Most gin produced in the UK begins as a white, neutral, spirit distilled from grain, usually wheat or rye. The grain harvest is distilled at a central location in highly efficient column stills that produce a high proof, light bodied compound with a minimum of flavoring agents. The neutral distillate then moves into the hands of distillers who create the nuances and characteristics of each individual brand.
The London Dry Gin process
Considered the most prominent high quality gin produced in the UK, the London Dry process, simply put, involves further distillation of the base spirit until the final vapor passes through a chamber where it is super saturated with selected spices, flavors and botanicals.
Here are some of the best examples of gin produced this way:
This brand of London dry gin is produced in the UK and a number of former British territories. It is reputed to be the best-selling gin in the world although it is sold in differing proofs in different countries. In the UK, it is packaged in a distinctive green bottle; in other countries it is sold in traditional clear glass. Some airport duty-free shops sell a higher proof Gordon’s in plastic containers.
Generally, Gordon’s is considered an all-purpose, budget-friendly gin best used in tall fruity drinks with assertive flavors.
Tenqureray - merged with Gordon’s in 1898. The enhanced flavor and complexity of their gin is the result additional distillations and refining.
Boodles - London Dry Gin is a classic combination of juniper and coriander with suggestions of citrus and flowers. Named for the famous club in London, it is reputed to have been the favorite of its most famous member, Winston Churchill.
Bafferts- This new distillation by Hayman Distillers, Ltd, of London was introduced in the year, 2000. The triple-distilled spirit is light and crisp with overtones of citrus, spice, and juniper and makes beautiful martinis.
Beefeater - This high quality product might be the most imported gin in the world but is also the only London dry gin that continues to be produced in London.
Bombay Sapphire gin - Originally distilled in India and made from a 1761 recipe, is a favorite with those who enjoy an assertive gin flavor.
Brockman’s Gin - Quadruple distilled premium gin flavored with Bulgarian coriander, blueberries, and blackberries. Delicious.
Compounding is a different method of production where flavorings are mixed into the neutral spirits. The result is a simpler libation that is not as popular or pervasive as London Dry gin.
Every distiller has its own favorite recipes and recommendations for enjoying the drink. Some are better suited for constructing martinis, others for gin and tonic, and some of the more complex, like Brockmans, are perfect sipping whiskey.