What is navy strength gin and why is yours called
We answer your questions
The short is answer is that navy strength gin must be bottled at a minimum of 57% abv. The long, and much more interesting answer, harks back to the days of tall ships, tots of gin and barrels of gunpowder out on the high seas.
It is said there were two reasons to make sure the gin on board was of a high strength. With barrels of gin and rum stored next to the gunpowder, if any spirit got into the powder, it was crucial that the cannons would still fire. So the sailors would test their gin (or rum) by mixing it with a little gunpowder and setting a match to it. If it failed to ignite, the gin had been watered down, but if it flared successfully it was of an acceptable standard, ensuring the cannons still fired and the sailors got their proper ration.
Stories vary, but it is believed the term ‘proof’ originated from these early gunpowder tests. If the wet gunpowder still ignited, it was proof the alcohol content was high enough. That’s why (in the UK atleast) 57% abv is also 100% proof.
So why is St. Giles’ navy strength gin called Divers’ Edition? Co-founder of the distillery Simon Melton has spent a lifetime working in the world of commercial diving and these adventures both above and below the surface of our oceans inspired him to create an exceptional navy strength gin born from a love and respect for our maritime world.
Simon originally came up with idea for a navy strength gin when overseas and this award-winning spirit is created using a distinctive blend of 10 carefully selected botanicals, including Norfolk samphire, cubeb berries, liquorice root and sea kelp.
The higher than usual abv means the botanicals react and taste differently in stronger alcohol, and the texture of the gin is richer and warmer too. Our navy strength gin works magnificently in cocktails, this Gimlet being a particular favourite, and is also a fine sipping gin, with just an ice cube or two to open up the flavour.