular during the 17th century when it was distilled in Holland. The gin is made from a blend of juniper berries and other botanicals, such as coriander seeds, angelica root, cardamom pods and some people say aniseed or caraway seed too. It’s typically served without any additional ingredients because the flavour can be almost overpowering; however, Genever Gin drinkers will often add their own mixers to bring out the taste they are looking for with this style of gin.
Examples of distilleries making a Genever-style gin are Bols and Fins Bois. In Canada, you’ll find the well-known Artisanal and Devine distilleries who produce their own take on Genever Gin.
London Dry Gin, interestingly enough, was called thus not for its flavour, but for a quality control designation. Neat, eh. And another thing; London Dry Gin didn’t really take off with Londoners until Holland’s William of Orange and his wife Mary found themselves sitting the English throne. One thing led to another and a gin craze was born and never stopped. London dry gin is made by distilling (in a Coffey still) a blend of alcohol and water with juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice root and various other botanicals. Chances are, we’ve all seen of bottle of Beefeater London Dry Gin in your parents’ bar cart.
As gin has evolved, we started to see more contemporary styles emerge. So what defines a contemporary gin?
For starters, contemporary gin is meant to be lighter and crisper, which makes it easier to mix with other ingredients. It has a more sophisticated taste that doesn’t rely on heavy flavourings of juniper berries or coriander seeds but instead uses fresh herbs like rosemary, basil and lavender as opposed to the traditional spices. Contemporary gins are also created by distilling alcohol mixed with water along with various botanicals.
Some examples of contemporary styles include Hendrick’s Gin, G’vine Scarlet Lady Pink Pepper Gin Liqueur, Aviation Gin – all three made from 100% natural flavours without any artificial flavouring added!
Whether you enjoy the tried and true Dutch roots of Genever, or the lighter, crisper profile of a contemporary gin, explore them all. See for yourself just how unique each of them are and how they can take your next G&T from “good” to “wow!”.