Waterhead Gin of the Month – Fifty Pound Gin

A popular gin from our Waterhead library, Fifty Pound is a traditional recipe that was long buried after the Gin Craze of the eighteenth century. We think it’s time to dust it off and enjoy in Waterhead’s garden overlooking Lake Windermere.

Chloe Ackers
Gin and Tonic in Waterhead’s garden

Gin’s Dark Chapter

Drastic action was needed in the early 1700s as London slumped into a gin stupor and ‘mother’s ruin’ overtook the population’s sensibility bringing

cc 1.0 Public Domain The Gin Shop
cc 1.0 Public Domain ‘The Gin Shop’

untold suffering to families, children bearing the brunt of the effects. London accommodated over 7,000 Gin Shops and countless othe

r illegal drinking dens with an estimated ten million gallons of the stuff produced annually.

Fifty Pounds – The Cost of Legality

The Gin Act of 1736 imposed retail taxes on the sale of gin and an annual licence of Fifty Pounds. Six years after the Act only two out of the thousands of producers could be persuaded to apply for the licence!

Shortly after the 1736 Gin Act a family of independent London Distillers came up with an original gin recipe, tipping their hat to the new licence fee, it was known amongst themselves as ‘Fifty Pounds’. The delights of this recipe were hidden for centuries until launched again in 2010 at Thames distillery.

Traditional Method and Secret Recipe

Botanicals (thought to be 11, but all but the most common are a closely guarded secret) are steeped in alcohol for at least two days prior to distillation. This traditional method means that the gin is produced in small batches of 1,000 bottles at a time, adding to its allure. The botanicals that they do own up to include Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed, Grains of Paradise, Savory, Orange & Lemon Peel, Liquorice and Angelica Root. The taste is classic with juniper and lemon asserting themselves with after notes of coriander and angelica and a smooth mysterious, but pleasant, finish.

Fifty Pounds Gin The Gin Foundry
Fifty Pounds Gin – The Gin Foundry

Fifty Pounds Gin is presented in a smart looking bottle, the design of which is inspired by the original gin bottles, known as case gin. Each bottle bears the individual distillation batch number, together with the year that it was distilled, making it popular as a gift.

Fifty Pound Gin and cocktails

"Gin and tonic on a highball glass"
Fifty Pound Gin and tonic in a highball glass

Fifty pound gin and Tonic

  • Fill a highball glass with ice
  • Pour a large measure of Fifty Pound Gin over the ice
  • Top with Fever-Tree Indian tonic water
  • Garnish with lemon peel

Fifty Dry

  • 55ml Fifty Pounds Gin
  • 7.5ml Fino or Amontillado
  • Garnish with one olive

Future Gin Tasting Event at Waterhead

Our Gin Tasting evenings are entertaining and informative. Make a date to join us in September and October at the Waterhead Hotels in Ambleside.

Gin Tasting Events at Waterhead
Gin Tasting Events at Waterhead
  • 6th September hosted by Fever-Tree tonic and Williams Chase Gin
  • 21st October hosted by Bedrock

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