England is home to tea houses, rugby, fish & chips, and of course, the British Royal Family. The list goes on, but to us the true Queen of England is the juniper-forward spirit, gin.
What is gin?
Known as England’s national spirit, gin was actually first born in Holland by Dutch distillers. Popularized for its medicinal usage, it was adopted by the Royal Navy who mixed it with lime to stop scurvy and angostura to settle the stomach while at sea. In the 17th century, British troops brought gin to Europe after they saw Dutch soldiers drinking gin to “boost morale” before heading into battle.
Now known not for its medicinal properties but rather for its aromatic profile, gin is essentially pure ethanol (yeehaw sailor!). Made by distilling fermented grain and botanicals (such as anise, licorice root, citrus, or coriander) this clear spirit must contain juniper berries to be legally considered gin.
Enjoying gin Meant to be mixed, gin is a bar cart staple. Thanks to its varying flavors and styles it is the base for several classic cocktails, including Gin & Tonic, Gimlet, French 75, and the Negroni. Whether you’re shopping for a gin to add to your bar cart lineup, or you want to order cocktails like a pro, it is important to know the basic production styles of this particular spirit:
London Dry gin – London Dry gin is processed by redistilling the neutral spirit in a pot with botanicals. No artificial ingredients are permitted and no color or flavor can be added after distillation. Don’t let the name fool you, London Dry may be produced anywhere in the world. Our go-to England-based, London Dry gin is Bombay Sapphire.
Plymouth gin - Historically special, Plymouth gin has been distilled on the same premises of Plymouth, Devon since 1793. A subtype of London Dry, Plymouth gin is slightly less dry, but more earthy and citrusy.
Navy Strength – Nothing says strength quite like 114 proof liquor. Navy Strength gin is now thankfully 57 proof, but back in the 17th century the British Royal Navy demanded an incredibly high proof to prove their gin supplies weren’t being diluted by dishonest distillers or merchants.
Now you know the main production styles of gin, it's time to have a little fun. Have you heard of color changing gin? Empress Gin is no ordinary gin. Micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress gin is infused with butterfly pea blossoms creating an iconic violet hue. When exposed to acid, Empress gin changes into a beautiful lavender pink color. Want to test it for yourself? Here’s an easy recipe that makes the perfect tropical, summer gin cocktail.