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If you’ve been in any supermarket lately, you’ll have likely seen the many different types of gin that grace the shelves. And we aren’t talking about the broad array of brands and bottle shapes. Much like other spirits, gins can be categorised by their ingredients, production methods and even place of origin.

The differences in character and flavour lend themselves to certain drinks, occasions and preferences so it’s handy to understand what sets different types of gin apart from one another. 

So that you don’t feel overwhelmed next time you’re selecting the perfect gin for your weekend G&T, we’ve got a rundown of the different types of gin you can expect to be choosing from.


Before we get into the nitty gritty of what separates a London Dry Gin from an Old Tom, it’s useful to delve into gin basics. At its simplest, gin is a distilled alcohol. When it comes to how gin is made, it starts with a grain, such as barley, water, and juniper berries, and is flavoured with other botanical ingredients such as herbs, spices, fruits, and roots. The word “gin” is derived from the Dutch word “jenever” or “genever,” which itself comes from the Latin word “juniperus”, which means juniper.

Gin was originally used as a medicinal liquor made by monks in the 13th century but became a popular drink of choice by the 17th century. Beefeater Gin dates back to the 1800s, when our founder, James Burrough, bought a distillery and used his skills as a pharmacist to create a distinctive style of gin. Since then, new brands and producers have emerged, giving rise to many different types of gin but our secret recipe remains virtually unchanged.



There are so many types of gin available nowadays, each with its own unique personality. However, most gins can be categorised as one of the following types:



London Dry Gin is a style of gin that originated in London. It’s known for its dry flavour profile, with juniper being the dominant botanical. Other common botanicals in London Dry Gin include coriander, angelica root, citrus peels, and sometimes orris root. Beefeater London Dry Gin offers a remarkably clean flavour, bustling with juniper and balanced with strong citrus notes.

Contrary to its name, London Dry Gin doesn’t necessarily have to be made in London, but it does have to adhere to strict production regulations, including being distilled to a high level of purity and not having any artificial flavours or sweeteners added after distillation. Beefeater Gin, however, was first developed in London and remains the only historic dry gin still distilled in the city.


Plymouth Gin is a specific type of gin that is made exclusively in the English city of Plymouth and it’s the only gin with a PGI status. It has its own distinct style and history, having originated in the late 18th century.

Compared to London Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin is typically slightly less dry with a smoother, earthier flavour profile. It often has a slightly sweeter taste. It’s commonly described as having a fuller body with a pronounced fruity flavour.


Old Tom Gin is a historical style of gin that has experienced a revival in recent years. It’s known for its slightly sweeter taste compared to London Dry Gin, as producers used to include sugar or honey in the recipe. It’s still not as sweet as some modern gins and is now typically sweetened with liquorice. Old Tom Gin doesn’t have to be aged but is sometimes matured in oak barrels after distillation.

It originated in 18th-century England and was popular during the gin craze. It got its moniker from the cat-shaped, wooden plaques which used to be placed outside British gin houses to show where gin could be purchased at the time.

As it typically has a rich flavour, Old Tom Gin works well in cocktails like the Tom Collins or the Martinez to help balance the bitter notes of the other ingredients.



Navy Strength Gin is a high-proof gin, typically around 57-58% alcohol by volume (ABV). It was historically produced for the British Royal Navy and gave the crew something to wash down the unpleasant taste of the quinine they had to take to prevent scurvy.

The higher alcohol content means it’s more potent than standard gins, but its purity makes it a great base for cocktails where you can still enjoy the full character of the gin, even when it’s mixed with other ingredients.


Genever, also known as Dutch gin or jenever, is a traditional juniper-flavoured spirit that originated in the Netherlands and Belgium. It predates the more commonly known London Dry Gin and has a distinct malt wine flavour and heavier mouthfeel due to its production process, which involves distilling a malted grain mash.

Even under this type of gin, Genever gins can vary from being relatively light and dry to rich and malty, depending on the specific style.

Pink Gin

Pink gin is a bit of a curveball spirit. It’s not a distinct type of gin in its own right but rather a variation that typically incorporates flavours or colours that make it pink. It can be made by infusing gin with various fruits, herbs, or spices. 

Common ingredients used to make pink gin include strawberries, raspberries, pink grapefruit, rose petals, or other botanicals. Beefeater Pink Strawberry Gin, for instance, has a vibrant pink hue and uses the same recipe as our London Dry Gin but infuses it with natural strawberry for a soft, fruity flavour that still carries classic notes of juniper and citrus.

Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin is a flavoured gin. It’s made by steeping sloe berries (which are small, tart fruit related to plums) in gin and sweetening it with sugar. It typically has a lower alcohol content than most gins, at about 25-30% rather than 40% and above.

It has a purple-reddish colour and a rich, fruity, and slightly tangy flavour. It’s often enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in cocktails like the Sloe Gin Fizz or Sloe Gin Collins.

Flavoured gin

Flavoured gin refers to any gin that has been infused or flavoured with additional botanicals, fruits, herbs, spices, or other ingredients beyond the traditional juniper base. There is a wide variety of flavoured gins available, including citrus, floral and berry-based offerings. Beefeater has a wonderful collection of flavoured gins which include Blood Orange, Rhubarb and Cranberry, Peach and Raspberry, and Zesty Lemon.

These flavoured gins offer a generous range of taste experiences and can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. They’re great to sip whether you are a gin novice or a connoisseur of the spirit.

Now you’re in the gin know, you can experiment with different types of gin to find your favourite. Maybe you can even craft your own signature serve. If you are after some inspiration to get you started, take a look at our collection of gin cocktails.