Beefeater 24 — the new super-premium gin by the venerable Beefeater brand — made a splashy debut on Tuesday night at Brassaii restaurant in Toronto. On hand for the festivities and to welcome the 600 or so guests, over the course of the evening was Desmond Payne, master distiller of Beefeater Gin, and Dan Warner, Beefeater’s international brand ambassador/top mixologist.
What was his inspiration for the new recipe? Tea.
Beefeater creator James Burrough was the son of a tea merchant who was employed by ‘Royal appointment’ to Queen Victoria. Building on this knowledge, Payne created Beefeater 24, which takes its distinct flavours and aromas from 12 natural botanicals, including a unique blend of Chinese green and rare Japanese Sencha teas. It is dubbed 24, since the gin is produced using a 24-hour steeping process.
“I thought tea would add a lot to the flavour of the gin and still keep it in balance,” Payne said, noting that he couldn’t stray too far from the original recipe, which showcases botanical flavours and classic citrus notes. The result is a perfectly balanced gin that imparts complex flavours — ideal for mixing the latest trendy cocktail.
“Right now in London, gin cocktails mixed with cool tea are very popular,” said Warner, who has travelled the world mixing drinks but knows that London is usually the epicenter of most cocktail trends. “A big thing is to mix up a bowl of punch and then bring it to the table with some ice, instead of traditional bottle service. Some places will even bring out cocktails that are mixed into large teapots.”
Beefeater 24 hit select international markets in 2009, and started rolling out in Canada in late 2009, in anticipation of this month’s official launch and master distiller visit. A 750-millilitre bottle of Beefeater 24 Super Premium Gin retails for $39.99 at the LCBO.
The 24th Symphony
While in Toronto, both Payne and Warner consulted with top Canadian mixologist and molecular drinks guru, Frankie Solarik of Barchef, to create The 24th Symphony, a signature cocktail.
Here’s how to mix The 24th Symphony:
2 oz. Beefeater 24 gin
Chill one classic cocktail glass with ice and water. In a second glass, build drink with ice, Beefeater 24, rosemary syrup, dill bitters and vanilla cognac. Stir for 15 seconds. Discard ice and water in chilled cocktail glass, rinse with chartreuse, spritz with orange blossom water and strain mixture into cocktail glass. No garnish is required.