There are six styles of gin: Compound Gin, Genever, London Dry Gin, Distilled Gin, Old Tom Gin and Navy Strength.
1. Compound Gin – Also known as non-distilled gin. This is where the flavourings of juniper and other such botanicals are simply mixed with neutral grain spirit. These are sometimes known as “bathtub gins”, taken from an era where gin was made in bathtubs due to a ban on alcohol.
2. Genever – The original spirit, which has led to the creation of the drink we now know as gin. from The Netherlands, this is a spirit that will have more of the flavour of the cereal on which it is based. It is sold both as young, unaged (jonge) or aged in oak (oude). The aged version sees oak from four months up to three years. This can be a robust, full bodied, malty gin and is a favourite of mixologists.
3. London Dry Gin – Despite its name, this type of gin does not need to be produced in London to be considered a London Dry Gin. This style is redistilled in traditional stills and it is usually light bodied, aromatic, heavy on juniper and very dry. There are no artificial flavourings or botanicals, and nothing can be added after the re-distillation process. Ha’Penny Dublin Dry Gin and Míl Gin fall into this category.
4. Distilled Gin – Produced in a very similar way to London Dry, but the main difference is that flavourings can be added after re-distillation and the flavours can be artificial or natural. Other additives such as sweeteners and colourings can be added also. Our Ha’Penny Rhubarb Gin falls into this category.
5. Old Tom Gin – A sweetened (and sometimes slightly aged) style of gin that gained popularity in the mid-1800s in the U.K. and the American West. It virtually disappeared in the early 20 Century but is starting to make a comeback.
6. Navy Strength – In the 18 Century, gin was mandatory for all ships in the British Royal Navy. The gin was kept in the same holds as the gunpowder, and the sailors became wary of any overdiluted gin, as it would make the gunpowder misfire if it spilled on it. To counteract this, a high proof (over 57% ABV) gin was required. This high proof gin became known as Navy Strength Gin.
(It is worth noting that there are Mediterranean gins and the likes of Plymouth Gin that have been awarded the geographical index. They must be made in their named locations and have their own distinct flavour)