Gin Styles

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—

Classic Style Gins

Juniperus Communis

Classic style gins are juniper forward and tend to evoke comparison’s to Gordon’sBeefeater, and Tanqueray. Classic Gin refers only to the general juniper-forward taste impression and not any specific process or ingredient list. 
[Over 200+ Classic style gins reviewed!]

Contemporary Style Gins

A contemporary gin can feature any of the ingredients in this picture as its main flavor note.

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!]

Aged or barrel-rested gins

Aged Gin Old Fashioned

Aged Gins as a category of their own are a relatively new invention. They were largely a product of the 00’s-10’s gin renaissance and a glut of used barrels on the second hand market. Today’s aged gins use wine barrels, bourbon barrels, rye barrels— anything.
[Over 50 barrel-rested gins reviewed!]

Old Tom Style Gins

Old Tom Gin Ad

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

Lavender is a common ingredient in flavored gin

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.

Navy Strength Gins

herno-navy-strength-bottom

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.

Bathtub or Compounded Gins

Experiments with bathtub gin

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

Gordon's Pink Gin

Not to be confused with the cocktail of the same name, Pink Gins were a creation that took off in 2017-2019. These gins are bright pink in hue, with often bright fruity or floral flavors.

Pink Gin was primarily designed for mixing and at bringing over drinkers from the flavored vodka market. Predictably, there was an immense backlash.

Holland-style Gins

Holland Style Gins invoke Dutch traditional styles but are not necessarily distilled in the Netherlands

Holland— or Holland style gins— is growing way to refer to some modern Ginever or Genever-like gins which while not true genevers, they adopt some of the stylistic conventions

Holland style gins have a malty, grainy flavor. In many holland-style gins, the base spirit is part of the botanical blend. 

Other categories of juniper spirit we review

Genever

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. 

Borovička

Klasik Slovenská Borovička

Borovicka is a traditional Slovak distilled spirit made from juniper. It has a flavor very similar to gin and some Borovička could be legally classified as gin based on gin’s broad definitions.

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

Liqueurs and Cordials

Pomp and Whimsy Gin Liqueur

Gin Liqueurs and Cordials are a broad and rapidly expanding category of the gin market.

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.

Cordial reviews (including Sloe and Damson Gins)

Gin Liqueur Reviews

Full List of Gin Categories

Contemporary 327

Classic 182

Aged 58

Flavored 48

Old Tom 19

Holland 15

Navy Strength Gin 13

Bathtub 13

Cordial 12

Antique 8

Borovicka 8

Juniper Brandy 8

Genever 4

Pink 4

Liqueur 3

Steinhager 2

Aged Gin 1

Ready to drink 1

Compound 1

Contmporary 1

Vintage 1

Pink Gin 1

Spirit Drink 1

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