Colombo Gin is handcrafted in small batches in copper pot stills by Sri Lankan spirit producer Rockland Distilleries, and it dates back all the way to the Second World War when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. During that time gin was not allowed to be made outside the UK as the presumption was that good quality London Dry Gin could only be made by the Brits (unlike today where great London Dry Gins are made around the globe).
After a lot of convincing from Rockland Distilleries, customs officials eventually allowed the distillation of gin in Colombo, but known as Ceylon Made Foreign Liquor (CMFL) instead of using the esteemed title of ‘London Dry’. This ruling was also implemented in India creating Indian Made Foreign Liquor around the same time.
But due to limited trade during the war the recipe had to be tweaked, using native ingredients handpicked from Colombo’s public gardens, also known as the Cinnamon Gardens. At the time the only imported botanicals were juniper and angelica root. Little did they know these local ingredients would become a great selling point back in the UK decades later!