There are many styles of gin produced all over the world, but London Dry Gin stands out as the most common style. It is the gold standard for the gin industry worldwide.
The reason for this reverence of London Dry Gin can be attributed to its origin, the process of distillation and production, taste, as well as the consumption rate all around the world.
Origin of London Dry Gin
The 17th century was the era in which gin became popular. This was in the Anglo-Dutch war where Dutch soldiers took Genever (the earliest form of gin from Holland) before fighting. The British soldiers saw this, and took it back with them, leading to the emergence of the gin industry in the United Kingdom. The 1700s was an era of gin craze, the gin industry was moving, and everyone who had the means was producing gin.
There was no regulation on the production of gin at this time, and distillers were using crude methods producing low-quality gin containing harmful substances. Some producers even distilled gin in their bathtubs. The gin usually tasted unpleasant, and they masked the taste with artificial chemicals and dangerous colouring.
This came to an end with the invention of the Coffey Still in 1832, which allowed producers to distil better and cleaner gin. The style of gin created in London then was dry, and it became popular around the world, phasing out Genever as the modern gin.
Production of London Dry Gin
London Dry Gin, according to an EU law passed in 2008, must possess some qualities.
It must be produced with a neutral base spirit distilled to at least 96% ABV.
London Dry Gin must contain only natural ingredients. No artificial botanicals or spices should be added.
The botanicals must be added in the process of distillation.
Only water and a little amount of sweetener can be added after distillation. This ensures that the gin stays dry.
Even though it originated in London, this method of producing gin is widely used by small and big gin brands, all around the world. Also, as London Dry Gin is used very widely, not all gins fitting the definition, carry the category name.
For example, Ösel Dry Gin uses the ancient name of the island of Saaremaa instead of plain London. By definition, Ösel Dry Gin is a London Dry Gin which uses herbs mostly from the island of Saaremaa.