Antony Jackson and Justin Green co-founders and distillers of Bertha’s Revenge Gin are delighted to introduce a new nautical member to their little herd ‘Bertha’s Revenge Navy Strength Gin’. They have raised the ABV to a lip-pursing 57.1%, and have shuffled the botanical blend slightly to accentuate one or two of the more pronounced flavour notes. The extra strength gives their merry crew of spices a megaphone through which to convey their message, which is as smooth and as well-balanced as you would expect from a cow riding at anchor.
Bertha’s Navy Strength gin tastes divine when sipped over ice. She is also an excellent base to gin-forward cocktails, especially a Gimlet. Or as a B&T, simply served up with a good quality tonic, ice and an orange peel garnish.
What is Navy Strength? Britain historically boasted the largest and most powerful navy in the world and during the Napoleonic wars, more than a quarter of the Royal Navy’s 17,000 men were Irish, among them was Vice-Admiral Sylverius Moriarty who was one of Justin’s ancestors. He was born in 1735 at Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry and was reputed to have been one of the only Irish-speaking Vice-Admirals in the Royal Navy.
Rum and gin were staples on-board Royal Navy ships and daily rations of rum were issued to the crews up to as recently as 1970. Prior to 1816 there was no accurate way to measure alcohol strength so a rule-of-thumb method was applied: the gunpowder was mixed together with the spirit to form a paste. If the spirit was over a certain strength, the powder would ignite, and if under, it would not.
This method made sure the navy was not being swindled or being sold watered-down spirit and more importantly ensured that the gunpowder remained highly explosive in the event of a spillage. This was vital as the casks of spirit and gunpowder were usually stored in close proximity below decks and if the casks toppled over during a storm or during a raging battle and spilled their contents soaking the gunpowder, the gunpowder would still ignite. High- strength spirit at 57% was therefore what the navy demanded when buying spirits from its purveyors.
Bertha’s Navy Strength is sold in 50 cl bottles, costing €42.00 RRP and is currently available online via https://shop.ballyvolanespirits.ie/ or from selected retailers in Ireland.