As my home town, Plymouth gin might seem like an entirely biased choice for my gin drinking. Like many students and young people, I was introduced to gin through Gordens and London Dry and man, did I hate them! I’m not one for a strong alcoholic kick and the thrust of flavour that assaulted my tongue and throat when I tried my first gin and tonic put me off for years. I’d been vaguely aware of Plymouth having a distillery, it’s in one of Plymouth’s main shopping areas, but it had literally meant nothing to me because I felt that (like most teenagers, no matter where they are) nothing cool could possibly be in my home time.
I don’t remember when I first tasted Plymouth Gin, much to my disappointment, but I know exactly why it’s become my drunk of choice. The least dry gin I’ve ever tasted, Plymouth Gin uses juniper berries from our nearby moor out on Dartmoor (they have to, as Plymouth Gin is one of the few drinks that comes with Protected Geographical Indication, it’s not Plymouth Gin if they don’t) and this creates an entirely different taste. I find that Plymouth Gin also blends far better with other flavours in cocktails, possibly because the flavour is more subtle, and this is surely why many professional bars use Plymouth Gin specifically in their cocktails. My absolutely favourite drink is Pink Gin, a mixuture of gin, tonic and Angostura bitters to create a strangely sweet and bitter drink that demands a taste.
Plymouth Gin doesn’t just end at its art deco themed bottle, at least, not if you live close enough to Plymouth to warrant a journey. Because Plymouth Gin must be made with certain ingredients and within the old city lines, it’s one of the few distilleries that still functions from its original home. Plymouth Gin production may be a drop in the ocean comparatively to the massive output of London Dry but they have kept their roots and the quality of their product is award winning and revered around the world. You can take a variety of tours around the original building, which includes tasting and a voucher for a free drink in the beautiful upstairs bar or a miniature bottle from the gift shop.
The Plymouth Distillery bar must get a mention here as there aren’t many places in Plymouth where you can watch a true bartender work their magic and create you a gorgeous cocktail. Featuring some of the most famous and delicious gin based cocktails in existence, this bar has exactly the right mix of class and sophistication but I still felt comfortable there as a 20-something getting herself a fancy night out as a treat. The amazing history of Plymouth Gin, from the distillery’s original use as a monastery, its intricate naval background and place in American history during prohibition, makes this one of the best tours I’ve ever been on and was full of witty anecdotes.
Of course, when it comes to Plymouth Gin, the proof is in the taste. Get yourself a bottle, some supermarkets stock it past Bristol, and you’ll be amazed at the smooth taste and deep flavour. If you love gin then trying Plymouth if you dislike how dry gin can be then give this a try and I might make a convert of you yet!