We’re four days into December but this Advent dram is a 10/10. It’s Tanqueray No. Ten!

I think lots of people have a favourite little Christmas treat, don’t they? Whether it’s mince pies, maybe a helping of Christmas pudding, or a responsible amount of mulled wine. None of those, however, are my Christmassy indulgence. No, for me, nothing beats the seasonal joy of a nice dram. I get the feeling that you may be of the same mind. Seeing as you’re here and all.

Those who are opening window number four of their Premium Gin Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram have got a real classic of the genre to enjoy today: Tanqueray No. Ten.

From Tiny Ten to the bartender’s favourite.

Since 2000, No. Ten has been serving gin drinkers, bartenders, and those who need a Christmas gift and like the bold green bottle dutifully. But why the name No. Ten? Well, the distillery has a whole bunch of stills it makes gin in but the first distillation of this particular expression takes place in still number 10, aka ‘Tiny Ten’.

This produces what Tanqueray describes as the ‘citrus heart’ of No. Ten: wheat grain-neutral spirit distilled with fresh grapefruit, fresh hand-chopped Florida oranges, and Mexican limes. A vibrant, citrusy character is thought to be attained by this unusual use of fresh fruit rather than dried peels. 

The larger vintage ‘Old Tom’ No. 4 still takes care of the next distillation, charging the citrus heart with wheat neutral spirit as well as juniper (a hefty amount we understand), coriander, angelica, and liquorice (the big four of London dry gin, at least according to Tanqueray). There’s also camomile flowers and quartered fresh limes. Tanqueray is very strict with its cuts, with only 60% making it. That means 40% of heads and tails are lost, a huge increase on the industry standard of 10%, which is done carefully to preserve that intense, fresh citrus character. 

This leaves Tanqueray with a bold, flavourful, and unique gin that has been a smash hit for the brand. It’s one I’ll always have on my back bar, a bartender’s secret gin weapon that’s incredibly versatile but always retains its presence in cocktails. Personally, I’d give that character as much room to shine as possible. A G&T is great for that, as is a very classic-style Martini. There’s a recipe for the latter below.

Tanqueray No. Ten

Martini, anyone?

Tasting note for Tanqueray No. Ten

Nose: Perfumed, aromatic nose with notes of tangy grapefruit zest, creamy custard and clean juniper.

Palate: A mix of incredibly clean, spicy juniper, hints of Earl Grey tea and cardamom. Very citrus-rich.

Finish: Long, zesty finish.

How to make a Martini

60ml Tanqueray No. Ten
10ml Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Dry

Fill your decanter with lots of ice, pour in the chilled gin and vermouth, and stir vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and serve with a twist of lemon and, what the hell, two almond-stuffed olives on a cocktail stick

There’s more Advent fun to come tomorrow. Cheers!