DIFFERENT TYPES OF GIN
Gin is a colorless alcoholic beverage made from distilled natural grain alcohol, spiced with juniper berries (or other flavors) and bottled at least 37.5% ABV. Given that the beginnings of gin date back to the 13th century, it is not surprising that quite a few different types of this very popular drink have developed to this day. So which types of gin do we know?
WHICH TYPES OF GIN DO WE KNOW?
LONDON DRY GIN
The most common gin type on the market. Historically the term London Dry Gin has been a quality control designation and not a flavor designation. Normally when you hear classic or traditional gin, London dry is what people have in mind. In the production process the spirit of agricultural origin is used as a base. All flavor and aroma components are introduced trough re-distillation of spirit and the distillate (coming from still) must be at least 70% ABV. Only fresh water is added after distilling to bring the product down to desired ABV content. Predominant flavor must be of juniper berries.
NEW WESTERN STYLE GIN (American style gin)
New western or American style category of gin does not have such strict limits as London dry category. Bottling strength has to be at least 37,5 % ABV, but juniper profile can be pushed to background, opening countless possibilities for various other botanicals or botanical combinations to prevail. Botanicals can also be added after distilling, resulting in color, flavor and aroma transfer. This is called infusion. Gins using infusion method are normally named infused gin like our The Cherriot Infused gin.
Genever is where it all started, a spirit made of distilling malt wine to 50% ABV in 17th century. Back then, technology used in distilling was not as developed as today, resulting in non-palatable distillates. Juniper and other botanicals were added to mask the unpleasant flavors of malt wine and for its medicinal purposes. Genever today is a traditional spirit from Netherlands or Belgium.
OLD TOM GIN
Old Tom gin is a very wide gin category, including many production methods. In general, Old Tom gin is also called the missing link between London dry (juniper heavy) and Genever (malt heavy). It can be aged or straight from the still, can include sugar infusion or not and can be made of neutral spirit as well as any other base alcohol. Old Tom gin was particularly popular in 18th-century England. In modern times, it became rare but has experienced a resurgence in the "Craft Cocktail" movement.
MODERN DRY GIN
This term describes gins that began to evolve in the 21st century and are still evolving today with the craft spirits movement. Characteristic of this “new” style of gin is that juniper is not in the forefront of classic spices and herbs, but there is a greater emphasis on non-typical herbs, which are carefully selected and harmoniously combined, but still have a typical taste of juniper berries (not necessarily predominant).
COLD COMPOUNDED GIN
Compound gin is made by flavoring neutral spirit with essences, or other natural botanical ingredients left to infuse in neutral spirit. There is no distilling process after infusion, so flavor profile and aromas tend to fade quicker, compared to redistilled gins. This method is normally cheaper to mass produce.
NAVY STRENGTH GIN
In Royal Navy regulations from 18th century, each vessel on the sea had to carry certain amount of gin to help fight crew illnesses and diseases. In order to test the gin for quality, it was mixed with gunpowder and Ignited. Clear flame indicated that the spirit was of sufficient standard (at least 114 proof or 57% ABV). If the flame was not stable and clear, sailors could tell on the spot, that gin does not contain enough alcohol. Navy strength gin today is popular in mixing cocktails for its intense but smooth taste.
Sloe gin is technically a gin-based liqueur, but it is the only one that can be legally called gin without the liqueur suffix. It is a mixture of gin and sloes (fruit, relative to plum). It has a distinctive red color and has to be at least 25% ABV to meet the European regulations.
Bathtub gin refers to any homemade gin in amateur conditions. In prohibition era in United States, people were infusing various botanicals in neutral spirit, because it was cheaper. Often in bathtubs, hence the name- Bathtub gin. After infusion, we are normally left with a brown, unfiltered liquid with aroma of juniper.
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ABOUT KARAKTER DISTILLERY
Karakter distillery, the only "official" distillery in Bohinj,
was founded in 2016 by three indigenous people from Bohinj,
friends since childhood.
Today, in addition to the distillation of gin and other craft spirits,
we organize live music events at our bar next to Lake Bohinj
and help develop the culinary scene in Slovenia.