These 4 different styles of gin are basically stages how gin evolved over the years from malty full bodied Genever, slightly sweetened Old Tom to Bone Dry, light and heavy on juniper London Dry Gin.
The word gin evolved from the word Genever which is Dutch word for Juniper. This juniper-flavoured spirit is a blend of 2 different spirits neutral spirit infused with botanicals and malt wine. Due to this, it retains some of the flavours of its base ingredients(Rye, Malted Barley, Maize), unlike other styles which are based on neutral spirit alone.
Dutch Genever is traditionally produced in Holland and Belgium and differs from other gins with its darker colour and highly aromatic, intense juniper and malty whisky like flavour.
There are 4 different styles of Genever. The difference between them is in botanicals and percentage of malt wine( the certain percentage is specified by law).
Jonge Genever (young) – Lighter bodied, Contains less malt-wine(no more the 15%), Good for mixing
Oude Genever (Old) – Fuller bodied(more botanicals), Aromatic, Contains at least 15% of malt-wine
Korenwijn(Corn wine) – Contains at least 51% of malt wine, Aged for at least 1 year(ageing not necessary)
Fruit Genever – Modern Fruit flavoured with a little malt-wine
Genever is best-enjoyed ice chilled sipped neat in a glass or Jonge style can be mixed with tonic or soda water and also highlighted in cocktails such as Tom Collins or Martinez.
Old Tom Gin
One of the remaining examples of old style of gin very popular in 18th and 19th century in England. Only recently came back on the market after years in suspension.
This style of gin is usually slightly sweetened with sugar or sweet botanicals such as liquorice.
Old Tom can be served with tonic or soda water or mixed in cocktails and is probably the most famous for Tom Collins.
London Dry Gin
Probably this style is what most people think of as gin. Typically very dry, heavy on juniper and light bodied.
It’s all about distillation, not the location. Despite its name gin can be made anywhere in the world.
Artificial flavourings are not permitted and nothing can be added after distillation apart from water.
Makes a great Gin and Tonic and can be used in a various number of cocktails.
This type of gin can be made anywhere in the world and is often called a new Western or American for the extensive boom of this style of gin in the US.
Distilled gin is made the same way as London Dry with one big difference flavourings can be added after distillation and they can be either natural or artificial.
Let’s take for example well-known Hendricks containing cucumber as one of the botanicals. As we know fresh cucumber is impossible to distill so they rather add it after distillation in a form of an essence.
Other 2 separate categories:
Plymouth: Protected by its location and can be produced only in Plymouth, England.
Navy Strength Gin: Higher alcoholic strength around 57% ABV.