Not too long ago, gin was just the old spirit at the bar, stuck in history, served rather plainly with a slice of lemon and Schweppes tonic.

Over the last few years we have registered an out-of-this-world increase in gin consumption in our bars, and with new exciting brands coming up every year we make sure our gin cocktails are always up to date, so that they include these new flavours. Beefeater - with the launch of Beefeater 24 - and Hendricks are brands largely accredited for the revival of gin, due to genius marketing and excellent communications and design.

Last week we went to the Beefeater Distillery in London, home to Beefeater, our house gin, to find out more about the history behind it and why is it so popular again.

Beefeater Distillery

Without going into too much detail, Beefeater is proud of sticking to the same original recipe from 1876. Beefeater Gin contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges, and lemon peel. Unique to Beefeater’s production process is the steeping of all these natural botanicals for a full 24 hours prior to distillation.

After taking the tour, we had a gin tasting where we sampled many varieties of gin including Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay Saphire, Plymouth, Beefeater 24 and Hendricks.

A lot of interesting facts came out of this tasting: naturally, the big favourites were Beefeater, Beefeater 24 and Hendricks, all available at The Snug and used in our cocktails - but also Bombay Saphire was quite popular among a few of us. We were told this was because of the distillation process. Bombay Sapphire still uses a carterhead, meaning that the botanicals are not steeped; the neutral grain spirit evaporates and goes through them - what we call a vapour infusion. This results in a more floral and lighter taste meaning it’s a great introductory gin for someone who is not too keen on the regular ‘punchy’ kick from the juniper.

With the recent innovation in gin also came an innovation in tonics, but Beefeater still recommends the use of our house tonic Schweppes because different flavor tonics alter the taste of the gin rather than complementing it.

A great cocktail associated with the gin revival is the English Garden, a guaranteed crowd pleaser available at The Snug with Beefeater, apple and cranberry juices and elderflower cordial. Refreshing and fruity, it's an ideal drink to enjoy summer with (while we still can!).

English Garden cocktail

Want to know more about the history of cocktails and learn how to make your own? Book a cocktail class now.