Below is an excerpt from the May 2015 edition of GINNED! Magazine about Anno Kent Dry Gin. Every month, Craft Gin Club members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of features about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.

The White Cliffs of Dover tower over the Strait of Dover as a national symbol of English strength. From the time of the Roman Invasion through World War II, the cliffs have been used to defend Britain as Julius Cesar decided the cliffs a dangerous spot for invasion and Winston Churchill ordered the placement of gun batteries along the tops of the cliffs to fight the Germans in World War II.

white cliffs of dover

More recently, geological shifts have made the cliffs appear more vulnerable. In 2001, 2012 and 2013, massive chunks of the cliffs crumbled into the ocean, collapses that have led to the repositioning of cliffside buildings and visitors’ paths. Although the National Trust, which owns most of the cliffs, maintains that the average pace at which the cliffs recede is an annual 1.5 centimetres, the enormous landslides have caused concern, not unlike the 1942 landslide hit song that references the cliffs, “(They’ll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover”.

Singer Vera Lynn recorded what would become one of Britain’s most popular wartime songs, a song that brought hope to soldiers and looked to the end of the war “when the world is free.” “White Cliffs” in conjunction with her 1939 hit “We’ll Meet Again” transformed Lynn into a star and she dedicated much of her career to performing for the military, becoming “The Force’s Sweetheart” and appointed to Dame in 1975. 

But as comedian and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop pointed out in his 2004 BBC Radio 4 documentary, the song’s association with the British war efforts likely should never have materialised. The song was actually written by two Americans in 1941 where it first gained popularity, probably for its similarities bordering on plagiarism to the enormously popular 1939 ballad “Over the Rainbow” as sung by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. 

The song also appears to be political motivation for American hawks. Written before the US entered the war, the song’s score writer, the pro-English and aptly-named Walter Kent, may have composed the song as a political message to urge the US to sending troops to support its Allies. Furthermore, the House of Commons actually tried to ban Lynn from singing the song as the MPs thought it was doing more harm than good to military morale. 

But perhaps the most evident reason why it’s a bit of a fluke that the song became a British hit is its winged subject. It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever find bluebirds soaring over the White Cliffs of Dover. They can only be found in the Americas.  

White Cliffs Gin Fizz

  • 50ml Anno Kent Dry Gin
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 20ml sugar syrup
  • Couple drops of rose water
  • Couple of drops vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 25ml double cream
  • Top with club soda

(Based on the Ramos Gin Fizz, but with rose water for an added Kentish twist)

Preparation: Mix ingredients bar soda in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass and add soda. Serve in a Collins or highball glass