London Gin

London Gin, the quintessential British drink, has at last been recognized as a special quality beverage by the European Union.

The new EU definition for London Gin was passed into EU law on 20 February 2008 as part of the revised EU Spirit Drink Regulations. These list the definition of London Distilled Gin for the first time. London Gin is the premium gin product and the definition will help maintain its high standards of production and protect the drink from counterfeit products.

For over 300 years, individual producers have guarded the secrets of their recipes. Most London Gins have a unique recipe, and producers do not publish the balance of each botanical used to give their gin a special flavour. Maintaining a consistent quality is an art that was perfected hundreds of years ago and one that only a few practitioners are able to practise today.

EU Gin Definitions

All gins are made with ethyl alcohol alcohol flavoured with juniper berries (juniperus communis) and other flavourings. The ethyl alcohol used must be distilled to the minimum standards stated in the EU Spirit Drink Regulations. In all types of gin, the predominant flavour of must be juniper, and they must have a minimum retail strength of 37.5% abv. There are three definitions of gin: gin, distilled gin and London Gin.

Gin

This made from:
a. suitable ethyl alcohol and flavourings.
b. The ethyl alcohol does not have to be re-distilled.
c. The flavouring can be either approved natural or artificial flavourings.
d. The flavourings can be simply mixed together with the ethyl alcohol to form the gin (compounded).
e. There is no restriction on the addition of other approved additives such as sweetening.
f. Water is added to reduce the gin's strength to the desired retail level, but not below 37.5% abv.
g. There is no restriction on the colouring of gin with an approved colouring.

Distilled gin

Distilled gin is made in a traditional still by:
a. redistilling neutral alcohol in the presence of natural flavourings.
b. There is no minimum strength laid down for the resultant distillate.
c. After distillation, further ethyl alcohol of the same composition may be added.
d. Additional flavourings may be added after distillation and these can be either natural or artificial flavourings.
e. The distillate can be further changed by the addition of other approved additives since there is no prohibition on their use in the definition.
f. Water may be added to reduce the strength to the desired retail level.
g. There is no restriction on the colouring of distilled gin with approved colourings.

London Gin

London Gin is made in a traditional still by re-distilling ethyl alcohol in the presence of all natural flavourings used.
a. The ethyl alcohol used to distil London Gin must be of a higher quality than the standard laid down for ethyl alcohol. The methanol level in the ethyl alcohol must not exceed a maximum of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100% vol. alcohol.
b. The flavourings used must all be approved natural flavourings and they must impart the flavour during the distillation process.
c. The use of artificial flavourings is not permitted.
d. The resultant distillate must have a minimum strength of 70% abv.
e. No flavourings can be added after distillation.
f. Further ethyl alcohol may be added after distillation provided it is of the same standard.
g. A small amount of sweetening may be added after distillation provided the sugars do not exceed 0.1 grams/litre of finished product (the sugar is not discernible and is added to some products purely for brand protection purposes).
h. The only other substance that may be added is water.
i. London Gin cannot be coloured.