Plymouth: Gin and Beyond

By Marcia Frost

Plymouth is in Devon in England’s southwest corner. While it may not be the first place you think about when planning a vacation, it offers a unique selection of things to do. It’s a city filled with history and activities. It is also home to its own spirit, Plymouth Gin.

1178288_25c5ae44There are several areas in Plymouth to explore. You’ll probably want to plan your trip around the Waterfront, The Hoe and Burrator Reserve. The streets to the Waterfront are lined with shops and cafes over cobblestones streets. It’s in this area you will find the city’s main historical spots. The Hoe is the most picturesque area, where you can see the harbor and relax in the park. Burrator Reservoir is a must whether you are just sightseeing or looking for activity.


Plymouth Travel and Accommodations

It’s about a three and a half hour drive from London to Plymouth. You can also take the train from Paddington Station in London if you don’t wish to drive. If you are coming from France or Spain, Brittany Ferries goes back and forth between each country.

St. Elizabeth’s House is a wonderful accommodation to try. This Georgian Manor is known for its beautifully landscaped grounds (leave time for croquet). Each room at St. Elizabeth’s House has its own unique design, with antiques like free-standing bathtubs and modern luxuries that include flat panel televisions and wireless internet.

A trip to St. Elizabeth’s House is not complete without experiencing their restaurant.  This fine dining establishment prepares a host of delicacies from duck capriccio to filet mignon topped with foie gras, prepared creatively by Head Chef Daniel Gillard.

Places To Go In Plymouth

Burrator Reservoir

Burrator Reservoir

The Waterfront in Plymouth is a trip into the history of the UK and North America. Take a walk down to the harbor and see the Mayflower Steps, set to honor the Pilgrim Fathers who left England aboard the famed ship. They would cross the Atlantic and arrive in North American in 1620. Even before that time (1583), Sir Humphrey Gilbert set sail from here for Newfoundland, Canada, on a mission for Queen Elizabeth. You can see the exact spot from which he began that journey commemorated with a plaque in his honor, as well as more of history in the Waterfront’s Mayflower Museum.

Head to The Hoe and take the family on a spin on The Wheel of Plymouth. This 60 meter high Ferris wheel gives everyone a good look at the city during the 13 minute ride, which includes a description of local points of interest. If you are looking for a splurge, there’s one VIP capsule where you can sit and relax with champagne during your ride.

The Burrator Reservoir is definitely worth getting into the car and hitting the road for, if only to peek at the magnificent waterfalls. You will also find trails for cycling, hiking and horseback riding, including a three and a half mile circular walk here. If you are looking for something more relaxing, Burrator Reservoir is known for rainbow and trout fishing.

Discovering Gin

Plymouth is also home to one of the world’s most famous gins. Plymouth Gin has been made in the town by the same name since the late 18th century. It was supplied to the Royal Navy and continues to be distilled at the Black Friars Distillery.

PlymouthTours are available daily at the distillery which give you a peak into the history of the spirit itself. They can be customized if you have something special in mind.  Plymouth’s Black Friars Distillery has its own brasserie (order the fish & chips and save room for dessert) and a bar that serves cocktails made with its products. You can even arrange to make your own gin, using a selection of fruits and herbs.

Only three spirits are made at this distillery on a regular basis – Original Plymouth Gin, Navy Strength (100 proof), and Plymouth Sloe Gin. Before you leave, you will have the opportunity to purchase products to take home so you can try some more of their bar recipes in your own living room.

White Lady

50 ml Plymouth Gin

25 ml Cointreau

25 ml Fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp Egg white

Lemon zest for garnish of a lemon zest

Fill mix glasses with ice, add the Plymouth Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and egg white. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Add garnish.


50 ml Plymouth Gin

25 ml Fresh lemon juice

12 ml Crème de Mure

1 dash simple syrup

Lemon slice and blackberries for garnish

Fill rocks glass with crushed ice. Pour in Plymouth Gin, add lemon juice and simple syrup and drizzle Crème de Mure on top.  Add garnish.

Raspberry Collins

50 ml Plymouth Gin

10 ml Chambord

25 ml Fresh lemon juice

12 ml Sparkling water

Lemon slice, raspberries and mint for garnish

Fill mixing glass with ice. Add the Plymouth Gin, raspberries, lemon juice (freshly squeezed), Chambord and simple syrup and shake vigorously (to crush the raspberries). Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice and top with sparkling water. Add garnish.

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