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Gin Knowledge 101: Your Basic Guide to the World of Gin


Gin is a word we’ve all heard at least once. A popular choice across the world, gin is a clear, distilled spirit with dominant botanical flavors of juniper, flowers and fresh dried fruits. It was first derived from the word genever, old English language, which in turn, was derived from the Latin word of juniperus, meaning juniper. With that out of the way, do you recognize the following types of gin?

London Dry

Old Tom


Navy Strength

New World

Let us start with London Dry

Despite being called the London Dry Gin, it does not actually come from the English capital of London, only a handful of London Dry’s actually come from London. Gin is a neutral spirit that has to be distilled from a natural product, like wheat, potatoes or barley. Herbs, seeds, flowers and spices are added during production to create its flavor. All gins must predominantly contain juniper, otherwise it can’t be called gin according to EU law. On top of this, there is a minimum alcohol content requirement of 37.5%.

The usual taste profile for a London Dry would be of course dry, very light bodied and also sometimes pungent. It is best used for Gin & Tonic, Aviation or what you normally see James Bond drinking, a good old fashioned Dry Martini.


Next up we have Old Tom

Old Toms existed even before the London Dry ever came into existence, being sweeter and more full bodied as compared to the London Dry. This specific type of Gin, was and still is essential to many of the classic cocktails. Inspired by the Old Tom Gin, we’ve got Martinez, Tom Collins as well as a bartender’s favorite cocktail to make The Ramos Gin Fizz.

The generous amounts of botanicals used creates a bold citrus, juniper pine character to the gin that is smooth and delicate. With hints of underlying sweetness, Old Tom Gin is very popular in modern mixology. 


Plymouth Gin is one of only three gins in the world that carries a geographical indication (GI) designated with the European Union (EU), certifying its traditional origin, which in this case would be Plymouth, Devon. It is often described as having more “earthy” undertones, and is less dry compared to the London Dry.

The sole distillery in Plymouth still making the Plymouth gin is the Black Friars Distillery which has been in operation since 1793. The distillery’s location in Plymouth, England, home to a Naval dockyard, helped popularize its products with the Royal Navy. As the company website claims, for nearly two centuries, every Royal Navy boat left with a supply of Plymouth Navy Strength gin.

The Plymouth Gin has since been used to make cocktails such as the Negroni as well as various different styles of Martini, be it dry, regular, or dirty.


Next would be Navy Strength, linking this back to the Plymouth Gin, which distilled both regular Plymouth Gin as well as Navy Strength Plymouth Gin. Gin was first used by the navy as it was seen as a cure for illnesses and diseases while the men were at sea. The first technique used to test the potency of the gin was to light a mixture of gunpowder together with the gin, failure to light or a smoky flame were telltale signs that the spirit was below the required strength.

At 57% this particular Gin packs quite a punch, being extremely juniper forward, this particular type of Gin has also seen a rise of popularity as of late, and is most often  used in various classic cocktails such as Negroni, Gimlet, Martini’s as well.


Lastly, we’ve got the New World, this is the most interesting of all the different variations of gins that we previously talked about. New world gins are packed with less juniper as compared to other variations however it would have more botanicals, more citrus as well, this would make new world gin very floral. 

New world gins can be used in many different kinds of classic cocktails, my favorite way to enjoy this would be a very simple gin & tonic. Our very own Sakurao Gin, the Sakurao distillery in Hiroshima produces two different kinds of gin, first being the original and the other being the limited. Check them out on our website today!



That’s all from us today, have you tried all the different kinds of gin? If you haven’t we recommend you to do so!

Do drop us a follow @oaknbarrel on Instagram and Facebook. Join us as we explore the different variations of alcohol in the coming posts. Stay tuned!