Burrough's London Dry Gin
Beefeater's founder, James Burrough, was originally a pharmacist who started dipping his elbows into the berried spirit at a distillery in Chelsea. While the packaging has changed over the years, the formula’s stayed the same since Burrough developed it in 1820.
He represents the 36 guards from the Tower of London, the true namesake of Beefeater gin. Beefeaters like Henry—more formally known as Yeoman Warders—attend state occasions dressed to impress in these red uniforms. Their everyday (and nightly Ceremony of the Keys) uniforms are blue.
Juniper, gin’s favorite botanical
Last year, Beefeater went through 200 samples of the berries, selecting five to create its custom blend.
Crushing the berries releases the oily, woodsy scent so sniffable in gin. The thick skin of the juniper keeps the moisture inside, but not without some help from our friend Mr. Thermostat. The storage rooms are kept at 10 degrees Celsius.
NGS (Neutral Grain Spirit)
Beefeater starts with a 96.5% neutral grain spirit. Then, they add water to let the aromas out.
Besides juniper, Beefeater adds Seville orange peel, coriander seed, almond, licorice, angelica root, lemon peel, orris root, and angelica seed.
Since there’s so much tannin in black teas, Desmond instead chose Japanese sencha tea and Chinese green tea to combine with more traditional botanicals. His final addition: grapefruit peel.
The botanicals, along with the neutral grain spirit, steep inside the copper pot still for 24 hours, elevating the complexity of the gin. Desmond's the only person alive who knows the exact formula.
After 24 hours, it’s go time. The seven-hour distillation process takes place in these pipes as the infused spirit vaporizes, and then returns to liquid form.
A closer look
The first cut is called the head, while the last is the tail. Both are discarded. For Beefeater, these comprise about 5-7% of the total.
Since Beefeater 24 is made with tea, the resulting tannins are much higher. As a result, about 30% is discarded.
Then it’s off to Scotland for the gin, where it’s blended with water and bottled.