We were a little wary when Beefeater, which has basically been using the same recipe since the 1860s, recently launched a new premium gin. Maybe it’s because we’ve been burned by brand extensions before (anyone remember Crystal Pepsi?).
But out of duty, we extensively taste-tested the new Beefeater 24 ($29) and can assure you there’s nothing to fear. The gin—flavored with both traditional botanicals, like juniper berries and orris root, and untraditional botanicals, like Chinese green tea and grapefruit—works remarkably well in cocktails.
You can tell that the original Beefeater (still, thankfully, being made) and 24 are related, but the new spirit has less juniper flavor (there are more pronounced notes of citrus and tea) and isn’t as dry. Master Distiller Desmond Payne, who has been making gin for more than four decades, spent a year and a half creating 24’s recipe and was inspired by records from the company’s founder, James Burrough.
Unfortunately, the supply is limited and the brand is slowly rolling the spirit out across the country. Currently available in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, it will be released in Las Vegas and Chicago this spring. The only thing that worries us now is that there won’t be enough to go around.
Tasting Notes: A smooth gin with subtle notes of juniper and pronounced notes of citrus and tea.