From gun powder to cocktails: The history of Navy Strength gin

So That's Why... Sailors Drink 'Grog'

As suggested in the name, Navy Strength gin is much stronger. But why?

We’re going to take you back in time to the 18th Century when legislation was passed that meant every Royal Navy vessel had to take on board a certain quantity of gin.

The Navy believed that the drink could help to keep sailors healthy and was able to fight off diseases like malaria and scurvy.

Often gin was stored below deck amongst many items including the essential gun powder.

Savvy officers who suspected their gin was being diluted and/or sold by dodgy merchants discovered that only gin that was at least 57% ABV would still ignite the gun powder. Hence the name, Navy Strength.

So not only was it just the right strength to keep hard-working sailors happy whilst they sailed the high seas, but it was also potent enough to ignite gun powder!

The Gimlet is a popular gin cocktail today, and is often used with Navy Strength gin.

Back in the 1700s, Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette, of the Royal Navy, and who acted as a doctor to sailors, allegedly administered the concoction of gin and lime to help immunise the crew on deck against scurvy and a host of other nasties.

This is possibly where the name came from although others believe it’s from the tool that was used to bore into barrels of spirits on Navy ships – a gimlet.

Now served in a cocktail glass with a touch of soda in most cocktail bars, it’s not used to fight scurvy or malaria, but boy does it taste good!

The ever so popular G+T was also born on the high seas too, again used for medicinal purposes rather than a celebratory Friday night drink.

Gin was mixed in with the malaria medication quinine and topped up with tonic for the ultimate cure.

We wonder, when the officers and men of the Royal Navy were downing their medicine in far-flung corners of the world back then, did they ever suspect that the drink would become a fashionable cocktail in the world’s trendiest establishments?

NB Navy Strength Gin is a pure, clear, uncompromised grain spirit of 57 percent ABV. The result of the same exacting process that’s been perfected and bottled to create our Original Gin, proven to be the best London Dry Gin in the world. Buy yours here today

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