For something so ubiquitous it seems somehow odd to feel the need to champion Gordon's gin — so successful and bland it has become. Gordon’s however was both well-documented as being Ernest Hemingway’s favourite gin and the very specific gin mentioned in James Bond’s recipe for the Vesper cocktail in Casino Royale. Despite its obvious past success — of which these are the mere tip of the iceberg — how the mighty have fallen. Gordon’s today is a paler, and literally weaker, imitation of the giant it once was. No great bartender worth his Amalfi lemons would recommend its inclusion in an eponymous cocktail less risking insulting the named party; no stiff-drinking truth-sayer name it as there favourite gin lest provide a tonic to their hard reputation. In 1992 Diageo, Gordon’s owners reduced the alcohol content of Gordon’s to 37.5% (apparently as a means of reducing excise duty). Quite bizarrely the extra monies generated were apparently spent on marketing instead. Such it was that a brand with a such a rich heritage of stars on which to rely for sales, for a time ended up being pedalled by the likes of Gordon “F***ing” Ramsey. Don’t get me wrong I actually like Gordon—he’s genuinely a great chef from personal dining experience, but compared to Ernest Hemingway his reputation and lasting legacy is as weak as a gin and tonic* to the man who asked for an Alessandro Palazzi Martini. In an age when every new gin brand is claiming authenticity it genuinely pains me therefore to see the greatest of them all pedalling and putting out less than their own brand identity deserves. Diageo this is therefore a plea —#makegordonsgreatagain
If you want to try good Gordon’s I suggest you shop at the airport and buy the 47.3% version instead (assuming you can get it—it’s not as prevalent as it once was and the wonderful yellow label that I used to be such a fan of has changed too.)
*On the subject of G&T’s don’t get me started on fancy tonics too. After several years of populist enjoyment I’ve come to my senses and realised that when I ask for a gin and tonic I really want a Schweppes and the sensation of proper bubbles too—not the latest nouvelle cuisine in tonic form.