Using a 70-year-old recipe, Colombo No. 7 Gin is a distinctive London Dry-style spirit that’s captivating palates across Asia.
When the Union Jack flew over much of Asia, the British decreed that London Dry gin could not be produced beyond the boundaries of the home country. It was believed that producers beyond that dominion lacked the understanding and finesse to create world-class gin. However, one distillery in Sri Lanka – then Ceylon – stood resolute.
Rocklands Distilleries, a producer of the island’s fiery arrack founded in 1924, fought for the right to produce London Dry-style gin and eventually the Ceylon Made Foreign Liquor regulation came into effect, allowing production and exportation of this precious spirit. Then war broke out, trade links were severed, and original gin recipes had to be supplemented with locally-sourced ingredients. The result was Colombo No. 7 Gin.
The new incarnation of Colombo No. 7, which was relaunched in 2015, flies in the face of modern craft gins, which wantonly stray from gin’s London Dry origins with the addition of imaginative and often unnecessary ingredients. In the uncertainty of post-war Sri Lanka, Colombo No. 7 Gin’s producers decided to move distillation to the UK and today, No. 7 remains a distinctly London Dry gin that pays tribute to its exotic island home.
Just seven simple spices and botanicals are used in its creation, including traditional staples like coriander seed, angelica and liquorice root, as well as Sri Lankan cinnamon, curry leaves, and ginger root.
Yet, despite the addition of exotic local flavours, Colombo Gin, which is handcrafted in small batches using copper pot stills, is a proudly juniper-forward spirit in the style that’s indulged the palates of the Empire for generations. With its absence of citrus, replaced with punchy curry leaves, the gin leans towards the traditional despite its youthfulness and boasts an earthiness, with touches of sweet, spicy cinnamon and the fragrant warmth of ginger that adds to a prolonged finish.
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