Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gin You Should Be Drinking - Summer 2014

Apparently June 14th is International Gin day, as if you needed a PR holiday as an excuse to drink gin!  None the less, I took the opportunity to compile some of my favorite gins as of late, so that you, dear reader/imbiber, can get in on the fun too.

There's a lot of really exciting stuff happening in the gin world right now, and I love that gins are becoming more expressive and flavorful.  Companies are playing with flavors such as peaches, lemongrass, sage, and douglas fir, and the results are amazing.  The new diverse range of flavors in these different gins welcome new flavor combinations and innovative cocktails!  All of these gins are so gorgeous, they don't need much dressing up, a simple martini with a complimentary garnish will do the trick!

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites as of late:

1.  Ford's Gin is a collaboration between master distiller Charles Maxwell and mixologist Simon Ford.  Ford's gin has pretty much cleaned house on all spirits awards from the Spirited Awards to gold metals at the San Francisco Spirits competition (to name a few).  It is made with 9 botanicals including Italian juniper, coriander seed, bitter orange, lemon and grapefruit peel, jasmine flower, orris, angelica, and cassia, and was designed to work in classic gin cocktails.  It is an aromatic gin that is both citrusy and has floral notes of orange blossom.  Mr. Ford even designed the bottle for easy pouring behind the bar (more to come on that later).  $30

2.   G'Vine Floraison Gin is a French Gin made in the region of Cognac.  This a grape based spirit, which is distilled with green grape flower blossoms as one of the botanicals with nutmeg, cubeh berries, ginger roots, liquorice, lime, coriander, green cardamom, cassia bark, and of course, juniper.  This gin is light, refreshing, and has flavors of ginger, fresh cucumber, tangerine, subtle juniper, honey, with a floral and minty finish.  $30

3.  Bombay Sapphire East has been around for a few years, but I'm loving it this Summer because of the exotic flavors that add extra dimension to cocktails.  This gin is made with lemongrass and black pepper in addition to the same botanicals as traditional Bombay - juniper, grains of paradise, lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, liquorice, orris, almond, and cubeh berries.  The addition of the lemongrass makes this gin lighter and more refreshing, which is necessary to help beat the heat.

4.  Caorunn Gin is a Scottish Highlands gin that has a unique sense of place, which is even more interesting considering when one thinks of Scotland the first spirit that comes to mind is whiskey, not gin.  Yet, Caorunn has a delightful mix of unexpected botanicals including rowan berry, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, coul blush apple, and the result is delightful.  Bright and citrusy with notes of apple, spicy pepper, lemon, grapefruit, with floral notes of heather and an ever so slight taste of dandelion.  It's a gin with a lot of personality, but it finishes clean and crisp just how I like it.  $40

5.  Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin is made in Greenpoint, New York.  Greenhooks Gin is subtle, yet flavorful, and is made with botanicals including Italian juniper, coriander, chamomile, elderflower, citrus, Thai blue ginger, orris root, ceylon cinnamon, and elderberry.  The elderflower comes through on the nose, but on the palate this gin is all juniper, citrus and ginger, with a floral note of chamomile.  $32

6.  Tanqueray No. Ten is a bright and citrus heavy gin that downplays the juniper.  It is distilled in the number ten still, using the whole citrus, versus the peels which are traditionally used.  It is made with juniper, angelica root, black pepper, liquorice, coriander, fresh white grapefruit, fresh lime, fresh orange, and camomile.  For me the brightness of the grapefruit comes through first, pairing beautifully with the juniper and finishes with a beautiful floral bouquet of camomile, liquorice, and black pepper.   $30

7.  Citadelle Reserve Gin is a gorgeous gin aged in oak casks, in Cognac, France.  Aged gins are very popular these days, with many distilleries releasing their own versions of the antiquated spirit.  Citadelle is different because it is distilled over an open flame, a process that is increasingly rare, and each of the 19 botanicals are cold-infused individually before distillation.  On the nose this gin has notes of yuzu, wheat, grapefruit, lime, and toasted straw, on the palate it has flavors of honey, peppercorns, citrus, ginger, liquorice, with a minty finish.  This aged gin makes one damn fine G&T!  $33

8.  St. George Terroir Gin was developed to create the sensation of taking a walk through the costal woods near California's Mount Tamalpais.  And it does.  This gin is made with Douglas Fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, coriander, and of course, juniper.  The flavors are woodsy and beautiful, and pair well with fresh herbs and fresh berries.  $33

9.  Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat Gin is another fascinating gin made from a corn-based spirit that is distilled a second time using only local juniper and locally harvested raw honey.  The gin is then aged in American Oak Barrels for three months, and has flavors of piquant juniper, lemon, honey, caramel, and vanilla.  This is a gorgeous gin that I had the privilege to taste last year, and now that it is available (exclusively at Astor Wines), I might have to treat myself to a bottle!  $60

10.  Last but certainly not least, Nolet's Silver Dry Gin.  Made by the same handsome Dutch brothers who make Ketel One Vodka, this gin is aromatic and floral in all the right ways.  It is made with Turkish Rose, Raspberries, and White Peaches, and the result is an incredibly soft, delicate, and fruit filled gin that makes a lovely White Peach Martini$44

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