It was in 1769 in Southwark, a suburb in London, in the United Kingdom, when Alexander Gordon, a businessman of Scottish descent, set up his own distillery.
His intention was to produce a distinctive juniper berry-flavored high-end Gin using only the finest botanical ingredients he could source at the time. This is the story of Gordon’s London Dry Gin.
Before Alexander Gordon rose to the occasion 250-odd years ago, Gin was available, but it was of desperately poor quality.
He revolutionized the process and began making quality gin. In 1925 King George V awarded Gordon’s Gin its first Royal warrant, which is granted as a mark of recognition for businesses that have consistently supplied quality goods or services to the British Monarchy.
Now rated as the world’s top-selling Gin since 1962, with a total of four Royal warrants under its belt, and has received an array of international awards, the 250-year-old recipe for Gordon’s London Dry Gin remains a guarded secret.
However, the brand has revealed the usage of juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, licorice, orris root, orange, and lemon peel in its final product.
In the UK, as a nod to attracting a lower excise duty, Gordons Gin is marketed at a strength of 37.5 % ABV (Alcohol by Volume). In the USA it is sold at 40 % ABV, and in Canada, and South Africa for example, it is available at 43 % ABV.
Gordons London Dry Gin is wholly owned by the British multinational Liquor conglomerate, Diageo PLC, which has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
A Brief History of Gordons Gin
Gin is reputed to have originated in Holland sometime about the 11th Century AD, from where it went on to be produced by Monks and alchemists across Europe, including France Italy, and the Netherlands.
A Dutch Doctor by the name of Franciscus Sylvius de la Boe is the recorded inventor of Gin as we know it.
He originally produced a Schnapps which was distilled from Juniper berries and it was considered a medicinal drink as well in those days. The Dutch word for a Juniper Berry is “Geneva” and from that, the name Gin was derived.
Gordon & Co. and Charles Tanqueray & Co. amalgamated in 1898 whereupon the newly formed company was known as Tanqueray Gordon & Co.
In 1899 production of both products was then concentrated at Gordons Goswell Road Distillery. The legendary Charles Gordon passed away in 1899 ending the families associated with the Gin manufacturing industry.
In 1904 their unique distinctive square-faced, green bottle was introduced for use in the home market When the first export opportunity arose, to Australia in fact, it was decided to market the exported product in a new clear bottle embellished with the yellow label that is still seen today.
Gordon’s Sloe Gin was introduced in 1906. Further innovative products followed, with their ready-to-serve Shaker Cocktail range in 1924, Orange Gin in 1929 followed by Lemon Gin in 1931.
A change of ownership occurred when The Distillers Company acquired the interests of Tanqueray Gordon & Co. in 1922.
The production facilities were moved to Laindon in Essex in 1984 and moved again in1998 to Fife in Scotland, where they remain today.
In the 1960s Gordon’s London Dry Gin was an established top-selling brand. Their unique advertising technique experimented with the new TOV (Tone of Voice) marketing concept, which focuses more on “how it is said” than “what is said”.
Picture their one advert, where there is a pretty lady, standing next to a Great Dane pooch. She says, “next to dogs, I like Gordons best”. A seriously subtle but powerful advertising message.
The renowned San Francisco world spirits awards is an event where the products submitted for evaluation are “blind tested” by the judges who have no idea which brand they are evaluating. In 2016, Gordons London Dry Gin won 6 global spirit awards. In 2017 it took a Double gold award and in 2018 a gold award.
Gordon’s London Dry Gin Prices, Variations & Sizes:
- Gordons London Dry Gin 1.75 liter $15 13-17
- 750ml $10
- Gordon’s Premium Pink 750 ml $10
- Gordon’s Sloe Gin 750ml $9
- Gordons with a spot of elderflower 750ml $10
Gordons premium pink distilled gin: Available at 37.5 % ABV and from an original 1880s recipe it has the flavor of raspberries and strawberries, with a hint of redcurrant.
Gordon’s sloe Gin: Available at 26 % ABV ideal for cocktails. First produced in 1906 it vies with the classic G&T but is perfect on its own or in a mix. It has a tasting note of “Cassis” which refers to ripe and concentrated blackcurrant flavors or aromas.
Cassis is the French name for “blackcurrant,” a species of the Ribes berry, native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia and which imparts an attractive plum dark red color. It is also used to describe a rich and full-bodied red wine.
Gordons Elderflower: Available at 37.5 % ABV with the delicious but subtle taste of the elderflower. As an aside, raw elderberries are known to be toxic, the seeds contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside, which if eaten can cause a build-up of cyanide in the body.
The flower itself though has a less concentrated form of the toxin but cooking destroys these toxins both in the flower and in the seeds.
Gordons Sicilian Lemon: Available at 37.5 % ABV and made from the finest Sicilian lemons on the market. This is actually an Original Gordon’s Gin recipe.
Gordon’s premix: Available in Cans at 5% ABV in three flavors, elderberry, Gin and Tonic, and Pink Gin
Gordons London Dry Gin Alternatives/Comparisons
- Williams Chase Elegant 48 – a subdued juniper taste. $32
- Tanquery – strong on juniper – $26
- Plymouth Navy Strength – 57% ABV with a strong Juniper flavor. $35
How To Drink Gordons London Dry Gin
Classic G&T with ice and a wedge of lime
served in a chilled highball glass
50 ml of Gordon’s London Dry Gin
topped with fresh bubbly tonic water
Pour over ice cubes, squeeze fresh lime, and garnish with the remaining wedge.
Chilled in the Deep freeze served in a shot glass and drunk cold. The Gin won’t freeze because of the alcohol content.
served in a balloon glass
2 shots of Sicilian Lemon Gin
4 shots of bubbly tonic water tonic
Pour over ice cubes
garnish with a slice of lemon
Served in a highball glass
2 shots of Gordon’s London Dry Gin
4 shots of cranberry juice
Top up with ginger ale
Pour over ice cubes
Garnish with raspberries
Classic Dubonnet Cocktail
An elegant and sophisticated cocktail reputed to be favored by Queen Elizabeth 11, and the Queen mother.
2 shots of Dubonnet (a semi-sweet gin)
Pour ingredients into a mixer with ice, stir a little, then strain into a cocktail glass.
Add a twist of lemon for garnish
Shaun Connery as James Bond became legendary for his Vodka Martini “shaken not stirred” line. However, it was his successor Daniel Craig who introduced the Gin-based Vesper as Bonds’s favorite tipple.
three measures of Gordon’s London Dry Gin
one measure of vodka
half a measure of Kina Lillet.
shake it well until it’s ice cold, and add a large thin slice of lemon peel.
Got it !!!
Q. Does Gin go off after opening a bottle
As soon as a gin bottle is opened, the oxidation process starts which is responsible for the flavor compounds breaking down over time.
This is why the flavor of the opened bottle of Gin that’s been sitting in your cabinet for a few years has changed for the worse. To enjoy the full spicey taste of Gin it is best consumed within a few months or at least less than a year after opening the bottle.
On the other hand, an unopened bottle of Gin will last indefinitely if it is stored in a cool dark environment.
Q. Does Gin have medicinal properties
Olden-day sailors are reputed to have used a concoction of Gin and Angostura bitters to prevent an upset stomach. Thus was born the Pink Gin which has morphed into the classic “Pinkers”. That is Gin, Angostura bitters, and Tonic.
Facts and Myths
Mother’s ruin! Gin joints of the Victorian era permitted men and women to drink together for the first time ever.
The thinking in those days was that this tempted women to neglect their children and behave in an unseemly manner even turning to prostitution to fund the habit.
Gin, therefore, became known as “mother’s ruin” and it was generally felt that Gin made one depressed sad, and weepy.
Strangely enough, Gin is one of the healthier spirit-based alcohols and is very close to Vodka which is generally classed as the safest and purest of spirits to consume.
The Swedish distillers, Smögen, produce a London Dry Gin called Strane Ultra Uncut, which is the strongest commercially manufactured Gin in the world. It is bottled at a staggering 82.5 % ABV (165 proof. )
Ndlovu is a Zulu word for the African Elephant. Now, there is a particular brand of Gin, made in South Africa, specifically called Ndlovu Gin. No real surprise there.
What is surprising, is that this premium-graded Gin (yes Premium!) is produced using Elephant dung as a primary botanical ingredient.
The dung is washed and dried and the remaining botanicals are then infused into Indlovo Gin giving it a unique African flavor.
- Nose. Earthy, grassy, Juniper, citrus
- Palate. Classic Gin, earth, grass, citrus, spices, and Angelica
If you look at the lid of any bottle of Gordon’s gin, you will find a stylized image of a wild boar’s head, which is representative of the Gordon clan.
Legend has it that a member of the Gordon clan once saved the King of Scotland from a wild boar whilst out hunting. Ever since the ancestors of Alexander Gordon have displayed a boar’s head on their coat of arm
The legendary Gin & Tonic drink dates back to the days of the British Empire in India. After a long hot day in the sun, British officers would look forward to relaxing in the cooler hours of the evenings.
Unfortunately, sundown is also the time when the dreaded malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes are the most active.
By chance, the British had discovered that quinine was effective in combating the deadly disease. Gin took away the foul taste of the quinine, and so the two were drunk together as a sundowner. The gin & tonic was born.
In the movie, The African Queen, Rose Sayer (Catherine Hepburn,s character) pours Charlie Allnut’s (Humphrey Bogart’s character) entire crate of Gordon’s Gin bottles into the river Ulanga and watches the empties float away. A sad way to finish a case of Gin to be sure.