Juniper is the key ingredient of gin and during the early boom of London distilling, juniper came from the countryside surrounding the capital. After the outbreak of the Second World War, these berries were cleared to make way for agriculture and food production. Until recently, therefore, most, if not all, juniper came from Italy and the countries around the Adriatic Sea.
Becketts Gin uses hand-picked juniper berries from Box Hill in Surrey. These are still Juniperus Communis, but vary in size and oil content to Tuscan juniper because of the colder, wetter climate in which they are grown. The gin also uses fresh riverside mint from Kingston-upon-Thames. Another four botanicals complete the recipe: coriander, sweet orange peel, orris root, and lime.
On its own
Nose: Bright juniper, piney and green, with a dry, resinous quality. There are also some leafy herbal notes and a touch of peppery citrus.
Taste: A good, well-integrated spirit with a smooth texture and plenty of juniper notes upfront, followed by luscious, fresh mint and then some dry citrus and vanilla.
Gin & Tonic
The juniper shines through in this drink and even stands up to the sweeter tonic waters. It produces a smooth and refreshing drink with citrus and mellow herbal notes, and just a hint of chocolate, before a dry, bitter finish.
Another textbook drink. Lovely juniper notes alongside dry angelica and crisp, slightly creamy vanilla and a notable leafiness. The finish is smooth, clean, and long.
A textbook Negroni: totally classic, with a bold, punchy juniper flavour, deeper herbal notes, citrus, and – again – a hint of chocolate before a dry, bitter finish.
Beckett’s Gin is a great example of a classic gin and still shows that there is room for innovation in the gin category whilst staying faithful to traditional flavour profiles. The works that Beckett’s do to support British Juniper is commendable and my favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.