In a previous post I went through what goes in gin, but each style is made in a different way.

The most basic style is compound gin, which is made by adding natural or artificial oils and flavours from juniper and botanicals to neutral spirit. This style is generally frowned about by serious gin drinkers, however Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Bathtub Gin is changing all that by creating a very high quality and delicious compound gin.

The more recognised style is distilled gin. This can be made by vapor or maceration. The vapor technique involves passing the vapor of the neutral spirit through dried juniper and botanicals. The maceration technique consists of soaking the botanicals in neutral spirit until the desired flavour is achieved then distilling the spirit to bind the flavours.

Any distilled gin can be called ‘distilled gin’ according to EU naming standards and additives such as sugar and flavourings can be added.  Distilled gin with no additives can be called London gin; it does not have to be produced in London.

The other historical style is Plymouth gin. Only gin made in Plymouth can be called Plymouth gin. Plymouth is less dry than London gin and a little softer and to my palate more a slight flavour of the sea, but that might be my overactive imagination. Plymouth also make Navy Strength gin which comes in at a whopping 57% ABV which apparently is the proof that will not ruin gunpowder if it is accidentally spilt on it.

As I mentioned when I taste-tested Aviation, there is a new style emerging, New Western Dry gin. While not officially recognised in the same way as London and Plymouth, this style is used to describe gins that allow juniper to share the starring role with other flavours and botanicals. While London and Plymouth are different, juniper is clearly the dominant flavour. Western Dry is more democratic allowing other traditional and non-traditional flavours to shine.

After plowing your way through all those rather dull facts, you have probably earned yourself a gin. Make it London, Plymouth, New Western or just distilled, doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy it!

8 Comments on Making Gin | Gin styles

  1. Trishola
    October 15, 2012 at 12:23 am (5 years ago)

    Can you give a bit more information about which botanicals apart from juniper are used? As I am a herbalist I am interested to know.

    • theginstress
      October 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm (5 years ago)

      It depends from gin to gin. Juniper has to feature for it to be called gin, but from there anything can be added. Bombay Sapphire features 12 botanicals (they are etched on the side of the bottle, pretty!). Some of the most common botanicals are cardamom, corriander root, lemon zest, but there are styles like The Lark Distillery’s pepperberry gin with native pepperberries and Hoxton gin which features grapefruit and coconut (not sure about that one!).

      • Trishola
        October 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm (5 years ago)

        As it happens I have a bottle of Bombay Sapphire! Had never noticed the lovely etchings with little pictures of the plants. Gorgeous. Thanks so much for that information. I tend to agree about the coconut.

  2. The Gin Is In (@TheGinisIn)
    October 27, 2012 at 4:07 am (5 years ago)

    Excited to see more gin bloggers on the scene!

    I’m not so sure I like the terminology “New American” or “New Western” though to reflect the new kind of non-junipercentric botanical characteristics of gin. I see a lot of that experimentation happening in Europe (Spain especially) and on the same side of that, there’s a lot of very recently released well-made gins which are essentially of the London Dry style (Big gin comes to mind, but there are others).

    I like to refer to them as “contemporary” and “classic,” as the types aren’t truly regional.

    There is one other EU protected type of gin, called “Steinhager” which can only be made with juniper + neutral spirit + water, and is relegated to a small valley in Germany. Only two companies actually make gin which can be called Steinhager (Schlichte being the one available worldwide).

    Look forward to hearing more!

    • theginstress
      October 28, 2012 at 9:16 am (5 years ago)

      Hi Aaron, thanks so much for your comment. As you can see I’m very new to this, a lot to learn! Excited to have a look into Steinhager. And to have an explore on your blog!

  3. DTS
    January 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm (4 years ago)

    Interesting to read your article.

    I’ve always wondered whether “plymouth gin” (small p) is really a style – Plymouth gin (made at the Blackfriars Distillery) is different to other gins but then Beefeater is different to Tanqueray.

    The only stylistic difference I can see that is due to it’s location is that a gin made in Plymouth would probably use of Dartmoor water (very soft) for production. Otherwise it’s just a legal anomaly.

    Xoriguer Mahon Gin (Menorca) and Vilnius Gin (Lithuania) have similar protections to “plymouth gin.”

    I applaud Ryan’s work in New Western gin but I am inclined to agree with Aaron above – we have discussed it at length previously though!

  4. Alisa
    November 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi! We just wanted you to know that we’ve selected your blog as Foodista’s Food Blog of the Day for Sunday November 10, 2013. Your blog will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours.

    We wont post any of your recipes on the feature, just a thumbnail-sized photo associated with the link and a snippet of what the post is about. It will be a clickable link so the readers will go directly to you to read more and check out your recipes. Besides posting your blog on the homepage, we will also be posting shout outs on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

    We also have a badge for you that we give out to our featured blogs. Just send me an email so I can send you the link.

    I really enjoyed going through your posts and recipes and can’t wait to share it with the rest of the community. Hope you have a great weekend! Cheers!


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