Gin has been a favourite tipple of the Household Cavalry for over centuries with many a tale to be told. Indeed the Cavalry used to have their own gin in a white porcelain bottle. In battle, this was used as a hip flask containing water, when resting, it contained gin. The distinctive square bottle led to the expression of being ‘square faced’ after excessive imbibing!
Ironically, the Gin Act of 1736 (which placed a tax on gin) led to rioting in London; and the Household Cavalry played a role in quelling rioters and patrolled the streets to help keep the peace.
A similar excess led to the traditional 4 o’clock Parade, also known as the Dismounting Ceremony or the Punishment Parade, which still runs to this day. This started in 1894 when Queen Victoria found the entire guard drinking gin and gambling while on duty and, as a punishment, ordered that they had to be inspected every day at 4pm by an officer for the next 100 years!
Sitting in a quintessentially British pub in the Oxfordshire countryside, our founders were discussing a new initiative to revive lapsed trademarks, and sipping G&Ts (of course). As gin aficionados, their eyes were drawn to an old-fashioned bottle of gin behind the bar.
According to the barman, it was a historic brand which had disappeared over the years.
The comment couldn’t have been more timely or fortuitous. Horse Guards Gin had indeed been a premium gin brand in the 1960s but the distillery had closed and a much loved brand and trademark had disappeared.
After many rounds of creative product development, with the involvement of a leading London Mixologist, the current blend of Horse Guards London Dry Gin was born. No compromise was made to achieve its smooth and sumptuous taste. Our objective was to go back to a fabulous, classic London Dry Gin, simply ‘gin as it is meant to be’. The awards our gin has won is a fantastic testament to us achieving exactly that.
Our philosophy is focussed on producing premium spirits to reflect the long history of gin in the Horse Guards and their values of service and excellence. Horse Guards London Dry Gin has gained the blessing of London’s Household Cavalry, which inspired the bottle’s Union Jack and horse rider branding. The bottle itself is modelled on the military style uniform, with distinct shoulders.
We have also since launched Horse Guards Pink Gin in September 2020.