London Dry Gin - What is it?

January 9, 2019

We're proud to have created three distinctive and flavoursome London Dry Gins. But what exactly is London Dry Gin?

 

Very simply, London Dry Gin does not describe a flavour. Or mean a gin is produced in London.

 

But let's first start with what gin actually is. For gin to be gin, it must be at least 37.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) with juniper being the predominant flavour. At this point, things get varied. Very varied.

 

 

Dry Gin

Dry gin has its origins in the 19th century, when distillation became a more exacting process. Around this time, gin was often created in relatively crude ways. The introduction of the Coffey still introduced a distillation process that delivered a higher quality gin. It enabled the resulting gin to not need sweetening, unlike many of the gins being created at the time (mostly due to poor quality original spirit).

London Dry Gin

London Dry Gin in its purest sense was coined simply because the vast majority of gin production in the UK was within the city of London. In the 19th century London Dry Gin often had a trademark general flavour (highly juniper led, a touch of rooty and citrus tones).

 

The geographical aspect has no importance now (London Dry Gin can be produced anywhere). And the flavour profile has evolved, to encompass a wider range of flavours.

 

But, London Dry Gin should still conform to some specific guidelines:

  • it is created using the distillation method

  • using a base spirit of agricultural origin, which has an ABV of at least 96%

  • when it's redistilled, the distillate must be at least 70% ABV (ours is significantly higher than that)

  • the distillate can be watered down to no lower than 37.5% ABV (Hussingtree Gin is 40% ABV)

  • it should be juniper led

  • a very small amount of sweetener can be added to the distillate (at Hussingtree Gin we don't add any)

  • no flavouring or colouring can be added to the distillate (again, we add nothing!)

At Hussingtree Gin we're proud that each of the our three gins are London Dry Gins. As mentioned above, we don't add anything to the distillate except for filtered water. 

One shot method

The one shot method describes a sub-category of London Dry Gins.

 

Some producers create a distillate that is highly concentrated in flavour, by using a significantly higher ratio of botanicals in their original mix. This means they cut the distillate back by using both water and base spirit. In other words, their original distillate creates a significantly larger volume of end gin. Through this process the producer can off-set a significant amount of inconsistencies in flavour that might result from the distillation process.

 

At Hussingtree Gin we don't do that.

 

By only using filtered water to dilute the distillate down to its final 40% ABV, our gin production method is actually the one shot method. We feel our gin is as authentically produced as it can be.

So what isn't London Dry Gin?

Well, quite simply, anything that doesn't conform to each of the above factors. Which is a lot of gin on the market.

  • Any gin that has a colour? Is compounded gin.

  • Any gin that has flavour added after distillation? Is compounded gin.

  • Any gin that has more than a tiny amount of sweetener added after distillation? Not London Dry Gin.

  • Any gin that is under 37.5% ABV? Any gin liquor? Not gin. Let alone London Dry Gin.

  • Any gin that doesn't have juniper as its predominant botanical? Not technically gin.

In saying so, this doesn't mean a non-London Dry Gin isn't necessarily good quality, or flavoursome, or worth your consideration. Not at all. We've enjoyed many varieties of gin and spirits. But it's worth knowing what is and isn't London Dry Gin. And therefore what is or isn't on the label. Or why one gin might be cheaper or more expensive than another.

 

 

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