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FAQs about York Gin

What is gin?

Gin is a distilled spirit flavoured with the juniper berry and other natural herbs and spices. The English have been making gin for centuries. During the last few years, many new small and specialist distilleries such as York Gin have been established. These new distilleries (part of the ‘Second Gin Craze’ or ‘Ginaissance’) have significantly raised the standards of English gin.

How do you make gin?

We use the traditional method of vapour infusion in a copper still. Pure alcohol is heated in a copper still (essentially a very large kettle) to become a vapour. This vapour passes through a large basket of carefully chosen botanicals (herbs and spices). In the process, the alcohol takes on their flavours. It then condenses and is diluted with purified water to become the gin we drink. This method guarantees consistency of taste so you always know your next York Gin will be the same as the one you drank earlier today, last week or last year.

What is London Dry gin?

London Dry is a method of producing gin which stops the distiller from adding any flavours after the initial distillation.

What is Navy Strength gin?

‘Navy Strength’ has come to be recognised as a higher proof gin than a company’s standard gin. Five of our six gins are 42.5%ABV and the Navy Strength has a higher proof of 57%ABV. Despite the higher proof of York Gin Outlaw, it is remarkably smooth. This is because of the ‘double distillation’ technique we use to create it - the base alcohol in this case is actually from a previous distilling of London Dry. This gives it a richer and fuller flavour bolstered by the fact that less dilution takes place.

What is Old Tom gin?

Old Tom gin is a sweetened gin - originally created in the Victorian era (19th Century) as a way to disguise the - often questionable - quality of the drink. Today it is a far better drink - and a well- respected category of gin.

York Gin Old Tom is a classic Victorian-style gin - our collaboration with one of Yorkshire’s finest restaurants, the Michelin-starred Star Inn, Harome.

It is slightly sweeter than our original London Dry gin - but only slightly.

So dry gin drinkers can appreciate the Old Tom’s subtle extra layers of flavour resulting from the addition of a Yorkshire sugar syrup exclusively developed for this gin.

How many calories are in a gin and tonic?

There are around 98 calories in a measure of gin – similar to a medium-sized banana or apple. A York Gin and tonic is around 150 calories.

About York Gin

How alcoholic is York Gin?

York Gin’s spirits have an ABV of 42.5%, except for the over-proof York Gin Outlaw Navy strength which is a much stronger 57%ABV.

What are York Gin’s ingredients?

By law, gin must contain juniper and this must be the predominant flavour. Beyond that rule, gin makers can add a weird and wonderful range of herbs and spices (botanicals) and fruits to their recipes. York Gin London Dry and York Gin Outlaw contain the following botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Cinnamon, Orris root, Angelica, Cardamom, Black pepper, Lemon peel and Grains of paradise. All would have been available on the spice route in the 18th century. York Gin Old Tom has the following extra ingredients in its sugar syrup: White Alba Rose (the White Rose of Yorkshire), Bronze Fennel, Star Anise. and pink peppercorns (Baie rose de Bourbon).

How did you choose your botanicals?

The York Gin mission has always been to create gin that is as perfect as possible – and one which embodies the centuries of English gin-making traditions. So we use botanicals that would have been available during the first Gin Craze of the 18th century. And we have scoured the globe for the best botanicals we can find.

Why only nine botanicals? 

We realise that some gins have many more botanicals. Famously Monkey 47 has a very long list! Our mission has always been to create the best traditional gin we could using ingredients that would have been available during the first Gin Craze. The nine botanicals in York Gin are measured in order to create a perfectly balanced profile in which no one flavour overwhelms the others.

Is York Gin gluten free and/or vegan?

All our gins are gluten-free and vegan.

What’s so good about York Gin?

York Gin is made in small batches of just 300 litres using the traditional vapour infusion method. This ensures consistency in taste between batches of gin, so you can be 100% confident that your drink will always taste the same. And we put extra care into each part of the production process, especially with our insistence that only the gin of the highest quality (‘hearts’) makes it into your bottle. While our traditional and labour-intensive techniques mean a higher price, they are justified by the superior quality and consistency of our gins. They mean we get it 100% right, 100% of the time.

Why is York Gin so expensive?

We choose only the very best botanicals in the world. Whether that’s the most flavoursome and unctuous juniper berries from Macedonia, the best quality peppercorns from Sri Lanka or the freshest Yorkshire Rose leaves from our native county in the north of England. We also distil in small batches to ensure the highest standards of distilling and only the most perfect ‘cuts’ of each distillation (the ‘hearts’) make it into the final bottles that hit the shelves.

We also pay our staff above the living wage, we power our distillery and shop with more expensive green energy and we drive more expensive but more sustainable electric vehicles. In addition, as a relatively tiny company, we cannot take advantage of economies of scale enjoyed by larger operations.

Why should I buy York Gin?

Quite simply, for their quality. Don’t take our word for it. The most prestigious international spirits competitions repeatedly give us top marks and gold medals.

What do experts think of York Gin?

Susy Atkins, The Daily Telegraph drinks columnist

“Absolutely love York Gin‘s Old Tom. A slightly sweeter style with a richer texture, an Old Tom is a winter sipping gin in my book, and this one is a beaut.”

Gin Foundry

“One of the most delicious Old Toms we’ve had the good fortune to try.”

London Gin Club

“This is a most satisfying dry gin – an excellent sipping gin, easy drinking on ice it also makes a great gin and tonic.”

Has York Gin won any awards?

The York Gin Company sold its first bottle of gin on 1 March 2018. Since then we have won many awards, including:


New York International Spirits Competition: York Gin London Dry (Gold), York Gin Old Tom (Gold)

World Gin Awards: York Gin Old Tom (Best English Old Tom)


International Wine & Spirit Competition: York Gin Old Tom (Gold Outstanding)

San Francisco World Spirits Competition: York Gin Outlaw (Double Gold)

Spirits Business Gin Masters: York Gin Old Tom (Gold)

Great Taste Awards: York Gin London Dry (2 stars); York Gin Roman Fruit (1 star)

People’s Gin Awards 2019: Brand award (Gold)

Garbutt & Elliott Yorkshire Food & Drink Awards 2019: Best Yorkshire Brand

Visit York Tourism Awards 2019: Tourism supplier of the year

Serving York Gin

Which tonic or mixer do you suggest? Or can you drink York Gin neat?

We suggest using a premium light tonic. Don’t spoil a great gin with a poor tonic – and don’t make the tonic too sweet! If you don’t like tonic, we recommend either drinking all our gins neat over ice, or with lemonade or another premium mixer.

Which cocktails do you recommend with each of your gins?

Firstly, we don’t recommend wasting York Gin on cocktails so highly sweetened or flavoured that the gin is overwhelmed. We just don’t want you to waste your time and money. Secondly, given our motto is ‘History in the tasting’ we recommend some historic cocktails that have stood the test of time.


60ml York Gin London Dry
1 Tsp Dry Vermouth


Add the gin, dry vermouth and some ice in a cocktail shaker. Either shake or stir the ingredients. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve with an olive on a cocktail stick.


50ml York Gin London Dry
30-50ml Rose’s Lime Cordial
Dash of soda water (optional)
Fresh lime garnish


Put all the ingredients (except the garnish) into a long glass over ice, stir well.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh lime.


20ml York Gin Outlaw
20ml Sweet Vermouth - Carpano Antica, Cinzano Rosso or Punt e Mes
20ml Campari
Lots of ice
Garnish: Fresh orange peel


Pour York Gin Outlaw, Campari and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass, add the ice and give it a good stir until it's chilled. 

Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.

Tom Collins:

50ml York Gin Old Tom
25ml lemon juice
25ml sugar syrup
125ml chilled soda water
Garnish: Slice of lemon


Build the drink over lots of ice in a Collins or a hi-ball glass, stir and add a slice of lemon at the end.

Susy Atkins Martinez:

40ml York Gin Old Tom
40ml sweet red vermouth
10ml orange liqueur (eg Cointreau)
Dash of orange bitters (optional)
Ice cubes
Garnish: Twist of lemon juice


Stir all the liquid ingredients over ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a thin, twisted strip of lemon zest.

What is the best way to serve a York Gin & tonic?

Use a good quality glass. We suggest a Copa (balloon) glass - this allows the aromas a greater opportunity to emerge and you can fit more ice cubes - these keep your G&T chilled for longer. And the more ice you have, the slower it melts. So don’t worry about the risk of diluting your drink. 

Don’t stint on the gin!

Make sure you use a light quality tonic that is not overly sweetened or flavoured - don’t overwhelm your gin with quinine or sugar!

Do you recommend drinking York Gin neat?

We particularly recommend drinking York Gin Outlaw neat over ice. We have converted countless whisky drinkers this way.

About York

Why is York famous?

There are many reasons for York’s international fame and popularity. (York is the second most-visited English city after London – 200 miles from the capital; less than two hours on the train.)

The Romans settled here in 71AD, calling the place Eboracum. Constantine the Great was declared Emperor in 306AD. The Vikings also settled in York – now called Jorvik - and their settlement has been extensively studied by archaeologists. York is also the seat of the second most senior Church of England archbishop and the site of an extraordinary gothic Cathedral. It is also famous for railways (being a vital part of the Victorian system), chocolate-making with Rowntrees and Terrys born in the city. It has a famous racecourse. And it the most haunted city in Europe with sightings of hundreds of ghosts and ghouls. Increasingly, York is becoming a centre of excellence for food and drink with Michelin-starred restaurateurs setting up in the city, and award-winning breweries and distilleries appearing in the area. York Gin is still the city’s only gin distillery.

What is York’s food and drink history?

While we are the first official gin distiller in the history of our city, the fact that York contains over 365 pubs tells you something about the taste for alcohol among the locals. The Assize of Ale (an annual pub crawl) has 13th century roots when the quality of the beer was regulated. And York and the surrounding area have several successful breweries. In addition, York has been manufacturing chocolate for centuries. Rowntrees and Terrys both started their businesses in the city. York still manufactures six million Kit Kats each day at the city’s Nestle factory.

What gin making traditions does York have?

The murky and mysterious history of gin making in the UK means that only patchy records of gin making exist from its earliest days. And these are often based on criminal prosecutions of poisonings. York Gin is the city’s first official gin distillery – but as far as unofficial distilleries are concerned, that’s a question that history will probably never reveal.


What are your environmental credentials?

We make our deliveries in the UK in electric vehicles.
We use only green energy at both our distillery and our shop.
All our products and packaging are 100% plastic free.
We encourage customers to re-use their old bottles.
We re-use and recycle everything we possibly can.
We work with companies that re-use discarded wood for our shop fittings and gifts.

We are now working hard on our 2020 Carbon Neutral Plan. This will be attained by a mix of composting our botanicals, recycling and re-using even more materials, a bottle refill & re-use scheme, tree planting initiatives, support for litter picking projects and an environmental audit of all our suppliers. 

What are you doing to warn people of the dangers of drinking?

We ensure that we do not in any way, shape or form glorify excessive drinking of alcohol. All our gins are ultra-premium in quality - and our consistent message is to choose quality over quantity in everyone’s drinking. The price points of our gins ensure that they are out of reach of the demographic most likely to abuse spirits.

Who runs the York Gin Company?

We have four directors in the UK and a director of the US operation.

Pete McNichol runs the sales and distribution operation. A former landlord of The Swan pub, Pete brings extensive experience of the licensed trade. Pete is a skilled and experienced distiller – and invented our Double Gold winning York Gin Outlaw.

Emma Godivala runs our retail, brand and marketing operations. She created the York Gin brand from scratch using her design knowledge and years of band experience in the corporate world. Her academic background includes a BA and MA from Oxford University.

Harry Cooke is Head of Operations and Master Distiller - with a science degree from Newcastle University and a lifelong obsession with flavours, he is responsible for the consistent superb quality of all our gins - and the experimenter-in-chief for our future products.

Paul Crossman is the current landlord of The Swan pub and two other award-winning York pubs. He deals with HR and acts as a consultant to the management team.

We also have a staff of around 40 people to run the distillery and our 16th century shop in the historic centre of York.

What does the logo mean and what font do you use?

York Gin celebrates the city’s long history and association with cats on its label - with a hand-drawn picture of the walls and a black cat. The iconic font is a revival of 17th Century ‘Fell Fonts’ - widely used in print at the time of the 18th Century Gin Craze. The cat has been associated with gin for centuries. And York has its own cat history – the Cat Trail includes over 20 cat figures attached to the walls of buildings around the city. Some say the original cat statues may have appeared as a way of frighten away rats and mice or evil spirits. Our York Gin cat is inspired by a cat that appeared in a 17th century woodcut of the Bottesford Witches, with their familiar, a cat named 'Rutterkin' meaning 'a swaggering gallant'. The castle and walls are symbols of York’s amazing and long history – and just how much of that history remains intact.