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What Does Gin Taste Like? (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Gin is a non-barrelled spirit that has been perceived differently over the centuries. People either love its taste (including us) or despise everything about it. Despite that, gin still belongs to the most sold spirits worldwide.

What does gin taste like, you wonder? After testing each variant, let’s head to what our team found out.

Gin: What Does It Taste Like?

Gin

It is tricky to describe how gin tastes like one go. There is a list of different gins with their unique tastes. But one sure thing here is that gin can remind anyone of a Christmas tree.

Juniper may be the star ingredient of all the gins, but many herbs like licorice, lemon, and coriander can influence the flavors. Below, we detailed which gin is the sweetest and the sourest or a little spicy.

Gin Varieties & Their Tastes

Gin Varieties & Their Tastes

Barrel-Aged Gin

Unlike most gin, the barrel-aged gin probably has the most varying flavor. The gin-making process also includes juniper berries, one of this spirit’s most renowned botanical ingredients. But what sets this apart is the aging process that can take weeks inside the barrel.

As a result, this gin tastes like whiskey. The flavor also depends on the oak used and will vary from spicy to vanilla and caramel sweet. 

Read: Gin & Whiskey Compared

London Dry Gin

London Dry, as the name suggests, originated from England. Juniper berries are the key ingredient in London Dry, among other botanicals. The juniper-forward gin is often associated with Christmas trees and only uses water or neutral grain spirit after its distillation process. 

Citrus peels before distillation cause sour and sharp flavors and an oily texture to London Dry. A small amount of sugar can help sweeten its tasting note.   

Genever

Genever is the oldest variation of gin and is specific only to some countries. It also uses juniper berry, and unlike the London Dry Gin, other flavors are more noticeable here. The ingredients include angelica root and orris root, responsible for the bitter flavor.

Malt wine for distillation instead of neutral grain spirits results in a buttery and malty flavor-rich savory taste.

Contemporary Gin (New Western Gin)

Contemporary Gin (New Western Gin)

The London Dry Gin was the standard style of many gins for a long time. But contemporary gins shy away from the juniper-forward London Dry and make a different flavor profile for the spirit. Although juniper berries are still the primary ingredient, herbal ingredients and different botanicals also shine through.

After tasting bottle after bottle, the juniper flavor is not the dominant taste anymore. In most cases, the taste of contemporary gin can be herbal or floral.

Old Tom Gin

Old Tom Gin started during the early 18th century when a gin craze took place in England. The gins made during that time were called “bathtub gin” and had other aromatics for sweetening. The modern version of Old Tom Gin is still typically sweeter than most types of gin. 

While the name of Old Tom Gin has an unknown origin, most experts agree that its taste falls between the malty Genever and the tart London Dry Gins. 

Sloe Gin

The primary ingredient of Sloe Gin is the sour and bitter sloe berries native in Europe and other parts of Asia. Other botanical ingredients are added with juniper berries to create this gin-based liqueur. The final product has a plummy and extremely sweet taste compared to any other type of gin.

Plymouth Gin

It is exclusively produced in Plymouth, England, and has a navy strength (or 57%) alcohol content demanded by British soldiers. Plymouth Gin is much like the juniper-forward London Dry Gin but with a sweeter and drier flavor of dried herbs and other botanicals [1]. The hint of the earthy flavor came from roots such as Orris root and Angelica root.

Read: Recommended Low-Calorie Gins

Gin Substitutes With Almost Similar Taste

Scandinavian Akvavit 

Unfortunately, alcoholic drinks are not for everyone. For someone with a Juniper berries allergy, drinking gin is not advisable. And they may be asking, what does gin taste like?

It is good that Akvavit happens to be a great alternative to gin. Akvavit uses caraway or dill, which tastes like sour and earthy rye bread.

Vodka

As a neutral spirit, vodka is similar to gin as both spirits undergo a distillation process. It uses fermented bases such as potato, wheat, or grapes that leave no distinct flavor. The spirit is also colorless and water-based. But, what’s the real difference between gin and vodka?

Unlike vodka, gin has a stronger herbal taste making it less preferable in many popular gin cocktails.

Ingredients That Might Make Gin Taste Better

Ingredients That Might Make Gin Taste Better

Soda & Tonic Water

Soda water is best known for its refreshing effect, making it a good mixer in the middle of a stuffy bar. It does not significantly affect the taste, unlike the combined gin and tonic.

Gin and tonic water can combat the bitter taste of quinine to ease malaria patients’ medication before. In the modern market, tonic water makes a famous gin cocktail.

Vermouth

Vermouth

Vermouth is popular among cocktails as it enhances the flavors of its base spirit [2]. One of its two categories, sweet vermouth, can provide an aromatic canvas for cocktails. It is most commonly made of red wine and has a bitter, sweet, and spicy taste.

Popular gin cocktails like Martini use the dry vermouth, which results in a bitter and cool flavor.

Lemon & Pineapple Juice

Like other citrus fruits, lemon and pineapple have sweet and sour flavors. Both fruits enhance the already sour flavor of gin. The fruity flavors are ideal for easy homemade cocktails, giving a refreshing summery feel. 

Tom Collins is a famous gin cocktail that contains a lemon peel and should be served chilled.

Also Read: Our Recommended Mocktails

Why Do They Say That No Two Gins Are The Same?

No two gins are the same because various flavors and botanicals can contribute to the character of a certain gin. Juniper is present in all types of gin, but the process and herbs used are up to the maker. Different brands of gin offer a unique twist on their products.

Sloe gin is sweeter than other types, while barrel-aged has the widest variety of tastes. Personal preference also plays an important part here as it will define the type of gin you’re getting.

Also Read: What Does Hpnotiq Taste Like?

FAQs

Does gin taste good straight?

Yes, gin tastes good to consume straight. We suggest carefully choosing neatly made gins. It will help avoid disappointments if poorly-made potent alcohol hits your throat.

What is compound gin?

Compound gin is putting all the different botanicals and dried herbs into neutral grain spirits for a specific amount of time. Most people considered it a plain gin because it did not go through redistillation.

Does gin taste like perfume?

Yes, gin may taste like perfume because of juniper. Juniper is sometimes used in perfumes and has a bitter and fresh touch. Also, will gin expire?

So, What Does Gin Really Taste Like?

Gin generally tastes like pine needles because of juniper berries. The production and herbs used contribute greatly to the final product’s taste. 

From the malty Genever, the floral New Western, to the sour London Dry, there is a variety that anyone can choose from. Old Tom, Sloe, and Plymouth are sweeter than other types. 

For people who don’t drink alcohol but want to know the taste of gin, we hope you find this article helpful. 

References:

  1. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/different-types-of-gin/amp
  2. https://www.winemag.com/2020/10/30/best-vermouth-cocktails-bartender/

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