What is Navy Strength Gin?
The story behind what we know today as navy strength gin began during the first ‘gin boom’ in the 18th century.
The Royal Navy legislated that there had to be a certain amount of gin on each vessel while they were sailing on the high seas. Gin was required on board to help fight illness and diseases which were rife.
However, some of the officers were suspicious of the gin, especially as the quality varied so much from city to city and felt it had been overly watered down.
In order to test the gin was of an acceptable quality, it was tested by lighting a mixture of the spirit and gunpowder. If it burned with a clear flame this was ‘proof’ that the spirit was of sufficient standard (at least 114 proof or 57% ABV in today’s terms). Failure to light or a smoky flame were signs that the spirit was below the required strength.
Despite links to the 18th century, the term ‘navy strength gin’ is actually a marketing creation from the 1990s which was coined to help sell high strength spirits. All navy strength gins are bottled at a minimum of 57.1% ABV and are fantastic for cocktails as the gin characteristics can stand up to the other flavours.
As the number of distilleries and gins have grown in recent years so has the number of Scottish navy strength gins on the market. Below are some of our favourites.
Scottish Navy Strength Gins
Badachro 57° Storm Strength Gin
Bottle Size: 70 cl | Price: £45.00
Badachro Distillery's take on navy strength gin is a full flavoured, high strength version of Badachro Gin.
As the distillery sits close to the 57° north line of latitude in the North West Highlands of Scotland, it is no stranger ot the full force of West Highland storms. Therefore, it seemed only right to name their high-strength gin after the storms Badachro experiences.
We recommend Badachro's Storm Strength Gin sipped over ice or to make a classic G&T using a premium tonic water, lots of ice and a slice of lime. If available, a sprig of wild myrtle tops it off amazingly well.
Inshriach Navy Strength Speyside Gin
Bottle Size: 70 cl | Price: £45.00
Photo Credit: The Gin Cooperative
Inshriach Distillery is based in the Caingorms National Park and is situated in the 2015 Channel 4 Shed of the Year!
The navy strength gin is packed full of the same botanicals that are present in the Original Gin but are blended in different proportions and greater quantities. The main difference between the Original and the Navy Strength Gin is that there's an extra layer of spice in the navy strength expression.
All the botanicals that are hand picked within a few miles of the distillery and the season they're picked in will make subtle differences to the taste.
A match for even the most flavoursome of mixers. Best served over ice with the mixer of your choice.
The Wee Farm Distillery Farmer Strength Drovers Gin
Bottle Size: 50 cl | Price: £38.00
Distilled in a converted farm steading in South Lanarkshire, the Farmer Strength Drovers Gin is a nod to the spirit and resilience of the men and women who contribute to Scotland's world class food and drink industry.
It's a smooth, well-balanced, crisp gin with a blend of gentle spices, zesty orange and a hint of Scottish heather and has been developed to pair with Scotch beef.
We find it's best enjoyed over ice with your favourite tonic and a slice of grapefruit. Also great as a sipping gin over ice.
NB Navy Strength Gin
Bottle Size: 70 cl | Price: £35.50
NB’s Navy Strength Gin is the result of the same process used to create the award winning NB Gin.
8 traditional botanicals including juniper, coriander seeds, grains of paradise and lemon peel are combined with grain spirit to make the NB Navy gin. When tasting, the juniper gives way to coriander seed, cassi and a touch of citrus with a warming peppery bite.
Can be enjoyed neat, as a Martini or as a classic G&. We find that the gins pairs well with citrus garnishes such as orange or grapefruit zest.