Most of you at home will have some kind of bottle of spirit in your house. Could be a bottle of port for cooking, brandy for puddings or maybe vermouth which you just don’t know what to do with. You’ll also probably have a bottle of gin stored somewhere, and it will more than likely be Gordon’s I say this because Gordon’s is one of the most widely available gin brands, and not overly expensive. It goes well in a Gin and Tonic or lemonade and has been a staple in bars and restaurants since 1769. 243 years of being ‘the number one selling London Dry gin’. But what makes it so?
Alexander Gordon (a Londoner of Scottish descent) took full advantage of the Gin Act in 1751 and sourced himself the finest possible ingredients. His aim was to produce an unsweetened gin instead of the usual impure and sweet gins that many were use to. In 1769, Alexander Gordon founded his distillery in the Southwark area of London and went on to lay the foundations for the creation of the style of gin for which the English became renowned. Tradition still goes strong today, with Gordon’s still triple distilled and the exact blend of the seven botanicals remaining a closely guarded secret.
To be classed as a gin, Gordon’s contains juniper berries. These are carefully selected from the pick of each year’s crop and gently shaken from the tree and stored for two years. This intensifies the oils and mellow the flavours, with the strength of the juniper giving Gordon’s the classic gin taste that Alexander Gordon was after. As well as juniper berries, the recipe includes coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel.
In 1800, Gordon’s fame spread as sailors of the British Navy and Merchant Navy carry it in their ships to all corners of the world. In fact, in 1853, entries in ledgers record payments by Joseph Franks of Melbourne for consignments of gin brought by the ships ‘Nancy’ and ‘Rostock’ – payment being made in gold dust. 1898 saw the merger of Charles Tanqueray & Co. with Gordon & Co. to form the Tanqueray Gordon & Co. with all production moving to Gordon’s Goswell Road site. Six years later, the iconic square-faced green bottle for the home market is introduced, with the Gordon’s Sloe Gin just two years after. Before World War Two, Gordon’s opened its first distillery in the USA, at Linden, New Jersey, and became its only distillery after The Luftwaffe bombed Goswell Road on the night of 11 May 1941. The Gordon’s offices, warehouses and distillery were all destroyed. It took 16 years until Goswell Road was rebuilt, and one of the original stills, ‘Old Tom’, survived. To help with the demand, Plainfield Distillery in Illinois, USA became the thirteenth plant throughout the world producing Gordon’s gin in 1966. 1984 saw an even bigger expansion as Gordon’s gin production is moved to the Laindon site, Basildon, Essex. The first gin distillation using the traditional copper stills, including ‘Old Tom’, which is now over 200 years old, is successfully achieved in 1989.
So a rather storied history with rapid expansion, so lets see how it actually is. Below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Gordon’s – 37.5%
Instant citrus aromas on the nose creating a very fresh experience. Quite dry on the palate however, with lots of citrus lemon flavours hitting first. The freshness carries on but comes up rather a short offering.
As you would imagine, Gordon’s is rather versatile with its mixing, and it’s not just a Gin and Tonic it can do –
25ml Gordon’s Sloe gin
25ml Gordon’s gin
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
Berries to garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add ingredients then give it a good shake. Strain into a cool rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with fresh blackberries and raspberries (frozen berries work well too).
Gordon’s Pink Lady
40ml Gordon’s gin
25ml triple sec
20ml lemon juice
A raspberry to garnish
Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain into a Martini glass. Garnish your Pink Lady with a raspberry.
This is a great mixing gin, perfect to pick up if you have friends coming round, as part of a gin punch or a round of cocktails.
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