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By Michael Hepworth

Gin is finally making a belated comeback after spending years in the doldrums following the emergence of Vodka as the drink of choice, and the Martini craze has helped fuel the revival. The history of the cocktail dates back to 1896 when gin was used in the original Dry Martini recipe. One particular Gin looking to benefit from this revival is Plymouth Gin from England, that dates back to 1793, and that is widely considered one of the smoothest gins around according to the experts and certainly by this writer.  It is still the official Gin of the British Royal Navy, and every new ship receives a Plymouth Gin Commissioning Kit that includes a wooden box with the Plymouth Gin pennant, glasses, a gurgling fish jug and a bottle of Plymouth Gin.

Gin actually dates back to the 16th century when English soldiers were introduced to the spirit on the battlefields of Northern Europe, and by the end of the 17th century, gin had enjoyed a massive growth in popularity. Heavy taxes and duties on the drink produced massive riots, finally resulting in the luxuriously appointed gin palaces that emerged in the mid 19th century. In the early 20th century, Plymouth Gin was the biggest seller in the world, but the Great Depression brought a premature end to the Cocktail Era until the revival about sixty years later.  This particular gin is still distilled at Plymouth in Devon, in the oldest working distillery in the world using the original 18th Century recipe, and it also the only gin in the world with a geographical destination. That means that it can only be made in Plymouth.

Recent awards have included the Double Gold, Best Overall gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the coveted Best in Show White Spirit awards. The secret of this gin according to Master Distiller Sean Harrison is balance. “One ingredient should never empower the others. Plymouth Gin is the perfect balance of seven botanicals made from the soft pure waters of Dartmoor, making it noticeably the smoothest gin in the world.” It retails for about $25 per bottle, and according to Harrison, there is no reason at all to pay more than that for a bottle of Gin, but if you want to pay $50 for the Tanqueray for example, that is up to you.  The re-branding of the Gin has taken almost two years, the end result is a much slicker looking label designed for the American market, and a brand new Art Deco inspired bottle. The decanter style reflects the gin heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, when Plymouth in was featured in 27 different recipes in the London Savoy Cocktail Book. Plymouth Gin is already being embraced by some of the top bartenders and mixologists in Hollywood, including Peter Birmingham from Norman’s on Sunset, and at the Hungry Cat restaurant.

Cocktail Tips
The Gin-Ger Tom created 2001 at the LAB Bar in London
2oz Plymouth Gin
1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of syrup or sugar
Ginger Beer
Add ingredients to a high ball glass filled with ice and top with Ginger Beer

Plymouth Navigator

1oz Plymouth Gin
½oz Limoncello
¼oz Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
To a shaker filled with ice add Plymouth gin, limoncello and grapefruit juice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest


Fact Sheet
Plymouth Gin 41.2% alc/vol (82.4% proof)







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