Beefeater London Dry Gin Review & Cocktails

  • 01 of 04

    Beefeater London Dry Gin

    Beefeater London Dry Gin
    One of the icons of the liquor shelf, Beefeater is a top-shelf gin of choice for many martini drinkers. Photo Courtesy: © Beefeater Gin

    Beefeater is one of the first names that we think of when it comes to gin. This iconic London dry gin has nearly become synonymous with this particular category of spirits and has been a favorite of generations of martini lovers.

    Its classic styling, unchanging bottle and taste, and availability have made Beefeater one of the best known (and best tasting) gins available and it is one that you can rely on. Walk into any bar and Beefeater will be patiently waiting in the back bar for your next Gin...MORE and Tonic If that icon is not visible in that particular establishment, you should turn around and find the next watering hole.

    The Beefeater Story

    The story of Beefeater London Dry Gin is one of the oldest among modern gins. It began in the 1860's when founder James Burrough bought a Chelsea London distillery where he produced a variety of gins.

    Within a decade Beefeater became the distillery's flagship bottling and its success continues today. Beefeater accounted for 3 of every 4 bottles of gin imported into the United States by the 1960's.

    The signature figure pictured on the bottle still alludes to the name's inspiration, the guards of the Tower of London known as the "Beefeaters."

    The recipe for Beefeater has gone unchanged since Burrough first perfected it. The same nine botanicals are there - with juniper being in the forefront - and the same dry aftertaste (a pleasant one, mind you) still tempts our taste buds just as they did our great-grandparents.

    The same 24-hour distillation, which leads to a complex taste but a soft aroma, continues to make a fabulous base for a Martini. And we will always know that only the best botanicals and "cream of the crop" (no heads or tails, just the middle cut) of the distillate will have our backs when we're thirsting for a great Gin and Tonic.

    Beefeater has a place in almost everyone's memory and has thrilled millions of cocktail drinkers over the years and, luckily, this is not likely to change.

    So, where should you use Beefeater? The simple answer is in every single gin cocktail you can that specifically does not call for a genever, Old Tom, or Plymouth gin. Yes, that opens up far too many drinks to name, but for everyone that you make with Beefeater you will not be disappointed, and that is the truly great thing about this gin.

    Tasting Notes:
    The aroma of Beefeater is both spicy and fruity, with a nice balance and always a focus on the juniper. The palate is dry but the herbal bouquet is ideal and it finishes dry with a citrus back.

    Description

    • Gin distilled of neutral spirits with juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peels, angelica root and seed, liquorice, almond, and orris root.
    • Distilled by Beefeater Gin at a Kensington, London distillery since the 1870's.
    • Imported by Pernod Ricard
    • 40% alcohol/volume or 80 proof (47% ABV is also available in USA, Japan, and travel retail markets)
    • Retails for around $22/750ml bottle
    • Visit Their Website

    Originally Published: August 26, 2009
    Updated: October 9, 2015

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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  • 02 of 04

    Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin

    Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin
    Tea and grapefruit peel are added to the traditional and familiar taste of Beefeater Gin to create the impressive Beefeater 24. Photo Courtesy: © Beefeater Gin

    Everyone has heard of Beefeater, a gin recipe that has been unchanged since the late 1800's, but what about this new Beefeater 24 Gin? Well, it is in keeping with the quality of Beefeater yet it has a twist and that is the addition of grapefruit and two teas.

    These two simple addition make for a modern sensation that is a reinvention on the classic gin style we love so dearly, but it is not too far out of the box to destroy the Beefeater experience. It is a rendition of a classic that has been...MORE modernized in a sultry, sophisticated way.

    The Review of Beefeater 24

    There have been many interpretations to the reason why Beefeater 24 has taken on the numerical moniker. Beefeater has always used a 24-hour steeping period and the new flavors that build on that refined Beefeater experience brings the total to 12 botanicals (multiply that by 2 and you have 24). The real reason has not been clearly defined though with a fantastic gin like this, those details really don't matter.

    Beefeater 24 adds three new botanicals to their classic mix. The grapefruit peel brings an enhanced citrus experience while the teas (Chinese green and Japanese sencha) add to the darker side to back up the juniper.

    The teas have the greatest influence on Beefeater 24's taste. The founder of Beefeater, James Burrough's father was a tea merchant and this inspired the current Master Distiller, Desmond Payne, to pursue teas in their gin. That history, coupled with the UK's fascination with tea  made the experiments and eventual success a winning hit.

    It is the similarity to Beefeater that allows Beefeater 24 to be a nice addition to the brand and stand up to any gin cocktail that the other can handle. It is similar in expansion to the premium vodka lines: when they release a new flavor you know it's going to be built on a solid foundation and the taste quality is going to (or should) live up to standards.

    The price of Beefeater 24 is not much above that of the original Beefeater and certainly not out of line with other modern premium gins. It is a nice upgrade but not one that I would switch to completely. I can see Beefeater 24 becoming the switch hitter for every 2 or 3 bottles because the taste is just different enough from the standard to be a welcomed treat every now and then.

    Tasting Notes:
    Beefeater 24 has a clean aroma that is delightfully complex with a bit of tannic citrus noticeable against the well-known taste of the base gin. The palate has more of the citrus but it is in a nice balance with the still juniper-forward taste. Its finish is characteristically dry and full of juniper and a touch of liquorice.

    Beefeater 24 Gin Cocktails:

    Description

    • Beefeater Gin with the addition of grapefruit peel, Japanese sencha tea and Chinese green tea.
    • Distilled by Beefeater Gin at a Kennsington, London distillery since the 1870's.
    • Imported by Pernod Ricard
    • 45% alcohol/volume (90 proof)
    • Retails for around $29/750ml bottle
    • Visit Their Website

    Originally Published: August 30, 2009
    Updated: October 9, 2015

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Beefeater London Dry Gin Summer Edition

    Beefeater Summer Edition London Dry Gin
    A limited edition release in the summer of 2010, Beefeater Summer Edition was a bright gin that made some great summer drinks. Photo Courtesy: © Beefeater Gin

    Surprise or not, Beefeater has released its second new style of gin in little more than a year. Master Distiller Desmond Payne has, once again, played with that staple recipe of Beefeater London Dry Gin.

    However, unlike Beefeater 24, the Summer Edition is just that, a summer edition limited to the summer season of 2010 and it lives up to the brand standards of quality. Summer Edition is a refreshing twist on the classic gin and I think that it will appeal to many people over the summer, whether...MORE you are a regular gin drinker or not.

    The Review

    Beefeater Dry Summer Edition fills a niche in the brand's portfolio that a handful of other light gins with interesting flavors have been filling in recent years. The difference here is that Beefeater started with a very classic London dry gin recipe and transformed it to more suitably fit summer tastes.

    The result of Payne's experiment into a softer gin was a resounding success. The alcohol content has been dropped from Beefeater's 47% alcohol/volume to 40% (80 proof), which creates a tamer gin to begin with.

    He also backed off on the juniper, though it is still there in a very subtle and pleasing way. Then there is the addition of blackcurrant, elderflower, and hibiscus flower. This adds a wonderful array of florals with a gentle sweetness and finishes off this summery bouquet wonderfully. This is a gin for those who do not enjoy the juniper-heavy gins and for any gin lover looking for a little summertime in the glass.

    Drinking Beefeater Summer Edition

    You now have a well-balanced, efflorescent gin and you want to know what to do with it.

    Essentially, Beefeater Summer Edition is ideal for turning almost any gin cocktail into a sunshine-filled delight. It makes one of the most refreshing Gin & Tonics I've ever had (especially with Q-Tonic or Fever Tree) and the Dry Martini with a twist is superb for hot summer afternoons.

    Beefeater suggests mixing it on the rocks 1:3 with cranberry juice for a "Summer Serve" that is inherently a gin Cape Codder. Yet, the Summer Edition drink that has topped my charts so far is the traditional Pegu Club Cocktail. By using this gentle gin, fresh lime, and Combier as the orange liqueur you have a stunning, rejuvenating cocktail that softly screams summer.

    Summer Edition also begs for experimentation and I encourage you to see what you can come up with. I had fun developing a Pomegranate Gin Fizz, complete with the traditional egg and siphoned soda and incorporating PAMA, which has become one of my staple liqueurs.

    This is an ideal gin for a summery Rose Martini. A suggestion on Facebook for a neat drink of "2 oz Summer Gin, .5 oz St. Germain, and .75 oz Dolin Dry [vermouth], stirred with a twist" is a winner as well. That simple touch of St. Germain enhances the elderflower of the gin.

    Without a doubt, Beefeater Dry Summer Edition is a gin that almost anyone can enjoy and is the perfect match for this season. Though it is a shame that supplies of it will only last through August or so, I prefer not to dwell on that fact and hope that it makes a return in the future because, in my book, summer has a new gin.

    Description

    • Beefeater Gin with blackcurrant, elderflower, and hibiscus flower added.
    • Distilled by Beefeater Gin in London, England
    • Imported by Pernod Ricard
    • 40% alc/volume (80 proof)
    • Retails for around $20/750ml bottle
    • Visit Their Website

    Originally Published: July 7, 2010
    Updated: October 9, 2015

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Beefeater Cocktail Recipes

    Greg Easter's The 5/25 Cocktail
    Greg Easter's The 5/25 Cocktail. Helene Vallee / Vetta / Getty Images

    Any of the gins produced by Beefeater are perfect for mixing into any gin cocktail you like. Explore the many gin martinis and be sure to revisit the classics with this traditional London dry gin.

    Here are a few recipes that specifically call for Beefeater Gin: