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   Dutch gin is 70 proof to 80 proof, though always 80 proof in the United States. Dutch gin, or genever—sometimes called Schiedam—is made from rye, corn, and malted barley in pot stills that produce lower proof. The juniper and other botanicals are added during fermentation and then distilled, and a barley malt flavor is usually apparent in the finish. Genièvre is aged in oak casks and probably tastes much more like the original gin than the highly rectified English gin. Holland gin is great for sipping cold with smoked fishes, but not for your Martini.


   London Dry is a highly rectified spirit (80 proof to 94 proof) flavored during the second or third distillation, when the vapors pass through a specialized still with an attachment called the gin head, into which the botanicals are added to give the gin aromatic and flowery characteristics.


   Old Tom is London Dry but sweetened with simple syrup, a style very popular in the nineteenth century. Old Tom was originally used to make the Tom Collins and other sweet cocktails, but in the twentieth century the sweetness quotient seemed to drop a few notches as styles changed. Old Tom was available in this country until the 1950s, and it is still available in England.


   American gin producers, primarily Seagram’s, have come out with a line of lower-proof flavored gins and bottled gin drinks. These products haven’t set the market on fire, and none of the imported producers has followed suit. Below are some old favorites and new arrivals that would be great additions to your bar. My advice is to lean toward the premium and super-premium levels if you enjoy your gin in the Martini cocktail, and value or call if you enjoy Tom Collins and Gin Sours.

Value Brands

* Gordon’s, United States, 80 proof

* Seagram’s, United States, 80 proof 

* Olifant, Holland, 80 proof

* Bols Genever, Holland, 80 proof


Premium Brands

* Beefeater, London Distilled, 94 proof

* Bombay, England, 80 proof

* Bombay Sapphire, England, 94 proof

* Boodles, England, 90.4 proof

* Tanqueray, England, 94.6 proof

* Hendrick’s, Scotland, 88 proof


Super-Premium Brands

* Junipero, United States, 97 proof

* Tanqueray No. Ten, England, 94.6 proof

* Bafferts, England, 80 proof

DeGroff, Dale. The Craft of the Cocktail (Kindle Locations 447-469). Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. 

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