Gordon's is a brand of London dry gin first produced in 1769. The top markets for Gordon's are (in descending order) the United Kingdom, the United States and Greece. It is owned by the British spirits company Diageo and is made in Scotland (although flavourings may be added elsewhere). It is the world's best selling London Dry gin. Gordon's has been the UK's number one gin since the late 19th century.
Gordon's London Dry Gin was developed by Alexander Gordon, a Londoner of Scots descent. He opened a distillery in the Southwark area in 1769, later moving in 1786 to Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day. Its popularity with the Royal Navy saw bottles of the product distributed all over the world.
In 1898 Gordon & Co. amalgamated with Charles Tanqueray & Co. to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. All production moved to the Gordon's Goswell Road site. In 1899, Charles Gordon died, ending the family association with the company.
In 1904 the distinctive square-faced, green bottle for the home market was introduced. In 1906 Gordon's Sloe gin went into production. The earliest evidence in recipe books for the production of Gordon's Special Old Tom was in 1921.
In 1922 Tanqueray Gordon & Co. was acquired by the Distillers Company. In 1924 Gordon's began production of a 'Ready-to-Serve' Shaker Cocktail range, each in an individual shaker bottle.
In 1925 Gordon's was awarded its first Royal Warrant by King George V. In 1929 Gordon's released an orange gin followed by a lemon variety in 1931.
In 1934 Gordon's opened its first distillery in the USA, at Linden, New Jersey.
By 1962 at least it was the world's highest selling gin.
In 1984 British production was moved to Laindon in Essex. In 1998 production was moved to Fife in Scotland, where it remains to this day.
From 2007-2011 then in 2014, British chef Gordon Ramsay was the face of Gordon's Gin.
Every label and bottle top of Gordon's gin has a depiction of a wild boar. According to legend a member of the Gordon clan saved the King of Scotland from the animal while hunting.
The recipe for Gordon's is known to only twelve people in the world and has been kept a secret for 250 years. Triple-distilled, the gin contains juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel. It takes ten days distillation after receiving the wheat to create a finished product of a bottle of Gordon's Gin. Gordon's recipe differentiated from others at the time in that it didn't add sugar, which other distillers had used to disguise impurities. This made it a "dry" gin.
In the UK Gordon's is sold in a green glass bottle, but in export markets it is sold in a clear bottle. Some airport duty-free shops sell it in plastic bottles in the 75cl size.
Gordon's is sold in several different strengths depending on the market. In the US, the strength is 40% ABV. Until 1992, the ABV in the UK was 40%, but it was reduced to 37.5% to bring Gordon's gin into line with other white spirits such as white rum and vodka, and also reduce production costs (the other leading brands of gin in the UK, Beefeater gin and Bombay Sapphire, are both 40% ABV in the UK). In continental Europe and in some duty-free stores, a 47.3% ABV version is sold, while in New Zealand and Australia, as of 2011, it is sold at 37.2% ABV, and in South Africa it is 43% ABV.
In addition to the main product line, Gordon's also produce a sloe gin; a Vodka (US & Venezuela only), two alcopop variants, Space and Spark; three Vodka Liqueur Variants, Cranberry, Parchita and Limon (Venezuela only) and a canned, pre-mixed gin and tonic as well as a canned Gordon's and Grapefruit (500ml - Russia only).
On 11 February 2013, Gordon's announced the release of Gordon's Crisp Cucumber, a flavoured gin, which blends the original gin with cucumber flavour. In early 2014, Gordon's Elderflower was added to their "flavoured" gin collection and is made in much the same way, with a natural elderflower flavouring being added to the original recipe.Gordon's special Old Tom Gin (1921–1987)
Orange Gin (1929–1988)
Lemon Gin (1931–1988)
Spearmint gin (US only)
Gordon's Distiller's Cut - A luxury version of the gin, released in 2004, with additional botanicals of lemongrass and ginger.
A range of pre-mixed drinks:(1924–1967) Fifty-Fifty, Martini, Dry Martini, Perfect, Piccadilly, followed by Manhattan, San Martin, Dry San Martin and Bronx.
(1930–1967) Rose, Paradise and Gimlet 1930-1967.
(1924–1990) Dry/Extra Dry Martini
Finest Old Jamaica Rum
Orange Bitters (made from Seville Oranges)
Gordon's Gin is specified by name in the recipe for the Vesper Cocktail given by James Bond in Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale. Bond's famous mixing instruction of 'shaken not stirred' was the wrong way to prepare a Martini as the spirit would be bruised where it is agitated to become aerated which would give a sharper taste. In the books Bond drinks both gin and vodka martinis but in the films always has a vodka martina, although strictly speaking a martini should be gin.
Gordon's was Ernest Hemingway's favourite gin, which he claimed could "fortify, mollify and cauterize practically all internal and external injuries".
In the movie The African Queen Katharine Hepburn's character pours Humphrey Bogart's entire crate of Gordon's bottles into the river and floats away the empties.