As with all loyalists, gin drinkers take their bottle of choice seriously. And among the myriad styles and botanical flavor profiles on the market, one bottle, Hendrick’s Gin, inspires considerable devotion. Marketing itself as “a gin made oddly,” Hendrick’s launched in southwestern Scotland in 1999 and rapidly became a household name stateside. Today, the gin needs no introduction. Here are 10 things you might not know about this curious brand.
It takes two different stills to give Hendrick’s its characteristic flavor.
Hendrick’s uses two stills to make its gin. The first is a traditional copper pot still that can be found at many distilleries. The second is a Carter-Head-style still, which uses a copper basket to hold botanicals during distillation.
It’s produced liter by loving liter.
Hendrick’s master distiller, Lesley Gracie, makes only 500 liters at a time to control production and ensure each bottle is up to par.
‘Cukes and flowers make the gin go ‘round.
Hendrick’s unique taste comes from its use of roses and cucumbers along with 11 other botanicals, including juniper, coriander, orange, lemon, angelic, orris root, cubeb berries, caraway seeds, chamomile, elderflower, and yarrow.
The rose and cucumber are quintessentially British.
Hendrick’s wanted to make a gin that encapsulated U.K. identity, so it looked to the British garden for inspiration. What arose was an image of cucumber sandwiches on the lawn within a rose garden.
The bottle is inspired by Victorian-era apothecaries.
The dark glass bottle pulls from the aesthetic of Victorian apothecaries, which used to use dark glass to store precious liquids that could be damaged by sunlight.
The brand was named by the oldest lady in Scotland at the time.
Lesley Gracie created the recipe, but it was the oldest member of the William Grant family, Janet Sheed Roberts, who named the gin after an expert family gardener named Hendrick. She was 110 when she died in 2012, which made her the oldest woman in Scotland.
Hendrick’s is made by the same family that makes leading Scotch whisky.
William Grant & Sons makes Hendrick’s, but is perhaps more famous for its single malt Scotch whiskies Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch, Drambuie, and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.
A young company with an old still.
The Bennet Still that Hendrick’s uses for its gin was made in 1860 in London — a full 139 years before Hendrick’s started.
Hendrick’s distiller has a flavorful past full of botanical experiments.
Lesley Gracie, as the story goes, was interested in botanical flavors from the age of 4. At her young age, she brewed up teas from various plants and twigs and served the concoction to her family.
From 1988 to 1999, the recipe was perfected.
Charles Gordon, who owned the stills, brought Lesley Gracie on to experiment with the stills in 1988. It wasn’t until 1999 that the cucumber and rose infusion clicked and Hendrick’s Gin was born.