A lot has been said about Tanqueray No. TEN gin since it took the drinks market by storm in 2000. Some believe it’s named after the number of botanicals in its secret recipe. Others contend that it’s an ode to the metric system, or a perfect rating (this option is persuasive). The “ten,” however, is actually owed to the mighty little piece of machinery that produced the first batch of this iconic gin.
Twenty-two years back, amid the frenzy of Y2K and formative years of the latest cocktail revolution, Tanqueray No. TEN was born. It was a different kind of gin, not just because the flagship batch dripped out of the famed Tiny Ten copper still in Edinburgh, but because of how it was and continues to be made. This is a living gin with a beating citrus heart, crafted with a fresh bill of fruit in its botanical mix, and with a distillate cut in a way that only keeps the best, most radiant liquid in the process.
The world has long known of and appreciated gin, as evidenced in many volumes of classic mixology books. However, the time had come for a different flavor profile, a different feel — less woodsy, more fruit, with a silky mouthfeel, and above all, freshness. No. TEN would go on to help carry the flame of the modern mixed drink movement, not only bringing gin back to the foreground, but affording it a nimbleness that would allow it to defy its oft-typecast role behind the bar.
Thanks to a balanced flavor profile that marries floral and herbal, this gin was engineered to be the core of a perfect Martini. TEN has the backbone to make sure one of the most iconic cocktails of all time stays that way. But with so many layers, it’s well suited for other cocktails — bolder cocktails like the Negroni. It’s electrified by the addition of grapefruit and orange, which lift the spirit from its familiar botanical makeup — based on juniper along with chamomile, coriander, licorice, and more — to a whole different level. The texture is downright silky and finishes with subtle hints of white pepper and bergamot. It’s no surprise that it’s the only gin to be placed in the San Francisco Spirits Hall of Fame.
How exactly is it made? We couldn’t possibly give away the ending (we really can’t; the recipe is tucked away under three locks, as the legend goes). Yet, there are maneuvers along the way that keep TEN in an echelon all its own. Many gins, for example, are made with dried citrus peel. Not so here, as TEN depends on fresh and whole lime, grapefruit, and orange in the distillation process to really make it sing.
Think of this gin as a tip of the hat to Charles Tanqueray, founder of the nearly two-century-old brand. It honors the man’s perfectionism, which is written all over his recipes and resulting work. Tanqueray didn’t just make spirits worth drinking, he made spirits worth savoring. TEN is one the late founder would be most proud of.
There’s hardly a better time for TEN’s citric sizzle and garden-fresh flavors than spring and summer. This gin is a reflection of this revitalizing time of year, matching the floral fireworks of spring, and giving you the refreshing qualities you long for come summer.
It’s a fitting package design detail that this gin comes in a lime green bottle reminiscent of a cocktail shaker. This verdant gin defies its subdued clear color, exhibiting an entire spectrum of alluring aromatics and flavors. It’s enjoyable on its own but also shaken with other ingredients, as the bottle shape suggests, and fashioned into any number of fantastic cocktails.
This spring and summer, take your cocktail game to TEN. If you need some inspiration to jumpstart the process, start with the recipes below.
As you might expect, a great gin Martini relies heavily on the gin. This version is a crown jewel in cocktail land, reinvigorated with TEN’s signature zesty energy. Consider making alterations by subbing in different versions of your favorite dry vermouth.
- 1 ½ ounces Tanqueray TEN
- ⅓ ounce dry vermouth
- Garnish: pink grapefruit peel
- Add gin and vermouth to a shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a twist of grapefruit.
Tom Collins Twist
Take your Collins to the tropics with this sunny riff. It banks on the drink’s customary call for fresh lime and soda and adds an aromatic addition of pineapple, taking the drink straight to a faraway island. If you thought only rum could offer such a vacation in a glass, think again.
- 1 ½ ounces Tanqueray TEN
- 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice
- ½ ounce lime juice
- Soda water
- Garnish: shiso leaf
- Add all ingredients and ice to a shaker.
- Shake and double-strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.
- Top with soda and garnish with a shiso leaf.
When summer heat creeps in, the antidote is an ultra-refreshing cooler. This drink takes advantage of the gin’s herbal side, freshening it up with some cucumber. The infusion takes a little time but you’ll be very pleased with the results. You can experiment a bit with your herb selection, perhaps adding a bit of dried lavender, rosemary, and/or thyme.
- 1 ½ ounces Tanqueray TEN
- 2 cucumber sticks
- 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
- Tonic water
- Half a lime
- Muddle coriander and cucumber in a small bowl.
- Pour in gin and juice of half a lime into the bowl and let the mixture infuse in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Add ice to a Collins glass and strain infused gin over ice.
- Top with tonic and garnish with a slice of lime.
This article is sponsored by Tanqueray.