Win tickets to the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final

Today, we are looking at one of the stalwarts of the gin world; namely, Beefeater. This is in part because the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final is on Thursday 7th November 2013 and we are giving away 2 tickets to the final (see below).

Beefeater was founded by James Burrough in 1876 in his distillery in London. At that time, most gin brands were named after their founder, for example: Felix Booth, Charles Tanqueray, and Alexander Gordon, but James Burrough named his brand after something thoroughly reminiscent of London: the yeoman warder, the guards of the Crown Jewels of England in the Tower of London, the Beefeater.

Today, Beefeater is made in Kennington and still contains the original botanical mix of nine ingredients as prescribed by James Burrough over a century ago. Here is a breakdown of the botanicals in both the original Beefeater and its variants.


Beefeater 40% ABV

On its own
Nose: Coriander, lemon and orange, with some lemongrass at the end and just a hint of a malted milk biscuit.
Taste: Smooth, with a creamy texture and a little sweetness. Orange flavours come through toward the end, with notable juniper on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Classic and clean, with some sherberty citrus that works well with the bubbles of the tonic. Then there’s a good, dry finish. I’d recommend using either a lemon or orange garnish.

A truly classic Martini, with the great mix of dry, slightly piney juniper, herbal angelica and then some crisp, slightly sweet citrus from the coriander and orange, both of which mix well with the herbal vermouth.

A nice, mellow and accessible drink that’s quite sweet initially, but with a bitter finish and a hint of chocolate. A good garnish would be either orange or grapefruit. Very sippable; almost liqueur like.

Beefeater 40 47 Bottles

Beefeater 47% ABV

On its own
Nose: More of the juniper, angelica and other herbal and spice notes come through, with less citrus.
Taste: Still a clean and smooth spirit, considering it is another 7%ABV in strength. The citrus is more forward at the start and the lemon is more balanced against the orange. Altogether, this is a dryer gin, which is less sweet and more spicy, vibrant and intense.

Gin & Tonic
A dryer Gin & Tonic, this almost seems sharper and more streamlined. I really like it and my suggestion for a garnish would be lime, as the slightly sour notes work well with the crispness of the drink, whereas I think that the sweetness from lemon muddles the flavours a bit.

A dryer and more intense Martini, with more juniper and more lemon, whilst the softer, sweeter elements are less pronounced. Although both drinks had the same volume of vermouth in them, this drink is far dryer. I can see why the 47% Beefeater is so popular for Martinis in the US and was the go-to brand throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Once again, this is a dryer drink with a richer, more herbal complexity and is a good example of a textbook Negroni. Quite excellent.


Beefeater 24 is delighted to provide the winner of our competition with two tickets to the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final in London, where eight finalists from the bartending community across 26 countries have been selected to compete and showcase their skills and creativity. Expect classic cocktails with a modern twist and the very best in mixology.

DATE: Thursday 7th November
TIME: 6.30-8.30pm
VENUE: 9 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1X 7SH

To be in with a chance of winning, simply email with the subject heading “Beefeater Comp”. The competition closes at 16:00 on Friday 1st November and the winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter.

T&Cs: Beefeater are offering a pair of tickets for two adults over 18 years old. Winners will need to make their own arrangements for transport/accommodation.


Stolichnaya Sunday’s – Blue Label (50%ABV/100 Proof)

In the second of our Stolichnaya Sundays, we will look at the export variety, their Blue Label. This is essentially the same as the Red Label, but is bottled at 50% ABV. It is interesting that Stolichnaya, like Smirnoff*, bottles their export strength in packaging with a blue label.

On its own
Nose: Clean and neutral, with a tiny hint of grain.
Taste: Initially, very smooth (especially for 50% ABV); the strength only really appears once you have swallowed it. Overall, this is a very clean and neutral vodka; it’s quite easy to drink with some character coming from the grain and bready notes.

From the freezer
Nose: Clean, grainy nose.
Taste: This has a rich, thick texture, like syrup; it’s very viscous. Full of flavour and, again, it’s very smooth for a spirit at 50% ABV. There’s a robust warmth, but no real burn. Potent, but excellent.

Vodka Martini
Unusually for Stolichnaya, this drink has quite a neutral flavour. It’s clean and strong, but, beyond that, it’s rather silent in character; given its strength, it’s rather easy-to-drink. I think this could be well-suited to a pre-dinner drink.

Vodka Tonic
This makes a clean Vodka Tonic with a hint of vanilla and anise. Strong, but relatively silent; no fuss and easy to drink. Tasty and satisfying.

Probably my favourite use for Stolichnaya Blue is in a Vesper as the strength is closer to the strength of alcohol in the 1950s and whilst providing a more potent drink, the cocktail is just as smooth as ever. A very good choice.

Stolichnaya Blue is a clean vodka that adds more power to the drink, almost as if it gives the cocktail a backbone for the other ingredients to sit on. My favourite vodka for Vespers.

* Smirnoff Export Strength does differ depending on where you buy it: some locations have it at a measly 45% ABV, whilst others at the full 50% ABV.