Beefeater has launched its new style of gin in the United States, Beefeater 24. A production of Beefeater’s master distiller, Desmond Payne, 24 takes its name from the amount of time Payne allows its botanical blend to steep, prior to distillation. B24 features the same blend of citrus peels, juniper, coriander, and other botanicals as its father, Beefeater, but in a different balance of flavor. B24′s not so heavy on juniper, for instance, as daddy is. With B24, though, Payne adds a subtle blend of teas to the mix.
I received not one, but two sample bottles this week, and I’ve been slowly putting the new product through its paces. Our favorite gin cocktail is a simple martini; we’ve reached a point where we sip one together every Monday, to take the edge off the start of the week, and also every Friday, to celebrate the coming of the weekend. After trying many variations on the gin:vermouth ratio, I’ve eventually settled on a 3:1 mix, sometimes adding a hit of orange or lemon bitters to liven things up.
So upon receiving my samples, I immediately hit the B24 site to see what cocktails it had to offer. The second drink listed was the 24 Martini, a blend of B24, Lillet Blanc, and, what-do-you-know?, orange bitters. And lo and behold, the recipe offers the golden ratio: 60ml Beefeater 24, 20ml Lillet Blanc, and 3 dashes orange bitters. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to measure in milliliters; I’ll have my proportions at the end of the post.)
Now, a note about this Lillet Blanc: it’s a French aperitif wine, made by blending a number of wines with citrus peels and citrus liqueurs and then aging it in oak. Tasty simply on its own, it also deliciously complements the Beefeater 24. I would love to try a martini made with Lillet next to one made with vermouth, but I’m already pretty certain that the Lillet is the best choice.
The other notable thing about B24 is the beautiful bottle. One thing you can see if you look closely at the photo is the way the glass in the bottle reflects and channels the red of the punt throughout the bottle. The punt is the only area of the glass that’s actually red; everything else is reflection, and it shifts as you move the bottle around in your hand. It’s a lovely effect.
Photograph by Jennifer Hess.
Now, since Beefeater 24 is in the midst of launching in the U.S., it doesn’t appear to be available for retail just yet. At least, I haven’t found it yet on the websites of online retailers such as BevMo or Astor Wines and Spirits. I have no firm word on how much it will cost when it’s available; however, a press release at Business Wire says, “The suggested retail price for Beefeater 24 is $28.99/750 milliliter bottle, and $32.99/one liter bottle.” That should put it in a pricing tier with Bombay Sapphire and Tanq Ten, which seems reasonable enough to me, given that it appears aimed at that market.
24 Martini (makes two cocktails)
- 4-1/2 oz. Beefeater 24 gin
- 1-1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
- Six dashes Regan’s orange bitters
- Lemon slices, for garnish
Stir over cracked ice and strain into an up glass. Add garnish.
For another take on the B24, head over to Jay Hepburn’s site. A Londoner, Jay reviewed the gin just after its UK launch last autumn and liked it as well. He has detailed tasting notes, which is an area of spirits writing that I’m still working on, as I develop my palate.
Note: It’s going to be a Beefeater 24 kind of week around here. Later this week, I’ll be in New York to participate live in something we call Thursday Drink Night (TDN). Every week, some reprobate picks a theme for TDN. A bunch of other reprobates gather in a chat room like the geeks we are to create and discuss original cocktails on that theme. For Thursday, April 30, the theme is Beefeater 24. I hope to review another B24 drink between now and Thursday, so just bear with me a few days if it doesn’t interest you.