As gin has had quite the renaissance as of late, so too has navy strength gin, the style once supplied to sailors by the British Royal Navy. And while there isn’t an official definition for navy strength gin, more often than not it is a gin which is produced in the London Dry style. Furthermore, the gin is more likely to have a more juniper-forward profile. Additionally, the minimum proof for navy strength gin is 54.5% ABV rather than the much touted 57% ABV. The former is the number established by the British navy and the latter the British 100 proof.
Thankfully, gunpowder tests are no longer needed to ensure the “proof”. Today, distillers around the world are producing navy strength gin. We think every bar, home or otherwise, needs at least one bottle. They’re perfect for Gimlets, Pink Gins, and of course, Martinis.
The Hayman family returned to their family archives to produce this gin using a recipe from 1863. It gets its name from the Deptford Dock in London, one of the famous homes for the Royal Navy. The ten botanicals used are pretty standard fare including juniper, coriander, citrus peels, angelica root, cassia bark, licorice and nutmeg, among others. It’s bottled at 57% ABV.
Plymouth Navy Strength Gin celebrates the historic nautical legacy in Plymouth including the Royal Navy and explorer Sir Francis Drake. It’s made with seven botanicals: juniper berries, coriander seed, orange and lemon peel, green cardamom, angelica root and orris root. It is bottled at 57% ABV.
Released in 2012, this is Leopold Bros.’ version of a Navy Strength Gin. However, rather than use the same recipe the brand created for its primary gin product and increase the alcohol content, Leopold Bros. created a whole new recipe for this gin. This gin is made with increased amounts of juniper, coriander and cardamom, along with additional botanicals, such as bergamot. After distillation, the gin is then bottled at 57% ABV.
Released in 2013, VJOP is short for Very Junipery Over Proof. During production, the gin undergoes a “triple juniper” process. First, additional juniper is added to the botanical recipe, which macerates with the base spirit for three days. Then more juniper is added following maceration. Finally, during distillation, more juniper is vapor infused with the spirit. VJOP is then bottled at 57.7% ABV.
Perry’s Tot Gin is made at Brooklyn-based New York Distilling Company which makes several gin marques. This gin is named after Matthew Perry, a 19th Century US Navy Commodore who was once Commander of the Brooklyn Naval shipyard. It is also named for a “tot”—a sailor’s daily ration of alcohol. It’s made with eight botanicals including cardamom, star anise and wildflower honey. This gin is bottled at 57% ABV.
Distilled using the same production method as the flagship Ki No Bi Kyoto Gin, the final blend of “Sei” was refined to bring out each botanical’s profile at a higher proof. The spirit base was distilled from rice and the botanicals are divided into separate categories (base, citrus, tea, spice, herbal and fruity & floral). Each botanical category is steeped into the rice spirit, then individually distilled before being blended together. The eleven botanicals used include hinoki (cypress), yuzu, green tea, sanshō pepper, kinome, red shisho leaves and bamboo. Ki No Bi “Sei” is bottled at 54.5% ABV.
Released in 2014, this gin is made with Australian finger limes, ginger, and turmeric in addition to the botanicals used in distillery’s Rare Dry Gin. This expression is bottled at a higher proof of 58.8% ABV.
Ready to grab your own bottle of navy strength gin?
Want to enjoy Distiller ad-free? Join Distiller Pro today to support the Distiller platform and keep ads off of your screen.