Gin comes in a wide variety of styles. Some are heavy on juniper, some are sweetened and others might be aged in oak barrels— in short, there’s a gin style for everyone’s tastes—
Contemporary Gins are gins which have a predominant flavor of anything other than juniper. Juniper is always present, but the gin overall may have a character which emphasizes other botanicals. Contemporary Gin refers to the taste, and is agnostic of region, production method or actual botanical bill.
[Over 350 contemporary style gins reviewed!]
Old Tom is one of the most confusing terms in the world of gin. There is little consensus as to what constitutes an Old Tom Gin.
Old Tom Gins often used a variety of techniques to cover the flavor of their not-quite-so-neutral base spirit. In the 19th century, before the column still completely neutral spirits were rare.
Flavored Gins fall into a couple distinct categories.
The first are gins which add a “signature botanical” after distillation, often through maceration or other means. These gins often have a color or hue from the added ingredients. The second kind of flavored gin is a contemporary style which refers to its predominant note as its flavor. We often categorize the latter type as a contemporary gin; however, depending on process it may be listed as both.
The term “Navy Strength Gin” is a 1990s marketing creation to sell spirits which meet 100° UK Proof (114 modern proof), and are 57.1% ABV. The romantic and evocative term has stuck and today, high proof gins are often bottled at 57.1 ABV.
Navy Strength Gins are fantastic for cocktails as they maintain their gin character even in small quantities.
The bathtub style refers to a gin where all of the botanicals are added via maceration without distillation. There are many gins which add signature botanicals or aromatics after distillation. These would not be described as bathtub gin.
Do-it-yourself at home gin kits are designed to create a gin of this type.
Pink Gin was primarily designed for mixing and at bringing over drinkers from the flavored vodka market. Predictably, there was an immense backlash.
Other categories of juniper spirit we review
The category of genever is worthy of a book unto itself. Genever is rarely considered as gin, but it’s worth being thought of as the grandfather of gin. It is the spirit drink from which gin descended.
Genever can be broadly divided into three categories based on how much malt wine and how much sweetening has been added.
Most importantly, Borovička is also one of a handful of spirits that have protected status under Regulation No. 110/2008 of the European Parliament.
Read our introduction to Borovicka for more on the style and what the regulations define it as.
Gin-like drinks below 37.5% ABV
These gins are characterized by additional sweetening and a syrup-like texture. Furthermore, many of this “Gin Liqueurs” do not meet the minimum ABV to be legally called “Gin” in some parts of the world, even though all of the ones reviewed here do feature juniper and a gin-like spirit prominently as part of its base.