Ultimate Guide to Gordon's Gin

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 31, 2023

Gin enthusiasts often discredit Gordon's Gin as cheap and basic. However, from a neutral point of view, their product is not only one of the oldest Gin brands on the market but also one with the biggest impact worldwide.
Gordon's Gin - London Dry Gin bottle and ingredients

In 1769, Scottish businessman Alexander Gordon set up his distillery in a London suburb to start distilling his own spirit. He aimed to produce a high-quality Gin dominantly flavored with juniper berries and accentuated with hand-picked botanicals. He had no idea how successful Gordon's Gin would become.

Today, Gordon's Gin frequently ranks as the best-selling London Dry Gin in the world. It's a world-renowned brand that is even a Royal purveyor to the court of Queen Elizabeth II since 1955.

It has the classic traits, ingredients, and flavors of an old-school London Dry Gin. A strong and almost piney juniper note with a subtle mix of botanical flavors in the background. Due to this flavor profile and its affordable price-point, it's one of the most common Gin for cocktails in bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Learn everything about the taste, botanical ingredients, why the brand decided to reduce the ABV to 37.5%, and the best way to drink it.

Quick Facts

  • Produced by: Diageo plc
  • Distilled at: Cameron Bridge Distillery in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Style: London Dry Gin
  • ABV: 37.5% (UK), 40% (US & CA), 47.3% (Travellers Edition)
  • Spirit base: Wheat-based neutral spirit
  • Taste: Juniper, pine, pepper, and coriander
  • Best served: Gin and Tonic

Botanicals

The exact list of ingredients in Gordon's Gin is top secret. However, it's pretty safe to say that besides juniper, angelica root, coriander seeds, and licorice root are part of the recipe.

Besides these base components, there must be more. Some likely candidates are orange peel, lemon peel, ginger, orris root, nutmeg, and cassia.

Where is Gordon's Gin produced?

Originally, Gordon's Gin was produced in the Southwark area of London. Over time, the distillery relocated multiple times. The first time production moved was within London in 1786 - to Clerkenwell.

The last time Gordon's changed locations was in 1998 when production moved to Cameronbridge distillery in Fife, Scotland. That's the same distillery that also produces Tanqueray Gin and Smirnoff Vodka.

Why Gordon's Gin is 37.5% ABV in the UK

Until 1992, the standard ABV of Gordon's Gin was at 40%. That's the same as Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater contain. The brand, however, decided to reduce the alcohol content to 37.5%, which is the minimum requirement for London Dry Gin.

Gordon's explained the reduction with the fact that they wanted to bring the Gin to the same level as much as White Rum, Vodka, and other spirits. However, the more realistic rationale might be that they wanted to reduce costs and excise duties connected to the ABV. 

Taste

The flavor of Gordon's is relatively one-dimensional, strong, and very distinct junipery. It tastes slightly sweet with a hint of coriander and background flavors that resemble grain Vodka. When served on ice, the Gin turns softer and slightly bitter.

The nose is also juniper forward with piney notes, hints of citrus fruits, and coriander.

Ultimately, the taste also depends on the ABV: The 37.5% version feels watered down, whereas the 40% version sold in the US and Canada is superior with intense botanical flavors. 

Although, my favorite is the traveler's edition which contains a whopping 47.3% alcohol. It has the most pronounced botanical flavors and works best in cocktails.

Different expressions of Gordon's

Over time Gordon's developed, launched, and also discontinued many Gin expressions. For instance, their Old Tom Gin, a Distiller's Cut, and a Spearmint Gin (only in the US) are no longer available.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the brand also launched an Orange and Lemon version, both discontinued in 1988. With the current Gin hype, though, the brand reinvented these two products and re-launched them in 2020. 

Here's a quick overview of the current selection of products Gordon's has on offer.

London Dry Gin: The classic London Dry Gin expression is best in Gin cocktails or a G&T. It's available at 37.5% in the UK, 40% in the US and Canada, and as 47,3% ABV travelers edition at airports.

Premium Pink Distilled Gin: This vibrant and pink-colored distilled Gin contains 37.5% of alcohol, like the standard London Dry expression. It has a rather sweet and fruity flavor with notes of raspberries and strawberries.

Gordon's Crisp Cucumber: Slightly tangy on the nose but overall a milder version of the classic Gordon. The Gin is still very junipery but paired with subtle cucumber notes. 

Sloe Gin: A sweet, fruity, and well-balanced Sloe Gin, made with sloe berries, containing 26% ABV. 

Spot of Elderflower: Like all Gordon Gin variations, the Elderflower expression clocks in at 37.5% ABV. It's a floral spirit that holds the distinct sweetness of elderflowers in the flavor profile without being overly sweet. 

Gordon's Sicilian Lemon: This is one of Gordon's reinvented Gins re-released in 2020. The taste is full of ripe lemon and orange notes with a pleasant sweetness. It has a fine structure and enough spicy notes of juniper and coriander to cut through the sweet citric flavors.

Gordon's Mediterranean Orange: The orange-flavored Gin has an alcohol content of 37.5 percent and scores with fresh and fruity flavors of ripe oranges. 

Price

Gin Type Size ABV Proof Price
Gordon's London Dry Gin 1l 40% 80 $10
Premium Pink Distilled Gin 750ml 37.5% 75 $12
Gordon's Crisp Cucumber 700ml 37.5% 75 $15 (EU)
Sloe Gin 700ml 26% 52 $25 (UK)
Spot of Elderflower 700ml 37.5% 75 $27 (UK)
Gordon's Sicilian Lemon 700ml 37.5% 75 $20 (UK)
Gordon's Mediterranean Orange 700ml 37.5% 75 $20 (UK)

History

If you ever looked at the lid of Gordon's gin closely, you probably have wondered what kind of animal is depicted there. In fact, this beast is a boar. As the legend goes, a long lost ancestor of the Gordon's clan rescued the King of Scotland from a wild boar during a hunting trip. Since that moment the boar was part of the bottle design of Gordon's gin. However, there's no actual evidence for this narrative.

The provable history of Gordon's Gin started in 1769 with Alexander Gordon. His goal was to create a high-quality Gin that stands out from the sea of mediocre products. In retrospect, he was definitely successful with his plan.

Here is a summary of the evolution of Gordons over the last 250 years:

1769: Opening of the distillery in London's Southwark area and first production of Gordon's Gin.

1786: The production moves to Clerkenwell, London.

1898: The two industry giants, Gordon's & Tanqueray, joined forces and formed Tanqueray Gordon & Co. Only one year later, Charles Gordon died, and with him, the last Gordon family member associated with the business.

1922: The Distillers Company acquired Tanqueray Gordon & Co.

1925: This year marks the first time Gordon's Gin was awarded a Royal Warrant. King George V was the one to grant it.

1962: Gordon's Gin is officially the world's best-selling Gin.

1984: The production of Gordon's Gin relocates to Laindon, Essex. 

1998: This year marks the last time the production of the Gin moved. Since 1998, the Gin is produced at Cameronbridge in Fife, Scotland. 

How to drink Gordon's Gin

Gordon's is great in many cocktail recipes. Still, the best way to serve it is in a Gin and Tonic. Combine one part Gordon's with three to four parts Indian tonic water and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve it over plenty of fresh ice and garnish with a lime wedge and dried juniper berries.

If you're more into more complex drinks, try the following cocktails:

FAQs

What sizes are Gordon's Gin bottles?

In the US, Gordon's Gin comes in 750ml, 1l, and 1.75l bottles. In the UK and Europe, the standard bottle size is 700ml.

How to store Gordons?

Gordon's Gin is best stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. No need to keep it in the fridge - room temperature is alright.

Is Gordon's Gin vegan?

Yes, Gordon's Gin is suitable for everyone on a vegan diet.

Is it gluten-free?

Yes, Gordon's Gin is considered a gluten-free product.

Subscribe to Cocktail Society!

Receive our latest recipes, reviews, and insights - straight to your inbox.
Subscription Form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ContactAbout usPrivacy PolicyTermsSitemap
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com.

© 2023 Cocktail-Society.com