Wine & Spirits: Beefeater Summer Edition Gin

Toast the arrival of summer with some freshly cut and very mixable flower garden-to-glass botanicals.

By Kelly A. Magyarics

Beefeater Summer Edition Gin

I guess you could say I’ve been hit with a major case of gin-spiration.

I just returned from a week in England, touring gin distilleries, hitting the London cocktail scene and sampling some of the best cocktails (gin and otherwise) that the city has to offer. Yes, it’s quite a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Full disclosure: it certainly wasn’t necessary to convert me to a gin lover, as it’s always been my favorite spirit. I am partial to Plymouth, but I turn giddy every time a new brand hits the market that touts alternative botanicals to pair with the ubiquitous—and legally/stylistically necessary—juniper (Baby ginger! Licorice! Cucumber! Lavender! Bring it on!)

One of my stops in London was to tour the Beefeater Gin distillery, the only major London Dry Gin producer actually produced in London. (Without getting too geeky with spirit classifications, the term “London Dry” actually refers to a style of gin, and not actually a location. The botanicals in London Dry Gin must be added during the redistillation process—no flavorings can be added after distillation. London Dry Gin can actually be made anywhere.)

Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne discusses his latest creation.

Beefeater Master Distiller discusses his latest creation.

At Beefeater, Master Distiller Desmond Payne reviewed the botanicals in his three current gins: Beefeater, Beefeater 24 and the brand spanking new Beefeater Summer Edition. (Payne, by the way, was the Master Distiller at Plymouth Gin for twenty-five years before relocating a few years ago to London. But I digress.)

While strolling through one of the spice markets during a recent trip to Java (makes perfect sense for a gin distiller to seek out a spice market to

The summery gin mixes with a variety of ingredients.

The summery gin mixes with a variety of ingredients.

look for new aromatic ingredients, doesn’t it?), he came across some fragrant rosella, which he packed in his suitcase and brought back to London. Otherwise known as hibiscus, rosella petals are delicate and pretty, used as the inspiration for Beefeater Summer Edition, a limited edition warmer weather spirit. He also added elderflower and blackcurrant, and the resulting gin tastes just as good in a G&T as it does with citrus juices and other mixers. It’s also very lovely stirred with Lillet Blanc and lemon bitters—sort of a cross between a Vesper and a classic Martini.

Punch made with new Beefeater Summer Edition Gin

Punch made with new Beefeater Summer Edition Gin

At a picnic at the ultra exclusive, tony Home House in London, we sampled Beefeater Summer in several summer cocktails, including a punch, iced tea and all by itself with a slice of grapefruit. My favorite libation mixed it simply with freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, club soda and a grapefruit wedge.

This style of gin works so well with the wilting summer heat, as it’s a light, delicate and perfect for summer parties, barbeques and picnics. If you like it as much as I do, don’t wait to get your hands on a bottle. It’ll be available only through the end of the summer—and Payne doesn’t know if he’s bringing it back next year. Though when I questioned him if he’s considered a heavier, spicy winter gin, he had a gleam in his eye and said he’s working on it.

While I certainly don’t want to wish away summer, that’s definitely something to look forward to…

Summer Gin Fizz
Courtesy of Beefeater
2 oz. Beefeater Summer Edition Gin
Ruby red grapefruit juice
Club soda
Ruby red grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Pour gin in a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit juice and club soda, and garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Summer Cooler
Courtesy of Beefeater
2 oz. Beefeater Summer Edition Gin
1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Club soda or ginger ale
Lemon wedge and summer fruits, for garnish

Pour gin in a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Add St. Germain. Top with club soda or ginger ale. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and summer fruits.

Summer Martini
Courtesy of
1 1/2 oz. Beefeater Summer Edition Gin
1 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
Few dashes lemon bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on www.twitter.com/kmagyarics.

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3 Responses

  1. Dug says:

    I recently discovered St Germain elderflower liqueur and gin. I came up with the following delightfully refreshing concoction…

    2 oz Gin
    1 oz St Germain elderflower liqueur
    Tonic water to taste
    1/2 slice pink grapefruit

    I am posting recipes for gin-based drinks on my blog (http://www.suckr.co.uk/) as I find them. I will have to try the summer cooler; the addition of ginger could be really good. I will credit the source of the recipe when I do.

  1. March 17, 2011

    […] Gin coverage in the near future. In fact, Kelly Magyarics has already written a great feature in Washington Life magazine about a tour by the “only major London Dry Gin producer actually produced in London,” […]

  2. March 18, 2011

    […] with their friends in the media world. Vodka drinkers tried the newest innovations from Beefeater Gin and the gin drinkers branched out to try new Absolut flavors.  Traditionally, it would seem […]

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