Journey with us as we explore the rich and flavourful heritage of English Gin, a spirit deeply woven into the fabric of British culture and history. Celebrated around the world for its sophistication and diversity, English Gin stands as a pillar in the realm of spirits, its journey mirroring the growth, evolution and resilience of a nation.
English Gin is not just a category of Gin; it's a testament to the British spirit and craftsmanship. But how did it become a category in its own right? Let's dive into its fascinating history.
The tale of English Gin begins in the Middle Ages, with the medicinal juniper berry concoctions made by monks and alchemists. However, it wasn't until the Dutch spirit Genever was introduced to British soldiers in the 17th century during the Thirty Years' War that things truly began to change. The soldiers brought back the 'Dutch Courage,' and thus, the seed of gin in England was planted.
As we fast forward to the early 18th century, during the period known as the "Gin Craze", the spirit took a central role in English society. Lower taxes and licensing relaxations led to a surge in domestic gin production. During this time, the gin was not the refined spirit we know today. It was often harsh, sweetened to make it more palatable, leading to the creation of the Old Tom Gin style.
The 19th century saw the advent of the column still, a significant technological breakthrough that transformed the gin industry. This new still produced a cleaner, smoother distillate, setting the stage for the emergence of a new style – the London Dry Gin, despite it not having to be made in London. It was a purer, juniper-forward gin, unsweetened, and quickly became a favourite, asserting English gin as a category of its own.
A renaissance in the late 20th and early 21st centuries marked the arrival of the New Western style and a resurgence of the traditional styles. This era saw a renewed focus on craftsmanship, quality, and variety in English Gin, expanding the boundaries of its flavour profiles. Distillers began experimenting with a broad range of botanicals, leading to an explosion of artisanal and craft gins, marking the beginning of the "Ginnaissance."
Quintessentially British, Beefeater is a classic London Dry Gin, renowned for its refreshing and balanced character. Crafted with a blend of nine botanicals, it carries a vibrant juniper profile, underscored by subtle citrus and spice notes. A staple in any gin lover's collection, Beefeater is a gin that truly encapsulates the spirit of London.
Bombay Gin: Bombay's portfolio of gins offers a kaleidoscope of flavours, with each variant championing its unique blend of botanicals. The heart of these gins lies in their pure grain spirit and careful distillation process, resulting in a smooth and refined taste. From the lightly floral Sapphire to the more robustly spiced Bombay Dry, these gins carry a hint of the exotic within the English tradition.
Tanqueray is a stalwart of the gin world, loved for its crisp, dry profile and four-botanical recipe. With its unmistakable green bottle and red wax seal, Tanqueray epitomises the London Dry style with its bold juniper dominance, rounded off with notes of coriander, angelica root, and liquorice. It's an icon in the gin world and a timeless classic in any cocktail.
Hayman's Gin is the product of over 150 years of family tradition. Their range includes a delightful homage to every era of gin, from the Victorian-style Old Tom to the quintessential London Dry. Each variant is a celebration of English gin history, distilled in a two-day process that allows the botanicals' full flavours to shine through.
Chase is a field-to-bottle distillery, with every bottle made from scratch using potatoes grown on their farm. Their gins carry a distinctive earthy smoothness, beautifully fused with carefully selected botanicals. From the elegant GB Extra Dry to the wildly inventive marmalade variant, Chase represents the adventurous side of English gins.
Hailing from England's South Coast, Plymouth Gin carries a unique geographical indication. It's a softer, sweeter style compared to its London counterparts, with a more balanced juniper flavour. Distilled using a blend of seven botanicals, Plymouth is an exceptionally smooth gin, offering a rich, full-bodied taste, loved by many gin aficionados.
Hepple Gin reflects the wild, windswept landscapes of Northumberland that it calls home. This gin utilises an innovative three-stage extraction process to bring a freshness and depth to its botanical flavours. Juniper-led, complemented by the green notes of Douglas fir and the sweet spice of Amalfi lemons, Hepple Gin is a testament to modern English gin-making innovation.
The story of English Gin is one of evolution, innovation and resilience. It's a spirit that has grown with the nation, shaped by its history, echoing its triumphs and its trials. From a rudimentary juniper-infused medicinal liquor to the sophisticated spirit savoured around the globe, English Gin has carved out a category of its own, a true embodiment of the spirit of Britain.
Experience the compelling journey of English Gin. Explore its many styles, indulge in its myriad flavours, and immerse yourself in the culture and tradition that it represents. Whether you're a seasoned gin connoisseur or just starting your gin journey, we invite you to delve into the captivating world of English Gin and experience the history in every sip.