To begin with gin, we highly recommend reading the Wikipedia entry for gin.
For our purposes, we’ve categorized our gin reviews based on these definitions:
American Dry Gin – A gin where the juniper doesn’t dominate, but is balanced with other spices, herbs and botanicals. Some consider American Dry Gin to be synonymous with New Western Gin, but we define the two differently with American Dry Gin being actually dry while New Western may have a sweetness (typically from infused fruit).
Genever Gin – Also known as Dutch Gin, Holland Gin, Jenever or Genievres. This is the original gin as it was first (mass) produced in the Netherlands and Belgium in the 17th century. Originally, what became gin was first distilled malt wine with juniper berries and other herbs used to mask the flavor. Now less malt wine is used in Genever Gins, but it’s still the defining characteristic.
London Dry Gin – This is your classic standard gin with juniper dominating the taste followed by the botanics.
Navy Strength Gin – This is gin (typically London Dry or Plymouth) that is 100 English proof (57% ABV), the strength required in the 1800s by the British Royal Navy. The reason being that at 100 English proof, gun powder could still be ignited if gin spilled on it. Use Navy Strength gins for times when you want a cocktail that may otherwise seem watered down if regular strength gin was used, or when you’d like to sip your gin (especially on a cold winter night).
New Western (Flavored) Gin – A gin where the juniper doesn’t dominate, but is balanced with other spices, herbs and botanicals. Some consider New Western Gin to be synonymous with American Dry Gin, but we define the two differently with American Dry Gin being actually dry while New Western may have a sweetness (typically from infused fruit).
Old Tom Gin – Sweeter than London Dry, but drier than Genever. Old Tom was popular in 18th century England, and almost disappeared until making a very recent comeback.
Plymouth Gin – By EU law, Gin labeled as Plymouth Gin must be produced in Plymouth England, making it the only geo-defined gin category. Today there is only one Plymouth Gin left in production, and it’s called… Plymouth Gin.
Sloe Gin – A British liquor made with gin and sloe drupes, which are a small fruit relative of the plum. Sloe gin is red in color and tart in flavor.
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