Different Gin Styles and How to Drink Them

Drinking gin used to be a simple affair, a couple of brands and only one style, London Dry. Since the 21st Century Gin craze hit we are now welcoming old and new gin styles to the shelves. It can be a little confusing, so we've drawn up this little guide for you, outlining the styles and and most importantly, how to drink them!


At one time this sweet (sometimes called cordial) gin was most popular in the 18th and 19th Century. This was largely due to the poor purification of the base spirit leading to rough tasting gin that needed sweetening to make it palatable. Liquorice was originally used and later sugar was the sweetener of choice.

Our pick: Jensen's Old Tom

How to Drink it: 

In a classic Tom Collins.


Although originally made in London, London Dry Gin can be made anywhere in the world. It first appeared around 1831 and superior distillation techniques meant the spirit was pure enough to be sold unsweetened (dry).

However, there are strict EU laws regulating which gins can legitimately be called London Dry. All botanicals must be present at the time of distillation, and the only thing that can be added post distillation is water. It must also be 37.5% ABV.

Our pick: Moore's Dry gin

How to Drink it:

Any gin cocktail! Most likely to be found in a G&T or a Martini.


Navy Strength Gin has to have an ABV of over 57% to appear in this category. Note the average ABV of gin is between 40-43% so Navy Strength gins are very strong and need to be consume in moderation!

Navy Strength gets its name from a nautical tale. The story goes that if you spill gin of 57% or over on gunpowder, there will still be an explosion, so this was the strength that Naval Officers demanded. If the gunpowder didn't light during testing, they knew their gin had been watered down. Heaven forbid!

This is a delightful tale, but more recently it has transpired that the name was thought up by the marketing team at Plymouth gin!

Our pick: Applewood Navy Strength gin

How to drink it?

Vermouth and gin spritz


The historical practice of ageing gin is coming back into fashion. Gin doesn't need long ageing like whisky or brandy, with three months considered adequate time. Well-seasoned casks are used to help the ageing process. Beefeater's Burrough's Reserve uses Lillet barrels, while Four Pillars uses French oak barrels.

You'll notice that the juniper notes have been rounded out in barrel-aged gins with honey and cinnamon notes more noticeable.

Our pick: An Dúlamán Santa Ana

How to drink it:

Try it in a classic Martinez (the precursor to the martini)


Technically speaking, sloe gin is a liqueur and is made by mascerating sloe berries in gin before adding sugar. It has a lower ABV and is a bit like a fortified wine or port.

Our pick: McHenry Distillery Sloe gin


How to Drink it:

Sloe gin and Tempranillo Negroni

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