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This session we focus on Four Pillar’s gin, the Gimlet cocktail and the beginning of the Gin Craze.

Last week we explored Hendricks Gin & how to make the Southside Cocktail, for a recap, click here!

The Gin Craze of the 18th century was a massive event in the timeline of gin. In order to explain the history properly, we need to set the scene with a little backstory. It’s important to know what was happening in the run-up to this epidemic and how gin had found its way into the mainstream.


A key event which led to an increase in the distillation of gin and other spirits was Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1534. Many monks had lost their vocation along with their homes and so were forced to take their skill sets with them when they returned to the urban areas. In cities such as London, they found themselves as bread makers, beer brewers and craft distillers. 

monk distillers

Our relationship with the Dutch also increased our awareness of gin. During the 80 years war, Elizabeth I sent 6000 British troops in 1585 to fight alongside them against their Catholic Spanish oppressors. It was during this time we noticed our comrades partaking in a particular juniper-based ‘burnt wine’ before the battle. This coined the term Dutch Courage and when the troops returned, likely without job prospects, they looked for that familiar (and cheap!) taste.

Luckily for them, gin had begun to rise in popularity and by 1621, there were over 200 distilleries in London alone.

In England in 1688, began the reign of a Dutch-born King, William of Orange. Although ‘gin’ was already being drunk amongst the gentry, it was the actions of King Billy, as he was sometimes known. Which helped expedite its popularity. War had been declared on France and as a result, brandy was scarce. Furthermore, parliament passed an act that lowered duties paid on spirits made from English corn. This pleased the farmers and land-owning gentry who could now rid their warehouses of surplus corn by distilling spirits.

All the ingredients of the Gin Craze had now amassed and London was about to implode.



four pillars gin

A gin that uses juniper as more of a starting point than an identity. Created by the team Cam, Stu and Matt in the pursuit of crafting a modern Australian gin.

Their blueprint is mapped by four pillars:  the water, the stills, the botanicals and love. Water from the Yarra Valley, bespoke German stills, local botanicals and attention to detail!

yarra valley
Yarra Valley

The navy strength was their 3rd release and clocks in at a whopping 58.8% ABV! Traditionally, Navy strength must be over 57%. It was at this strength that the gin would burn proficiently if mixed with spilt gunpowder. That way, the cannons could still work with usable ammunition.

Given the gin, it made sense to pick a cocktail with a naval background, and so, we bring you the Gimlet.

The Gimlet

In the late 1860s, vitamin C was vital for long excursions at sea. Rear Admiral Alan Gardner pioneered the idea of fresh citrus as a preventative of scurvy by insisting that lemon juice be taken as daily ration by the crew of his ship. During its 23-week voyage to India.

It became so commonplace for British sailors to imbibe lime juice, usually in their daily rum ration or ‘grog’, that they earned the nickname ‘Limeys’! Lauchlin Rose, a Scottish shipyard owner capitalised on this and patented the idea of preserving fruit with sugar rather than alcohol.

navy grog

Whilst sailors were enjoying their rum, the officers would frequently partake in the more fashionable drink of gin and alongside it, an equal measure of lime cordial.

It’s believed the name relates to the tool used for tapping barrels of spirits.

Make sure you join us for next weeks Gin Club, live on Blind Tyger Leeds Instagram at 5 pm!