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Behind the Scenes at the Plymouth Gin Distillery

[Photographs: Jessica Leibowitz]

Where does Plymouth Gin come from, and how is it made? I hopped a train to Plymouth, England to attend a distillery tour and find out.

Gins vary based on the ingredients they start with and the distillation process they go through. We started out our tour at the ancient copper still, then dipped our hands into Plymouth's seven botanicals.

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We took a few scenic detours along the way, including one to the Dartmoor reservoir, the source of Plymouth Gin's water. The abundance of peat over granite (and the lack of limestone) means the water's very soft, resulting in a very smooth gin.

A note on distillation: While the ingredients for Beefeater gin (yup, that tour's up next) steep for 24 hours, Plymouth's are brought immediately to a boil. Head distiller Sean Harrison likened the two distillation processes to steaming carrots (Beefeater) vs. boiling them (Plymouth). At the end of the day, the release of the flavors—as well as the flavor of the final product—varies.

Come on the tour with me »

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