By the time the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, they had been at sea for months without so much as a dram. Sure they were Puritans, but even buckle-shoe types like to party.

If only they had the new gin named for the place of their historic landing. It took about 170 years, but it did happen. Hailing from the original Plymouth in England, the award-winning Plymouth Gin, founded in 1793,  is still hand crafted in the motherland’s oldest distillery according to the same recipe and in the same copper pot that spawned it more than 200 years ago.

As the only premium gin in the world with an England-only production designation (similar to the appellation controllée designation used for wine), Plymouth is, according to many connoisseurs, the smoothest gin in the world as well. A staple of the Royal Navy, Plymouth has been carried on and used to commission every new ship for decades. In addition to christening Her Royal Highness’s boats,  Plymouth is also credited as being the gin used in the first dry martini in 1896.

Though its roots go back to the 18th century, Plymouth is still tres chic, using natural spring waters and hand-picked botanicals (including angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom pods, orris root, and coriander seeds) to balance out the notes of juniper for which most London gins are known. Even its bottle is a retro tip to the Art Deco style of the 20s.

Among Plymouth’s most famous fans are FDR, Winston Churchill, Alfred Hitchcock, and Medal of Honor winner Major Kenneth Bailey (after whom Plymouth has named its own signature Summer drink). And now, thanks to a new importing arrangement courtesy of Absolut Spirits of New York, you can enjoy it too.

So whether mixed up in a crazy concoction like the Major Bailey or (as perhaps befits its name) on the rocks, Plymouth Gin offers a new world of discovery to the discriminating gin drinker. And keep in mind June 14 is National Martini Day.

The Major Bailey

12      Fresh mint leaves

2 oz.  Plymouth gin

¼ oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ oz. Sugar syrup