Distillery revives 70yo Sri Lankan gin recipe

5th May, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Sri Lankan spirits producer Rockland Distilleries has revived a 70-year-old gin recipe called Colombo, which has just launched in the UK on-trade.


Sri Lankan gin Colombo has launched in the UK on-trade

Colombo Gin is made from a blend of seven different botanicals including juniper, coriander seeds, angelica, liquorice root, Sri Lankan cinnamon bark, curry leaves and ginger root.

It is explained as being a “definitive” London Dry style offering predominant juniper flavours complemented by “a beautiful medley of subtle spice notes”, and is “handcrafted” in small batches using copper pot stills.

During the Second World War gin was not permitted to be made outside the British Empire as excise officers did not think good quality London Dry gins could be made outside the UK.

However, persistence from Rockland Distilleries resulted in the formation of a regulation called Ceylon Made Foreign Liquor (CMFL), which permitted the production of gin in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and the manufacture of Colombo Gin.

This ruling was also implemented in India creating Indian Made Foreign Liquor around the same time.

Due to the war, trade channels were blocked and as such the original recipe was distilled from local botanicals such as Sri Lankan spices.

Today, however, the distillery has replaced some ingredients in favour of “the traditional London dry gin recipe” to create Colombo Gin, which it describes as “the original, revived”.

With an RRP of £24.95 per 700ml bottle, Colombo Gin is currently available in London restaurant Dishoom and is looking to expand to other on- and off-trade venues later this year.

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