Gordon's London Dry Gin was developed by Alexander Gordon, a Londoner of Scots descent. He opened a distillery in the Southwark area in 1769, later moving in 1786 to Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day.[failed verification] Its popularity with the Royal Navy saw bottles of the product distributed all over the world.
In 1898 Gordon & Co. amalgamated with Charles Tanqueray & Co. to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. All production moved to the Gordon's Goswell Road site. In 1899, Charles Gordon died, ending the family association with the business.
In 1904 the distinctive square-faced, green bottle for the home market was introduced. In 1906 Gordon's Sloe Gin went into production. The earliest evidence in recipe books for the production of Gordon's Special Old Tom was in 1921.