Happy 200th birthday, Charles Tanqueray!

Today is a day of thanksgiving; we have a fair bit for which to be thankful. To wit … some really good gin.

Yes, Mr. Tanqueray was a real person, not just a brand name, and he was born 200 years ago today. A rather distinguished-looking bloke, pictured below (click to enlarge), with quite an impressive beard and an even more impressive ability to make gin. Here’s a bit about his life, courtesy of the Tanqueray Gin folks:

Charles Tanqueray was born in March of 1810 in England. charlestanqueray2His father, grandfather and great uncle all made their living as clergymen, but Charles, aware from the outset that he wanted a different life, broke with tradition. He was passionate about crafting the finest gin – the spirit of his time – and in 1830 he followed his own path to set up the Vine Street Distillery in Bloomsbury, London. He spent many years testing the finest botanicals from around the world. After extensive trials, he crafted a wonderfully balanced recipe that combined a rich, full flavor with a bold, invigorating taste and Tanqueray gin was born.

It’s a gorgeous gin, very juniper-forward with other botanicals including coriander and angelica root. The actual recipe and even the complete list of botanicals is a closely guarded secret, though; only three master distillers know how to make Tanqueray gin. I think of it as a gin-lover’s gin, not necessarily one I’d serve to a new gin drinker or someone I was trying to convert from The Dark Side being a vodka drinker, but once you’re there … this one’s quite robust.

Celebrate the day today with a Tanqueray Gin and Tonic in the traditional method: Squeeze a wedge of lime into the bottom of a tall glass, fill 2/3 with ice, add 1-1/2 ounces gin and about four ounces of good tonic water (Fever Tree or Stirrings would be our recommendations), stir for a moment until the drink is chilled, rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and garnish wtih the lime wedge.

Or you can do the New Orleans-styled version we like — peel a lime and muddle half the peel with the gin in the bottom of the glass to release the oils. Let it sit a minute or two. Add ice and tonic and 3-4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, stir, rub the glass rim with more lime peel to get some lime oil going, and garnish with a lime wedge for optional squeezing.

Perhaps a Tanqueray Martini for the bold gin-lover (1:1 with Noilly Prat or Dolin dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters, if you please), or a Last Word for some wonderful citrusy herbaceousness.

To a fellow Charles T. I say happy birthday, sir! You don’t look a day over 180.


2 Responses to “Happy 200th birthday, Charles Tanqueray!”

  1. Tweets that mention Looka!» Blog Archive » Happy 200th birthday, Charles Tanqueray! -- Topsy.com said:

    Mar 28, 10 at 8:32 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luke Johnson, Chuck T.. Chuck T. said: New Looka! post: Happy 200th birthday, Charles Tanqueray! http://bit.ly/bWkhEm [...]

  2. growler said:

    Mar 28, 10 at 2:02 pm

    Chuck, have you ever tried Boodles? I much prefer it to Tanqueray.