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There are five major styles of Gin in today's marketplace:
London Dry: Most gin produced today is made in the London Dry style. Despite the name, London Dry styles may be produced anywhere, with juniper and citrus dominating the flavor profile, but there is a wide range of styles within this category.
Notable Cocktails: Martini, Gibson, Gimlet, Negroni, Aviation, French 75
Genever: Gin was originally developed in the 16th Century as an herbal medicine by the Dutch Dr. Sylvius de Bouve. Dutch Genever is still made today, and differs from London Dry in several ways. First, it is produced in a pot still, which produces a spirit with lower alcohol, and it may be aged in oak, where it will take on additional color and roundness. The traditional or oude style of Genever is produced with at least 15% “malt wine” (a distillate of corn, rye, and wheat), bearing a resemblance to whiskey. The more modern or jonge style is cleaner and more neutral with less malt wine in use.
Notable Cocktails: Martinez (the precursor to the Dry Martini)
Plymouth Gin: A once-forgotten style that was revived in 1996 by a single distillery (Black Friars in Plymouth, England), Plymouth Gin is lower in alcohol than London Dry but fuller in body and very aromatic. It has an earthy richness that makes it the the proper gin for a Pink Gin cocktail (which consists solely of gin stirred with 3-4 dashes of Angostura Bitters).
Notable Cocktails: Pink Gin
Old Tom Gin: English in origin, Old Tom is a lightly sweetened style of gin that comprises the “Tom” in Tom Collins
Notable Cocktails: It’s the “Tom” in Tom Collins
Craft Gin: Essentially, any style of gin that does not fit into any of the four categories outlined above. Several distilleries across the US are experimenting with unique infusions of local produce.