Gin Madness-Day 4-A Look at Beefeater Gin
Beefeater London Dry, a pure classic gin that has nearly defined the category known as London Dry since its release in 1820.
How’d this come about? Let’s take a quick look through the history of Beefeater and see how it became what it is today.
1863-John Burroughs purchases John Taylor’s distillery in 1863. John Burroughs changes the name of the distillery to “James Burroughs, Distiller and Importer of Foreign Liquors”. During this time period most of what the distillery produced was cordials, and liqueurs, a good portion of these utilized brandy as a base.
Mid-1870s-Phylloxera caused by aphids, had made their way through most of France’s grape vineyards. This left most distillers without a base for a good portion of their products. After seeing the growing popularity of gin throughout most of Victorian England, James Burroughs seized the opportunity to create a new gin that he felt embodied the elegant and always classic style of England.
Starting with Juniper as the primary component, he combined this with coriander for spice, angelica root for dryness, almonds, lemon peel, along with Seville oranges to add a touch of bitterness, and the floral notes of orris root to balance everything out with a final ingredient of licorice for a nice smooth finish, thus a new gin was born.Named for the Guards at the Tower of London, James proclaimed this new gin Beefeater.
Flash forward to 1963, and Beefeater surpasses Plymouth as the world’s largest export gin. Three out of every four bottles of Gin sold during this time were Beefeater London Dry Gin.
This brings us to present day, and current Master Distiller, Desmond Payne continues to use the same recipe and process to give birth to Beefeater.
To this day the recipe and technique behind Beefeater remains unchanged. Starting with grain neutral spirit, and then cut with water, the botanicals are then stepped for a period of 24 hours before distillation. Once this is complete, the actual distillation process takes seven hours, with the removal of the heads and tails so only the heart is left remaining. The heart is then cut with de-mineralized water to reduce its strength before being bottled at 47% abv.
The result of this process is a gin that is soft, yet defined at the same time. While the juniper in Beefeater proudly bangs its chest and says look at me, you also have other flavors sharing the spotlight. Whether its hints of light spice, charismatic touches of orange, or the occasional touch of fresh hay, the flavors all manage to balance each other out. It’s no wonder why Beefeater’s been around for so long. It just works. It’s simple as that.
Here a few recipes both some classic and some new ones that play off the flavor profile of Beefeater London Dry Gin.
Modern Day Beefeater Recipes:
The Hand of Fate
2 oz Beefeater London Dry
Â½ oz Fernet Branca
Bar spoon Laphroaig 10 Year
Â½ oz Chai Demerara Syrup
Â½ oz Lemon Juice
2 Dash Whiskey Barrel Bitters
Spray Coupe with Absinthe
Â¾ oz Absolut Berri
1 Â¼ oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
Â½ oz Maraska
Â½ oz Green Chartreuse
1-2 Dash Rhubarb Bitters
Serve up with Lemon Zest
Top with club soda
Classic Beefeater Recipes
1 part Beefeater London Dry Gin
1 part Sloe gin
1 part Grand Marnier
1 part Apricot brandy
1 part Pomegranate juice
1 part Lime juice
1 Part Beefeater London Dry Gin
2 Parts Dubonnet
1 Dash Angostura bitters
1 Teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
Stir all ingredients with as much ice as you can fit into your mixing glass and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
2 Parts Beefeater London Dry Gin
2 Parts Italian vermouth
2 Dashes Fernet Branca
Shake All ingredients over ice
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Squeeze A freshly cut orange peel on top