Beefeater London dry gin has long been a go-to gin in my collection. Now Desmond Payne, the Master Distiller, is bringing us a premium take on the standard recipe, Beefeater 24. I had already heard great things when I received not one, but two full bottles for review in preparation for this week’s Beefeater 24 sponsored Thursday Drink Night.
The 24 references the 24 hours that Beefeater steeps its botanicals in neutral grain spirits (24 hours) before distillation. Payne was supposedly inspired by the fact that Beefeater founder James Burrough was the grandson of a tea merchant. In addition to Japanese sencha and Chinese green tea, Beefeater 24 is flavored with Seville orange peels, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, licorice, angelica root, angelica seed, almond, orris root, and of course, juniper. After steeping, the gin is distilled in copper pot stills, and finally finished at 90 proof (45% ABV).
The resulting gin provides far stronger citrus on the nose and the tongue than regular Beefeater. The influence of the tea is, to my taste, fairly subtle but provides a nice acrid roundness. Despite the higher proof, I find this to be a slightly sweeter gin than than the regular Beefeater. Perhaps that’s because the peppery notes are far less dominant, and the higher proof creates a richer mouthfeel.
Overall, I’m really impressed with this gin. The suggested retail price is in the $28 range. At that price, I think it’s an excellent choice in the premium gin range, and I expect to keep it in rotation in my home bar.
The suggested 24 martini is 3:1 Beefeater 24 to Lillet, with three dashes of Regan’s orange bitters. While I do like the Regan’s, I’m still having a love affair with Angostura orange bitters, so I made mine like this:
2 oz Beefeater 24
1 oz Lillet
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Stir until well chilled, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.
Beefeater 24 and Lillet blanc work exceptionally well together. I haven’t been using as much Lillet lately, and this drink has given me a whole new appreciation for it.
Glancing through the Beefeater 24 recipes, another caught my eye, the Shifting Sands. Credited to Sasha Petraske, this take on Milk & Honey’s Sands cocktail pairs 24 with maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice. I didn’t have a fresh grapefruit on hand, but I did have a bottle of Fizzy Lizzy Lonestar grapefruit soda, which tastes remarkably fresh, so I modified the recipe.
1.75 ounces London dry gin (Beefeater 24)
0.25 ounces maraschino liqueur
0.25 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces Fizzy Lizzy Lonestar grapefruit soda
Shake first three ingredients, strain into ice-filled collins glass. Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with spring of mint.
This is a great summer refresher. I never realized maraschino and grapefruit would pair quite so well as flavors. I’ll definitely return to this combination in the future. Honestly, this may not be the best way to experience all that Beefeater 24 has to offer. It does mix well with the citrus flavors, as I had expected from the gin’s flavor profile.
I’m happy to help welcome this new gin to the market. I’m even more excited at the chance to see what the collective cocktail consciousness comes up with at TDN.