What makes a London Dry Gin?
What is Gin?
For a spirit to be called a “Gin”, Juniper must be the predominant flavour, but a huge array of botanicals are used to give the many different brands of gin their distinct flavours.
Gin as we know it today stems from “Jenever”, a Dutch spirit made with Juniper berries and usually aged in casks. Originally it was used as a medicinal tonic, but developed over time into a recreational drink, and exploded as an industry when it was brought to Britain by the Dutch in the 17th century.
There are various types of gin and it’s the London dry we are focusing on…
“London Dry Gin” often confuses people. First and foremost to make things clear – London dry gin is a process, not a location.
The process means that all the ingredients must be added pre-distillation. After distillation, you can add only water and additional spirit. You can make London dry gin anywhere in the world, but it would have to follow the process – all botanicals being distilled together. It must contain only natural ingredients, and only a very small amount of sugar.
The process doesn’t add any more prestige, just a method of distilling. Other gins may be flavoured after the distillation, and are often called “Compound gins” to distinguish them from others. Hendricks, for example, can’t be a London dry gin, as it puts cucumber essence in after distilling. It’s still a nice gin though!
When it comes to terms like “floral gin” and “aromatic gin”, these titles refer to the types of botanicals and distilling methods. For example, Bombay Sapphire is good example of a floral gin, and Dodd’s gin is an aromatic gin.
I could go on but we’ll save it for another time…but hope you now understand what makes a London Dry Gin and you can go impress your friends with your realm of gin knowledge!