Arguably England’s best gin, Plymouth Gin has a storied history dating back to the 1790s.
Produced at the oldest known working English distillery, Plymouth Gin is known for a blend of a rather subdued juniper base and telltale botanicals - including coriander, orange, lemon, green cardamom, angelica root and orris root. The mix results in a well-balanced and smooth finish, particularly when making martinis.
The gin is also the preferred choice of the British navy. The Plymouth distillery’s proximity to the Royal William Victualling Yard (also in Plymouth) made it an ideal location for supplying naval officers with gin.
The gin carries the telltale design of the Mayflower, based upon the fact that when the Pilgrims set out to what is now the USA, bad weather and ship damage forced them into Plymouth harbor for shelter and essential repairs.
Common Plymouth Gin Price Guide
Plymouth Gin Original
$26.99 - $34.99
Plymouth Gin Navy Strength
$34.99 - $37.99
Plymouth Gin Sloe gin
$36.99 - $38.99
Although Plymouth Gin prices are on the high side, there is a value for money facet that comes with downing a glass or two. The angelica root + juniper nose is unique to the brand, with a soft, oily, gently warming palate and a soft citrus, earthy finish.
Plymouth Gin Original (750ml, $26.99 - $34.99)
Even at base version, the spirit is considered as a good starting point for a dry martini or a gin-and-tonic. It also has the softness and earthy finish needed to make a Ramos Gin Fizz or any lime-oriented cocktail.
Plymouth Navy Strength (750ml, $34.99 - $37.99)
You know that a product is milspec (military specification) due to an acknowledged perception strength, and it’s evident in reviews of this lauded gin. You’re a brave soul if you drink this neat, but if you want your Plymouth Navy Strength as a social cocktail, it’s better when diluted with a little water.
Plymouth Sloe Gin (750ml, $36.99 - $38.99)
This sloe berry-oriented gin is best taken during winter/very cold days, either with champagne or neat over ice - a practice made popular during the Queen Victoria era. There’s a dint of almonds in the taste, and the minimal burn thru your gullet means that the gin is great as a pair for ice cream or cheese.
Plymouth Gin VS Other Alternative Gins
Seagram’s Gin has a very forward juniper taste that reflects its price point. A long burn, ungainly burn proves ineffective when compared to Plymouth’s superb balance smoothness. Of course, the price between the two is night and day and that is reflected in their palate and nose.
One would expect Bombay Sapphire to taste a lot worse than Plymouth, but it actually holds its own. We would describe Bombay Sapphire as Plymouth gin’s baby brother, not as smooth but brings a complexity that should be acceptable enough to new gin drinkers and afficionados.
Hendrick’s is a ubiquitous gin seen in many bars and airport shops. While it has a price point similar to Plymouth, Plymouth stands head and shoulders clear of Hendrick’s. Not as smooth, complex, nor balanced, we feel that Hendrick’s is overrated when compared to Plymouth. Plymouth’s cocktails have a smoothness unmatched by Hendrick’s
Tanqueray No Ten’s smoothness rivals that of Plymouth but without the complex palate of Plymouth. Don’t get us wrong, Tanqueray No Ten is a wonderful gin that deserves its place on many shelves in bars and home drinkers. We just think that Plymouth edges it out, albeit slightly, on the flavor profile with Plymouth’s recessed juniper taste mixed angelica root.
What to mix with Plymouth Gin
We find that most Plymouth gins are meant to be taken neat, save for the Navy Strength version.
That said, even the strongest variant of Plymouth gins can be used as a foundation for a social mixer cocktail. For this recipe, we go with the Negroni, a drink that has seen a thousand or more riffs due to a one-to-one-to-one recipe of gin, Campari and vermouth.
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.
Garnish with an orange peel.