Gin and Tonic made with Gilbey's Gin

Gordon’s vs. Beefeater & Gilbey’s vs. Gordon’s Gin

If you came to this post looking for information on Gordon’s vs Beefeater, then you are in the right place. Keep reading to find out more!

Gordon’s vs Beefeater

Beefeater Gin

Beefeater is a brand of gin owned by Pernod Ricard and bottled and distributed in the United Kingdom, by the company of James Burrough.

Gordons vs Beefeater: Beefeater gin

It is 47% alcohol by volume (94 proof) in the US and 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) elsewhere in the world (including the UK).

The gin’s name refers to the Yeomen Warders, commonly known as the Beefeaters, who are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London.

Gordons vs Beefeater: Yeomen guards london
Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, popularly known as the Beefeaters

According to the Beefeater website, Beefeater London Dry Gin has “big juniper character and strong citrus notes”. It contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges, and lemon peel.

The makers of Beefeater recommend that it be drunk in a gin and tonic made with one part Beefeater gin and 2 parts tonic, along with a wheel of lemon and one of orange.

Gordon’s vs Beefeater: What is Gordon’s Gin?

Gordon’s gin is the world’s number one best-selling (and my favorite) gin. It has been made to the same recipe since the late 18 th century.

Gordon’s gin is the only gin to display the royal coat of arms on its bottle, by appointment of Her Majesty the Queen of England.

Tasting Notes
Nose: Fresh, with juniper and citrus
Palate: Dry and fresh, with juniper and citrus
Finish: Short and light, with juniper and citrus

The makers of Gordon’s gin recommend that it be drunk in a gin and tonic, served with a wedge of lime—first squeezed into the cocktail and then dropped in.

My Personal Take on Gordon’s vs Beefeater

If you ask me which gin I would like in a gin & tonic, my default response would be Gordon’s gin.

If that were not an option, I would then request for Hendrick’s, especially if I could have cucumber in my G & T.

Hendrick's Gin and Tonic with Cucumber

Although I do find Beefeater an aromatic gin, at 47% alcohol by volume, it is a bit too strong for me.

That 7% difference between Beefeater and Gordon’s is not only one I can taste but also one I can feel quickly, even after one drink, so I definitely prefer Gordon’s vs Beefeater.

Readers Weigh in on Gordon’s vs Beefeater

Matthew D. Erulkar, a reader, had this to say about the two gins:

I have drunk Gordons and found it tasting either oily or like paint thinner. Gilbey’s really does not have a pronounced character of any sort, but I prefer that to the citric tones of Beefeaters.

Gordon's vs Beefeater: Gins on a shelf

VaSlim, another reader, had this to say:

Hey, without question; different gins for the two very…different drinks……….

1. Gilbey’s for a martini if you can’t afford Beefeater,

2. Burnett’s for a gin & tonic if you can’t afford Tanqueray.

But Gordon’s is one gin that can do both!!! Besides, if it was good enough for 007 (although it was 94 proof in the day vs. the present 80), surely it is good enough for us mere mortals!!!

Gordon’s vs Bombay Sapphire

Personally, I have not had good experiences with Bombay Sapphire. I find it bitter, bitter, bitter.

Bombay Sapphire is the one gin that I generally don’t drink.

In my experience, it’s barely palatable. Needless to say, I much prefer Gordon’s over Bombay Sapphire. How about you?

Gilbey’s Gin

Gilbeys’s Gin is a classic juniper-led London Dry Gin from Gilbey’s.

The brand was founded in London in 1857 by brothers Walter and Albert Gilbey in the basement of a retail shop on Oxford Street.

Gordons vs Beefeater: a bottle of Gilbey's Gin

Producer’s Note
Color: Clear
Aroma: Light, floral juniper base with hints of sweet orange
Taste: Clean, light and dry
Finish: Intense but smooth; ideal for the classic martini

And now, on to the original reason I wrote this post…

In my early twenties, my drink of choice was a gin and tonic. I loved gin and tonics because they were so refreshing.

Gin and tonic garnished with lemon

Poured over a lot of ice, a cool gin and tonic went down smooth with just the right amount of fizz and caused me little trouble the following morning, what with gin being a white spirit (as they say: the darker the spirit, the worse the hangover).

Whenever I would order a gin and tonic in Nairobi, though, I would often get asked a question that I was rarely clear how to answer.

The question was: “What gin would you like, Gilbey’s or Gordon’s?”.

Frankly, I thought all gins were essentially the same, and since Gilbey’s Gin was usually less expensive, that is what I would choose…until one fateful afternoon in Arusha.

READ ALSO: Tanzania Konyagi vs. Uganda Waragi

Mount Meru, Arusha
Mount Meru, Arusha

A Delightful Gin & Tonic in Arusha

On a beautiful sunny Sunday, several years ago, I found myself traveling from Moshi to Nairobi, via Arusha, where I had a one-hour layover before changing shuttles.

This was not a problem for me because this layover was at Arusha‘s Impala Hotel, where I absolutely love hanging out on the outdoor terrace.

I love the warm midday sun on this terrace, with the beautiful blue of the swimming pool not far away.

The people on the terrace always seem particularly jovial, possibly because the majority of them are on holiday.

Swimming pool at the Impala Hotel, Arusha
Swimming pool at the Impala Hotel, Arusha

Whatever the case, this joyful mood is always contagious for me. Being at The Impala Hotel terrace instantly puts me in a happy mood.

And so, on that beautiful, sunny Sunday as I sat on the terrace waiting for my shuttle’s departure, I ordered a drink—a gin and tonic to be precise.

When my drink finally arrived, I took a sip while letting the pleasure of my surroundings soak in.

Wow! My drink tasted unusually good.

I sipped and sipped and sipped, thinking that maybe, my drink tasted so good because I was in such a happy place.

But no, after a while, I had to concede: this gin and tonic was special.

Gordon's Gin and Tonic with a Twist of Lime

Not one to leave a mystery unexplored, I decided to find out more from the bartender.

Inquiring About My Gin and Tonic

As I got up to order another gin and tonic (you know I had to! 🙂 ), I asked my bartender what he had used to make my drink.

He seemed a bit confused by my question and told me that he had simply given me a double Gordon’s Gin as well as the tonic water which had come in a bottle, so I could mix my drink myself.

The difference, I concluded, must have come from using Gordon’s Gin instead of Gilbey’s Gin.

Testing My Hypothesis

When I finally got to Nairobi, I put my hypothesis to the test.

When next asked what gin I wanted when ordering a gin and tonic, I alternated between choosing Gilbey’s Gin and Gordon’s Gin.

Whenever I ordered Gilbey’s Gin, I got the same gin and tonic that I had become accustomed to prior to my experiment.

Gilbey's Gin and Tonic

Whenever I ordered Gordon’s Gin, my drink tasted as superb as it did that afternoon in Arusha.

I quickly became a convert.

For me, if you ask me whether I prefer Gilbey’s Gin or Gordon’s Gin, my answer is clear: it’s definitely Gordon’s Gin.

I am not sure what makes Gordon’s Gin a tastier gin—I am not a connoisseur of gin like that—but in laywoman’s terms, there’s just something more aromatic about Gordon’s Gin.

I like to say it has a “rounder” taste perhaps by which I mean it has a more complex, symphony of flavors (as opposed to being flat and one-dimensional), but that’s just me.

After all, taste is a highly personal thing.

Now Your Turn: Do You Prefer Gilbey’s Gin or Gordon’s Gin?

If asked Gilbey’s Gin or Gordon’s Gin, what is your response, and why? Please let me know in a comment below.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Also, please weigh in on the Gordon’s vs Beefeater debate. I look forward to reading your responses.

Until the next time,

Gordon’s vs Tanqueray

Gordon’s and Tanqueray are both produced by the same company, Diageo. This gins are also both London Dry Gins.

Unlike Gordon’s, the recipe for Tanqueray includes only 4 botanicals, delivering a gin that is juniper-heavy, fresh on the nose, and dry on the palate with juniper and citrus. The highest alcohol by volume option among the gins mentioned in this post, Tanqueray is said to make an excellent gin and tonic.

Personally, I can’t recall ever having drunk Tanqueray–it’s not commonly available where I live–but I will try to get my hands on some soon and share my thoughts. What are your thoughts on Gordon’s vs Tanqueray?

P. S. To be sure not to miss future posts on Chick About Town, sign up to receive posts directly by email. You can also follow me on Twitter or on Facebook for daily musings on living & lifestyle in East Africa. Signing up is free and easy!

Photo Credit: Bethany Khan;, Foreedontz MIU, Private Bar, Marco Verch, AfricanMecca Safaris, Diemulus,, Haute Apple Pie

33 thoughts on “Gordon’s vs. Beefeater & Gilbey’s vs. Gordon’s Gin”

Hehe, personally I tend to lay off the spirits, they make me too sick! And it all started with that sapphire pictured there! The horror I went through! LOL!

I’m thinking of starting a review website, and I would love your input in it, seeing as how your blog is absolutely fantastic. If you’re interested do let me know and we’ll discuss.


Hi Loco,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

Bombay Sapphire – say no more!:-) Though I am an avid gin drinker, there is something about Bombay Sapphire that I just can’t stand – that’s despite it supposedly being a very good quality gin.

Thanks for the kudos on this site. I’d definitely love to hear more about the review website you would like to start. Tell me more by email. My address is simply: [email protected]. I look forward to hearing more from you.


P.S. I just visited your blog, and I love that poetry entry from April 19. 🙂

I have never compared Gordon’s and Gilbeys, as I am a sporadic gin drinker. And when I do, it’s usualy a Uganda Waragi( a drink that I shan’t rubbish for purely sentimental attachment reasons). And then one day, one fateful day, I had a gin and tonic made with Bombay Sapphire. A party in my mouth is what I can only describe it as. Wonderful taste, smell and with the crispness(is there such a word?)of the tonic, I was in heaven. Since then, I have been experimenting throwing all kinds of herbs, Rosemary, Mint, lemon rind into my waragi bottle for a few days. It’s not quite Bombay Sapphire but it does hold its end as a one-off drink, boutique Waragi I call it. To the next few drinks at Dar-alive…Citizen of the World

Hi Citizen of The World!

How great it is to see you, here on ChickAboutTown. Welcome!

Seeing your choice of handles, I must ask: are you now back safely at home? Or are you still gallivanting the world? 🙂 (Gosh, I dreamed of your Easter Sunday Dinner/Lunch all day that day and would have loved to be nowhere else more than hanging out at your place! I hope it was as fabulous as it sounded when you were planning it! :-))

Speaking of boutique Waragi (a drink definitely NOT to be rubbished – I tell you Tanzanian Konyagi can’t even begin to hold a candle to it!), I’ve had some of your wonderful Waragi on occasion. Remember the weekend I was in town and you had limes from your home country? Yummy! Rosemary, mint, lemon rind? Why Citizen – your just so creative! That should make sense though because gins differ simply because of the flavoring added to the base spirit. Which flavor have you liked most?

But that’s where our agreement comes to an end. Despite Bombay Sapphire being a supposedly really good gin, it’s the one gin that I categorically don’t drink. To me it tastes horrendous. Mais comme ils disent, les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas. 🙂

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing more from you on ChickAboutTown.

Big Hugs,

I have to say that I have recently had to ask myself what my favourite drink is – Gin does not do it for me anymore… (as such I am not able to comment on the debate raging here :-)) One of the commentators said Bombay Saphire setting off a party in his/her mouth – I’d be hard pressed to say that about any one alchoholic drink!! :-/

Hi Cons!

Welcome back here. I haven’t seen you here in a while. It’s a great pleasure!

By Gin not doing it for you anymore, are you referring to waragi? Chica, how can you sell out? 😉

So what seems to be taking its place? For me, someone recently mixed me a vodka and Krest Bitter Lemon, and to quote Citizen, that set off a party in my mouth! Yummy!

Talk to me.


Gilbey’s… definitely. it gets better mixed with tonic i think. the one i would not recommand is larios, which tastes quite acid lol. Shame i can’t find some gilbey’s in my small french town anymore, not even the blue saphirre (but i couldn’t afford the blue one lol)

Hi Zelou and Richard,

To both of you, welcome to ChickAboutTown!

Zelou, thanks for weighing in about which of these two gins you prefer. I have never tried Larios but I will keep my eye out for it (out of curiosity). By blue sapphire did you mean Bombay Sapphire? That has to be my least favorite gin ever!

Richard, I have heard good things about Tanqueray, but I don’t think I’ve ever had some myself. Thanks for weighing in too!


Love Bombay Dry London Gin, but couldn’t afford it this weekend and opted for Gilbey’s because it is cheaper. I have drunk Gordons and found it tasting either oily or like paint thinner. Gilbey’s really does not have a pronounced character of any sort, but I prefer that to the citric tones of Beefeaters. So far, Gilbey’s is not bad. I detect some juniper and other aromatics but nowhere near the complexity in Bombay’s gin’s. BTW Biche, Bombay Sapphire is as characterless as any poor gin I’ve drunk. Not too impressed with Tanqueray, either.

Hi Matthew,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! Thanks for your feedback on your experience with Gilbey’s–you seem to be quite the gin connoisseur! 🙂


I’ve always liked Gilbey’s for a cheap gin. I just moved in with my girlfriend, and she bought Gordon’s by accident. I’ll see how the unintentional taste test goes tonight.

I’m not trying to negate your opinion, but your must realize Gordons is a dry gin designed for the Martini, and Gilbeys is an aromatic gin designed to mix with tonic to release it’s pungency and aroma. Their design is intended to serve an entirely different purpose.

I came here because I wanted to learn more about Gilbey’s. I’d never heard of it before I saw it in a store today. Gordon’s is my usual dry gin and I love it. Now I know that, although it’s cheaper, Gilbey’s isn’t worth the risk.

Great site! East Africa is such a fascinating part of the world.

Hi Ewan,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

It’s not that there’s really any risk to Gilbey’s, it’s just that it’s not the same great taste as Gordon’s.

Thanks for the kudos on my blog. I am glad you are enjoying East Africa!


Which do you prefer is a silly question…with it’s automatic distinctive juniper flavor, Gilbeys is clearly a divinely flavored gin intended to savor and mix with tonic, whereas Gordon’s, the polar opposite, a well blended biting and very dry gin, is a must for the martini.. I would never make a martini with Gilbeys, nor a gin and tonic with Gordons, but in implementing them for the purpose they were designed for, they are second to none.

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! That’s such an interesting thing to point out. I would have NEVER thought to consider that the two gins were designed for different purposes…but then again, I don’t drink Martini cocktails. The only time I ever tasted a martini cocktail (at a Ritz-Carlton in the US), I spat it out immediately and asked the waitress for a Martini Bianco which is what I had really meant to order when I asked for a Martini.

Thanks for teaching me something new!


Hi Biche and Jeff!

Firstly Biche, my company has done all the Spurs and Panarottis in Tanzania. My last project was Akemi on the 21st Floor in Dar.

My favorite place though,is at the Karambezi in the Sea cliff,sipping a Dry Martini, as the dhows sail past!

Speaking of Martinis, this is it for me; two tots Gilbeys, one tot Martini Dry Vermouth. Mix with crushed ice and pour over ten small Manzilla Olives. DO NOT turf the ice….. Heaven on Earth!
I call it the Millionaire’s Martini!

Now Jeff I have been tasting Gins for years. For me Gilbeys has the cleanest purest flavor of the lot. The botanicals are all there but subtle.
I love Gordon’s in G&T but for the subtle mix of Gin, Vermouth and Manzilla Olive and Brine, the Gilbeys is clean and super dry!

Roger…….live life to the max!

Hi Roger,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! Before I say anything about gin, let me first say: hats off to you for the design of Akemi! It is gorgeous! (I wish the food lived up to the decor and the view though…but that’s a subject for another day.)

Yes, Karambezi epitomizes some of the best things Dar has to offer. When I first moved here, I would go there every weekend.

Now on the subject of gin and gin cocktails: that Millionaire’s Martini sounds exciting. Since I have only ever had a Martini cocktail once in my life (and I didn’t like it), I think it’s high time I try it out again. I’ll get back to you on that!

Thanks for leaving me a comment.


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Hi FreeCinemaMovies,

Welcome to Chick About Town, and thank you for the compliment.

Thank you too for joining my RSS feed and sharing my site on your social networks. I truly appreciate it!


Hey, without question; different gins for the two very differed different drinks……….

1. Gilbey’s for a martini if you can’t afford Beefeater,

2. Burnett’s for a gin & tonic if you can’t afford Tanqueray.

But Gordon’s is one gin that can do both!!! Besides, if it was good enough for 007 (although it was 94 proof in the day vs. the present 80), surely it is good enough for us mere mortals!!!

Hi VaSlim,

Welcome to Chick About Town. Thanks for weighing in on the subject.

I have never tried Gilbey’s in a martini, and I have never had Burnett’s at all. Thanks for tips…I’ll try them out.