The James Bond Pink Gin

This article is by guest writer David T Smith of Summer Fruit Cup.

The Pink Gin is an old navy drink, a mix of gin and Angostura Bitters. Gin was the Naval Officer’s drink of choice and the bitters were thought to have medicinal properties. Traditionally, the drink is associated with Plymouth Gin, a spirit from a city with strong naval connections.

But when he ordered one at the Thunderbird Hotel, James Bond dispatches with tradition and asks for Beefeater Gin instead; exactly why is unknown, but here are some possibilities:

1) Bond may have preferred the dryer taste of Beefeater.
2) He may have wanted a stronger gin, as Beefeater Export has a higher proof than Plymouth.
3) The Thunderbird Hotel may not have had any Plymouth Gin.

Despite the simplicity of the third option, the fact that Bond specifies “plenty of bitters” in his Pink Gin suggests that he does indeed prefer a dryer, or less sweet, drink.

The Taste

Normally, Beefeater Gin in the UK is bottled at 40% ABV, but as Scaramanga’s Hotel is in the Caribbean, it is more likely that they would stock the stronger 47% ABV version. Although this is not currently available in the UK, Mr. Tim Stone of Beefeater was kind enough to provide me with a bottle; my sincere thanks to him.

50ml Beefeater Gin
4 Dashes Angostura Bitters (“Plenty of bitters”)
Add ingredients and ice to an Old Fashioned glass and stir.

This is a good, strong drink and the juniper mixes well with the herbs & spice of the bitters. It is a great pre-dinner drink and really helps to build-up an appetite. I tried this alongside versions made using Plymouth and Tanqueray Malacca, and I think Beefeater 47% certainly held its own against them.

Once more, James Bond (Ian Fleming) proves that, when it comes to drink, he really knew his stuff!

David T Smith runs the blog Summer Fruit Cup, looking at all things related to drink and drinking. Topics covered include tasting and reviews, cocktail history and vintage bar-ware.

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