Depending on where you are in the world you could have a choice of 3, 4, 5 or even 6 different styles. The US and Canada recognise 3, the EU 4 or 5 and there is a pesky 6th one lurking that everyone has heard of but is a topic of hot debate! We aren’t talking brands here, or liqueurs or any of the gazillion weird and wonderful variations that have flooded the market in recent times.

Without further ado, here are the main styles of gin available today;

London Dry Gin

london dry

To many puritans this is the only real gin out there. It’s typically a very dry gin, light bodied, heavy on the juniper and very aromatic. To get the distinctive flowery flavour it’s infused with botanicals during the second or third stage of distillation. It’s a popular misconception that London dry gin can only be made in the capital as the vast majority aren’t. This is the gin of choice for a classic Martini, to mix with tonic and to add to many cocktails.

Plymouth Gin

A wayward cousin of LDG, this gin can only be produced in Plymouth, Devon. It isn’t as dry but is infused with a lot more roots, giving it an earthy flavour. The juniper notes are also a lot softer and can be used in the same ways as London dry. There is one known brand of this type of gin and it’s called, shock, Plymouth! Wonder how long it took them to come up with that one….

Old Tom Gin

old tom gin

A sweeter version of London dry, and so named due to being the gin of choice in a Tom Collins, this is a tricky blighter to track down these days, with the only known brand being Hayman’s.

Dutch or Jenever Gin

With a different colour and taste to most other gins, this style is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance with artisans mixologists adding it to creative new cocktails. Most gins come from a combination of different cereal gins, whereas the basis of this style is cereal grains. This gives it the darker colour and it tastes more like a botanical whisky than a gin but still has a hefty kick of juniper so it’s not all bad.

New American Gin

Also known as international gin, this is a generic term which covers all the new style gin which are distilled from the same base and are flavoured with anything but junipers. Think Cucumber & Rose, or Rhubarb and Ginger, you get the idea.

The Lurker AKA Sloe Gin

One of the most hot debated gin related questions involves this type; is it a gin or not? This is a historic blend that has no geographic or legal protection so it’s just kind of there. The fact it is flavoured with sloe berries and has sugar added are the main reasons why puritans keep black balling it when it tries to get into the gin club. In fact, it’s a known fact that some of your bargain basement sloe gins actually have a vodka base; yes really!