Posts Tagged ‘gin’

Rule 37: Nolita

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This one came from an idle afternoon snooping around Kindred Cocktails, which is proving to be a very handy resource. A recent blast down to MA brought the NH State Liquor store across our path, and since the Lady Friend was taking advantage of a St Germain sale, I did some wandering of my own, coming away with a sale-priced bottle of Kahlua. How I’ve gone this long without some Kahlua on the bar, I’m not sure, but I do know it rules out a lot of new drinks, being a gap in the ingredients available. So now I have some. And need to use it.

Kindred Cocktails lets you search by a particular ingredient, and after several unappealing suggestions, I decided to go with this Negroni variation. It’s simply splits the sweet vermouth with the coffee liqueur. Tia Maria also comes up for this sort of thing, but for now the Kahlua will have to do. According to the creator on San Diego Food Finds, this one is named as a mashup of “Negroni” and “Cafe Lolita,” apparently a brand of coffee liqueur. Don’t have that, but do have Kahlua, so in we go.


rule37nolitaNolita
From San Diego Food Finds via Kindred Cocktails

- 1 oz gin (I used GTD Wire Works because it’s AWESOME.)
- 1 oz Campari
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
- 1/2 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
- 1 dash bitters*

It’s a Negroni at heart, so STIR it. Use Julep strainer and serve up or on the rocks. I prefer my Negronis (or variations) on the rocks with one giant monster ice block. Garnish with a lemon peel.


*Yeah, so they simply say “dash of bitters” but neglect to specify WHAT bitters. I could go with orange here, which would play nicely in the Campari flavors, but with that addition of coffee liqueur, I’m going to use the old standby, Angostura. I’m assuming that when people say “bitters” but don’t specify, they mean Angostura. A little cinnamon/spice should also work here.

Nose: Actually, with that big iceberg in there, I don’t really get much aroma at all. There’s a hint of gin botanicals, and a very subdued Campari, but that’s about it.

rule37nolitabottlesTaste: Cold. Slightly syrup mouthfeel, as can be expected from that Campari ooze. Light gin up front, followed by bittersweet puckering orange Campari, and finishes with a coffee roast. I really wish this was more dramatic, but that’s how it is. It’s quite nice, but it’s a Negroni with some coffee flavor. For the second sip, I rolled it around in my mouth a bit more to warm it a touch, and it had a bit of a numbing effect from the booze rather than the cold. The gin is certainly prevalent, matched with the Campari spice. I’m sure this would be quite a bit rougher without the vermouth, but I can’t really pick out any of its essence among the big flavors. Again, the finish is a coffee roast, like a good stout/porter, bitter rather than mocha or dark chocolate. I bet Kahlua gets somewhat chocolatey when mixed with whiskey, but with the brighter, sharper flavors in a Negroni, it sets itself apart as the darker ingredient. The Angostura is nowhere to be found, though I suspect it’s lurking in the finish sheltered by the coffee flavors.

This is quite nice with the Wire Works, an American style gin, which eases off of the juniper a touch. I think the combination of a big, brash London Dry style would be an odd pairing of pine and coffee.


Is this a good time to say that I don’t drink/like coffee?

Even so, this is a good alternative to a regular Negroni. Something about it feels more like a cold, damp, rainy day drink. A little brown liqueur in an otherwise bright drink. It dims things down a bit.
Wonderful.

Rule 37: Hanky Panky

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Yikes.
I didn’t know what I was getting into with this cocktail. I just wanted something simple, but this one comes with a lot of history. I’ll try to make it brief.

The Hanky Panky Cocktail is an old one, coming from the famed American Bar at the Savoy Hotel and head bartendress, Ada Coleman, wonderfully described in this LUPEC post. As for the cocktail, here’s the story, in her words:

“The late Charles Hawtrey… was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.”



rule37hankypankybottlesSince it was an official Savoy cocktail, it got put into Harry Craddock’s (who was the head bartender at the Savoy after Ada) also-famous Savoy Cocktail Book. And since it’s in the Savoy Cocktail Book, it’s covered over on the Savoy Stomp blog, which attempts to go through the entire book, drink by drink. There’s also some further info over at Cold Glass, where the use of particular vermouths is discussed. Like the Historic Core Cocktail, I think this one would really benefit from a big, flavorful vermouth like Carpano Antica or Punt y Mes. I have Martini & Rossi. Work with what you have.


rule37hankypankyHanky Panky
Originally from Ada Coleman’s American Bar
Recipe from Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book

- 1 1/2 oz gin (GTD Wire Works)
- 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
- 2 dashes Fernet Branca

Stir (no juices involved) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Don’t skimp on the garnish with this one… it’ll make a difference.



Sooooo… it’s basically a Sweet Martini with some Fernet in it. Ok then. Not my usual type of thing, but let’s give it a try. I’m using GrandTen’s Wire Works American Gin in this one to ease off the juniper a touch. Savoy Stomp suggests using “a gin with some spine” but I’m not the biggest fan of the London Dry juniper bombs. Plus, Wire Works is awesome.


Nose: Yup. Smells like orange. Must be all those orangy oils I spritzed over the top. Will have to reevaluate after sipping some off. There is a botanical gin quality below the orange… astringent, juniper, and a sweetness. There’s the barest hint of menthol/mint from the Fernet Branca, but it’s buried deep down.

Taste: Rounded pine and juniper. Herbs. Mint. Medicine. Eucalyptus. A boozy quality, but not burning… more warm than hot. Bittersweet and mouth-puckering, yet rounded out by the vermouth. Dry, herbal finish with woody spruce notes.

Whoa.

That’s an interesting tipple. I was worried that I either put too much or not enough Fernet in this one. It’s powerful stuff, and the recipe specifies two drops. I put the barest splash – a splish really – into the mixing glass and it comes through very well without overwhelming the drink. The Wire Works does get a bit weak in the mixture, which is what Savoy Stomp was referring to… you need a bigger gin. I’m still pleased with the Wire Works, as I think it creates a softer drink, but others might want that slap of pine from a London Dry style. Quite sippable.


Let’s see what SHE thinks:

rule37hankypankyalt“I still get orange peel in the smell, but I smell the juniper fragrance. Hmm. I’m initially shocked at how sweet and smooth it is. I get sort of a grapey sweetness balanced very well with that juniper floral… hmmm. It’s not bad, it could probably use just a touch less sweet vermouth, but that’s a very easy way to take gin. You want to appreciate a good gin, and I think I got a little too much of the vermouth. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but I think it dominated. I forgot about Fernet Branca! …I don’t get much of that. Maybe I would pick up more of the Fernet if the vermouth wasn’t as much.”

Rule 37: Fernet Branca Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Ok. We’re hitting the Fernet Branca tonight. Here we go.

rule37fernetbrancacocktail_bottleI was looking for something-or-other in Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail and stumbled upon the “F” pages. The Lady Friend got her Rule 37 cocktail, the Fancy Tequila Cocktail (like a Margarita, but with orange juice), and I got mine: the Fernet Branca Cocktail. I’m a bit late to the whole Fernet Branca craze, but certainly have been an enthusiastic convert. Here’s the deal.

Fernet Branca is an Italian spirit, an amaro, very bitter and herbal, and touted as a digestif. Fernet is the TYPE of amaro (like bourbon is a type of whiskey) and Branca is the specific brand, taken from its inventor’s name, Bernardino Branca. It’s from back in 1845, and claims to have medicinal properties, again, as a digestif or stomach remedy. Listen to Bill’s story.



So, it’ll help you out in times of, shall we say, gastric distress. But seriously, it really does seem to help indigestion and such. Packed with 27 herbs at bottled 78 proof it’s bound to do SOMETHING. The flavor takes some getting used to, and most people it seems never get used to it. I personally started to enjoy it after about my third sip, but it’s wild: dark, bitter, dry, herbal (I know I know, I keep saying that, but there’s not a lot of other adjectives that cover it) and minty. Yup. It finishes kind of menthol/minty. There is a mint version (Branca Mente) as well in case the regular version isn’t minty enough. Apparently Fernet Branca is insanely popular in San Francisco, as a shot with ginger ale back, and in Argentina where they mix it with Coca Cola. It’s even become somewhat of a handshake or nod among bartenders. I like mine IN ginger ale, as a highball, on Sunday nights following a weekend of liver torture. Good for what ails ya. But here’s a cocktail version.



rule37fernetbrancacocktailFernet Branca Cocktail
From Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail

- 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
- 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)

That’s it. No juice here, so pour it into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir.
Serve in a chilled cocktail glass (or on the rocks if you prefer) and garnish with a flamed lemon peel.





Well, based on the ingredients, it seems like it’s going to be interesting. Somewhat like a Negroni, using gin, amaro, and sweet vermouth, but the proportions are way off (Negroni is equal parts). That Fernet Branca is going to be wildly different from Campari, and there’s a lot more gin to deal with. I’m frightened. Hold me.


First impression of the aroma is of the Fernet Branca mint/menthol, with a sickly sweet floral gin essence mingling in. Fernet Branca is powerful stuff, and I think it’s going to take four times more gin to counteract it. It’s that herbal medicine with some gin.

In we go.

Bitter. Right off. Some bark and cinnamon, then various dry herbs. Dry spice, not savory. Lavender? That would be the gin coming in now with floral and citrus notes. It’s alcohol warm all the way through, and finishes minty/piney, like candy canes on a Christmas tree. It’s boozy and a flavor punch. Bitter overall, so don’t chug these down like a tiki drink. This is more like an aperitif. Or digestif. I’m not sure which. Probably both. The Fernet Branca is a renowned digestif, but vermouth is typically an aperitif. Gin is gin. Screw it: drink it whenever you want. But carefully.

Another note: serve this one in a CHILLED glass and drink it as cold as possible. I’m not sure why, but I’m getting the impression that this one would taste absolutely vile at room temperature. There’s a lot of herbs, spices, flowers, and citrus here, but it’s very very dry overall, and none of those attributes get better in a lukewarm drink. Served hot might be a different story, but tepid is going to be a train wreck.


rule37fernetbrancacocktail_altHere’s the Lady Friend:
*Brow furrows. Bitter face.* “I get gin, an alcoholy burn, then the Fernet.”
No no no. Don’t tell me what’s in it, tell me what it TASTES like. Close your eyes, take a good sip, swirl it around in your mouth, swallow, and chew it for a second and tell me what you’re TASTING.
Piney in the beginning. Christmas tree, alcohol, just alcohol, maybe a little grapeyness, kind of like grapey spicy though. Spicy, not like chili spice, but like cinnamony, but not like really, but more in that direction. Spicy. And I’m still tasting Christmas tree.”
Ok. Much better. Now we’ve got some adjectives. Wasn’t too far off from my impressions, but sometimes it’s a struggle to get her to use her WORDS.


So, there it is. Dry, spicy, bitter, but not bad overall. An avant ou apres repas sipper. Just don’t let it get warm.

Rule 37: The Million Dollar Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Ugh.
I desperately need a cocktail.
Seizing a random cocktail recipe book (the New York Bartender’s Guide by Sally Ann Berk, a Goodwill find) I started flipping through looking for some sort of inspiration. Since I just happened to have acquired a big jug of Tanqueray (on super duper secret probationary sale), that’s the direction I was heading in. Now, there are several ways one can arrange a recipe book: alphabetically, chronologically, by primary liquor, or with seemingly no method whatsoever. Almost all are alphabetical, but this one happily goes the extra step and sorts everything by the base spirit, making it easier to find, say, a gin cocktail specifically. Also, the recipes are listed by parts (2 parts this to 1 part that), by ounces (oh yes thank you), and by milliliters, which I’m told is something used by people who don’t speak English, and therefore are of little importance to me. While perusing the pages (nice photography as well), I found myself stopping at the Million Dollar Cocktail. It seemed tasty enough, so I’ll give it a whirl.

Allegedly, this drink was invented by a dude named Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore around the early 20th century. This is right in Singapore Sling territory, also invented by Boon. A lot of recipes I’ve come across use egg white, but I’m using the book version, and passing on it. Also, many others suggest serving it as a highball, though again, I’m going to stick to the book and use a chilled cocktail glass. Moving away from the printed recipe however, I will add a dash of Angostura bitters, as that seems like a good suggestion from some of the other sites.

It’s good to be the king.


The Million Dollar Cocktail
From the New York Bartender’s Guide

- 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 tsp (dash) grenadine
- 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake it up, serve in a chilled cocktail glass.
Other versions add egg white for extra body and frothiness, and serve as a highball.
It’ll allegedly make you feel like a million bucks.



It’s going to take a hell of a cocktail to make me feel that fantastic. Let’s see what happens.

Give it a whiff: yup. Gin. Though somewhat subdued. The pineapple doesn’t really have much of an aroma, but it does tame the juniper, and the mixture just winds up smelling like sweetened gin. Not a bad thing. Also, I double-strain my cocktails (strain through a Hawthorn strainer AND a tea strainer) to get rid of ice shards and pulp, but it also cuts down on the frothy foam that most shaken pineapple drinks will have. I just don’t like bits of ice in my drinks.

Now the taste: first impression is, again, gin, though the pineapple fruit sweetness comes washing right in behind it. There’s a vermouth grapey roundness, and a hit of the cinnamon spice from the Angostura in the finish. I only used one dash of bitters, where in most drinks I’ll use several, but here it’s perfectly suited to the solo spike. A little hint of the flavor without overwhelming the gin botanicals or the pineapple. The gin and pineapple play together very nicely; what is it about juniper and pineapple that works so well? I think it’s a sweet vs. spice quality that sets your tastebuds all a-quiver. See also: Royal Hawaiian.


The Lady Friend’s take: “GIN.
Half a moment later: “Oh, it’s not that bad though. Juniper right off the bat, but then it mellows out with the pineapple sweetness. Not bad.


Yeah. That’s a decent summation. Gin, but it’s not that bad.
I think it works rather nicely. Try one.

Rule 37: The Honolulu Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Ugh.
It’s way too hot.
Let’s have something tropical to drink.

This one I found simply on about.com in the cocktails section. I saw the link on Teh Twitterz, and decided it sounded nice. Plus, I just got some tropical plants, so that’ll work quite nicely for the picture.


According to the brief blurb on the webpage, this was allegedly an old 1930s cocktail from the Brown Derby in Hollywood. I did find references to a Honolulu Cocktail No. 1 (this version, from the Savoy Cocktail Book) and No. 2 (totally different). I really didn’t see much mention of it past that. Oh well. Not every drink can have a long and storied history.


The Honolulu Cocktail

- 2 oz gin (Bombay London Dry)
- 1/2 oz pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz orange juice
- 1/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- Dash of Angostura bitters

Mix em up. Shake, strain, serve. Use a nice chilled cocktail glass here, with a lemon peel garnish. I used a giant one and made a spiral. The article suggested a sugared rim, but I really don’t like doing that. So I didn’t.

Well, there’s gin on the nose. Lemon certainly, due to my gigantosaurus lemon twist. The pineapple gives it an almost grassy or leafy aroma. I have no idea why, but it does.

It tastes… pretty underwhelming. Like gin with a bunch of juices thrown in. Which is pretty much the recipe. The juniper is there, but cut down by the fruit juices at work. Again, something in this combination, perhaps the gin/pineapple, gives it a wet, vegetative taste. Not unpleasant, but unexpected. There’s a little orange in there, and the Angostura cinnamon light on the finish. It’s… a pretty color. And it’s… um… cold? Yeah. There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. Perfectly drinkable, but wholly understated. Rats. I was hoping for a tropical getaway, but instead I’m just left in my underwear on the couch with a fan doing little to cut down the 437% humidity. If you’ve got gin and pineapple juice, have a Royal Hawaiian instead.

Review: GTD Wire Works American Gin

One of the benefits of being a drink blogger, is that you occasionally get some free samples sent your way. In fact, that was the whole reason I started this blog; I saw other bloggers getting stuff to review, and I got jealous. Then I decided since I was doing all this drinking anyway, I may as well write about it too. Turns out, if you do a decent job writing about it, you too can get some booze! So, on my visit to Grand Ten Distilling in South Boston, after being blown away by their gin, Wire Works, I hoped that Spencer and Matt were kind enough to toss a sample my way so I could tell everyone how awesome it is. And they did, because they rule.

Now, you might be thinking “Well, SquirrelFarts is a biased jerkface. Of course he’ll say it’s awesome, if they gave him some for free.” Well, yes and no. I don’t have to be objective, because I’m a blogger, not a reporter (and let’s face it, reporters and the “news” aren’t exactly objective these days). But I try to be objective because I love booze, and want you to love it too. So I won’t tell you something is awesome when it’s not.

Trust me on this one: Wire Works is awesome.


Fire makes it awesomer.



Now here comes the reasoning. Gin is not my drink of choice. I’ll happily slurp a Manhattan, but shudder at a Martini. I’ve grown quite accustomed to Negronis, and a Tom Collins on a hot summer morning, but gin in generally isn’t what I first think of for a cocktail. My opinions changed somewhat when I discovered Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin from Great Lakes Distillery. Theirs is an “American” style gin, which means they ease off on the juniper/pine taste and let some of the other botanicals shine through. It’s a much easier style to jump into for a non gin-drinker, and I thought it was fantastic.

Grand Ten’s Wire Works is also branded as an American gin. While tasting at the distillery, I was given samples of Beefeater London Dry and Tanqueray along with my Wire Works sample. The two British offerings were big one-two punches of juniper and alcohol, while the Wire Works was MUCH smoother. I was amazed. It was right up there with Rehorst as a gin even I could enjoy.

So here’s the vitals: it’s an American gin, which means not too much juniper. There aren’t any ingredients that are terribly unique (Rehorst, for example, uses Wisconsin ginseng and sweet basil in their botanicals) but an interesting addition is the use of cranberries, not for flavor, but for mouthfeel. The acidity of the cranberries gives it a smoother coating effect in your mouth, though not overly cloying like syrup. It’s 45% abv/ 90 proof, though you’d never guess from the taste. Again, those big London Drys are all juniper and booze in their attack, even if they’re lower proof. The Wire Works name comes from the history of the distillery building, which was formerly the South Boston Iron Company, and the spectacle of the wire being produced with showers of sparks and molten metal was quite a tourist attraction back in the day. GTD prefers to brand their spirits uniquely, each having a purpose behind the name, rather than just “we’re GrandTen, and here’s our gin.”


The label isn’t too boastful with the fact that it’s from Boston, but it is mentioned on the front, along with all those exciting craft spirit terms. “Small Batch” and “Distilled from Grain” are on there, and “Handcrafted in Copper,” reinforced by the metallic copper stripe and accents on the label itself, a beautiful touch from a print nerd point of view. The paper bottle seal depicts a spool of wire on the top, and the back label tells a short blurb of the gin’s history, and it’s intended audience. Overall, it’s an elegant, old-timey stylized label that fits very nicely with the past they’re connecting to.

But you don’t care what it looks like. You want to know how it tastes. Ok, fine.

Tasted neat, at room temperature, which today happens to be like 80. Ugh.

Nose: I’ve had a taste poured while I wrote the preceding paragraphs, and keep catching wafts of sweet pine. It’s not an overwhelming sensation of Pine-Sol, as I’d get from a big London Dry, but rather sweet and smooth. A more focused sniff does get the juniper pine in the nostrils, but very smooth, very refined, and a bit spicier. There’s certainly citrus in there, and a light selection of spices, though I’d be buggered to tell you exactly what they are. There’s almost a bark in there, though not quite cinnamon. Just the fact that I can notice other aromas other than the juniper makes this much more appealing to me. There’s a touch of heat from the alcohol, but again, but more subdued than it’s counterparts from across the Pond. The key words here are sweet and smooth.

Taste: Initial sensation of warmth, but not too much of a burn. Sweet, sprucy pine, spicy but not TOO piney, then lemon. There are some darker spices in there that swirl beneath the citrus, and the mouth-coating effect helps ease the alcohol burn, which is still milder than expected. It finishes with a dry sensation, but not in an alcoholic way, rather… what’s the opposite of thirst-quenching? It literally dries your mouth, and makes you thirsty for more. Again, the pine flavor lingers, though it’s a different sort of pine, spruce versus fir, dry and powdery, not sickly and fake. Christmas in a quiet New England town, rather than Times Square.
For a second taste, I dripped a few drops of cold water into the spirit, just to see if it would open up a bit more. The aroma certainly sprang forward with renewed fervor, a mixture of fresh dark evergreen and penny-candy sweetness. The citrus leapt to the forefront in the taste, though the pine was quick to follow. An even milder burn, and a strange tongue-tingling sensation, almost numbing the mouth in a pleasing way. It really does stick in your mouth, though again, not like syrup, but rather like a very small man has carefully painted the inside of your maw with it. See also, Burt Dow.


The Lady Friend had been dying for me to crack the bottle after the photography was done. She took a whiff of the sample I poured and said “Smells like juniper.” Well, yes, that’s sort of the point. It is gin after all. As she continued to sniff, she did pick up on a sweetness underneath. “Honey? Vanilla?” I then brought over a bottle of Bombay London Dry to compare aromas, which is much more of a juniper bomb than the Wire Works. She tasted the GTD bottling, and didn’t even make her customary “gin face” of furrowed brow, wrinkled nose and grimaced pout. “A world of difference from the Bombay. It still had the juniper, but with sweet notes that made it a lot more palatable.”


So, naturally, we’ve got to try this one in a cocktail. Luckily, I found this posted on GrandTen’s Facebook wall: “We sponsored the Karma Loop party last night at their HQ near the park. Lots of happy customers. The custom Wire Works Old Fashioned we were making was flying off the table.” Sounds good to me.


The Wire Works Old Fashioned
Courtesy of GrandTen Distilling. More GTD drink recipes here.

- 2 oz Wire Works American Gin
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- Dash of bitters (Used Fee Bros Orange)

Shake and serve on ice. I went with an Old Fashioned glass. Naturally.


The nose is very smooth and with subtle gin aromas. Light juniper with a lime citrus, much as can be expected. The taste is also… quite smooth. Nice gin piney sensation with lime tart, then gives way to the orange notes and a dry semi-bitter finish. Very nice. This is a new contender for a late summer afternoon porch drink, the new G&T. Refreshing and tasty. A big London Dry would overwhelm the sweetened lime juice, but with this milder American gin, it’s quite lovely.

The Lady Friend tried a sip and proclaimed it “Pretty good. I feel like the gin/juniper taste is dulled down in this. Maybe the lime tart and simple syrup… I like it. Very well-balanced, not too far on the gin side, not too sweet, not too tart. It’s basically a Daiquiri but with gin.”


So. Go get some Wire Works. Seriously. It’s my new go-to gin. You can find it at these places if you live in Boston. If you don’t, it’s worth the trip to grab some. Do it.




Squirrel Farts is now accepting solicited product reviews! Send me a bottle and I’ll take a pretty picture and talk it up in the amusing tangential manner you’ve come to expect. Beer, spirits, mixers, whatever. Contact here for details. Note: I will mention that the review was solicited, hell, I’ll even brag about it. Free booze? Damn right. But The Man says I have to say I got it for freebies. I’m excited about free stuff, so whatever. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll like it, or that I’ll give it a good review. But chances are if you read this blog, then we’ll get along. Put it to the test: send me your booze!

GrandTen Distilling

Holy crap.

There’s ANOTHER craft distillery IN Boston.

!

I had no idea.

I stumbled on an article on BostonHerald.com that described a new distillery in South Boston called GrandTen. An email was immediately sent, and in a short amount of time I received a reply from co-owner Matthew Nuernberger, who graciously invited me in for a visit.

Here we go.


Yes, there’s a distillery in there.



GrandTen Distilling is located on Dorchester (Dot) Ave. in between the Andrew and Broadway T stops. It’s easily walkable from each. However, the entrance itself a bit tricky to find. There’s the tan “Addison Wellesly” building at 383, but it’s all small offices inside. Next door, at 371, there’s a series of green buildings, but that’s too far. GrandTen is actually located BETWEEN those two buildings, down a driveway and hidden in the shadows of the overhanging building. Did you miss it? Yeah, me too. Several times. It does give it a slight speakeasy feel, where you only gain entrance by knowing where the door is before you go. Once entering (look for the banner hanging overhead) I knew it was the right place when a copper pot still winked at me from across the room. I was just glad to get out of the rather warm and odoriferous waft of industrialized Dot Ave.


That’s more like it.



The distillery is located in a historic Boston building, which was once the home of the South Boston Iron Company, an iron foundry established in the early 1800s by metallurgist Cyrus Alger. Back then, the building sat on South Bay, which has since been filled in, and was one of the premiere foundries of the day. The first gun ever rifled in America was produced at the foundry, and they continued to provide munitions and arms to the US Government through the War of 1812. When steel became the metal of choice, the foundry switched to producing wire, and the spectacle of sparks and molten metal became a must-see tourist attraction for Boston.


Inside it smelled like the bran/molasses treats my mom bakes for her horse critters. It reeked of molasses. Which meant that there was rum being born. I met Matt, and he showed me around their setup while co-owner Spencer McMinn busied himself by trying to infuse hickory smoke flavor into a jug of vodka. More on that later. GTD runs a 50 gallon pot still, currently electric. It’s an “eau-de-vie” still with a larger dome with more copper surface area (copper is essential in distilling; it neutralizes some of the byproducts) and allowing more flavors through the distillation process. Their column is quite a bit shorter than others I’ve seen, though again, this means less separation and more flavors in the final spirit. They’ve had it for 16 months, but it’s only been operational since November of 2011. As with Bully Boy and Ryan & Wood, GTD had to wait for months and months while their distillery plans were approved, equipment was acquired and installed, though mostly it was all zoning and licensing nonsense. Since GTD falls under stricter Boston zoning (whereas Bully Boy had some leeway with their industrialized Newmarket location) they waited two months just for their first rejection, and another three months for the appeal. It takes a long time to convince the government that you’re a legitimate business making a real product, especially when booze is involved.

The starting point for all the GTD products is neutral grain spirit that they purchase, meaning that they do not mash and ferment their own grains, but begin with a odorless and tasteless spirit. From there, it’s distilled with botanicals for their gin, or infused with peppers and smoke for their vodka. The rum is open fermented from molasses and uses a process called “stripping,” which means the spirit is essentially distilled twice to give it the characteristics and flavors they’re looking for. The neutral grain spirit, or “eau-de-vie” (“water-of-life”) method saves time and resources for a small distillery by giving them a base spirit to begin crafting their products from, rather than mashing and fermenting wheat, corn, barley or other grains. Currently, their neutral grain spirit is sourced from New York. It sounds like the sort of thing that might draw some criticism, like using malt extract in place of milling your own barley in the brewing world, but I have no problem with it. The end products are fantastic, so why not save a step?

GTD has several end products from their eau-de-vie method, but only one, Wire Works Gin, is currently available, in the mid-$30 range. It’s been on select shelves since April, and is making its way into various local cocktail bars. They’re working on Fire Puncher Vodka, a chipotle- and hickory smoke-infused spirit, and molasses-based Medford Rum, though this will only be sold as an aged product. They’re also playing with a few liqueurs, and there’s an applejack aging in the barrel room. Yum.


So. Time for a tasting. First up was their flagship product, Wire Works American Gin, named for the foundry’s industrial past and sporting a beautiful copper-inked label. The GTD boys wanted to make an American-style gin, not a Plymouth or London Dry, which are more of an alcohol-juniper assault. Typically the alcohol heat and overwhelming juniper flavors punch you in the mouth, but GTD wanted something else. The American-style gin is smoother, rounder, and more complex than their British brethren. Great Lakes Distilling Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin springs to mind as a good example of the American style, sweeter and smoother, with some more unique flavors. Ryan & Wood also makes a smooth, citrus-forward gin that I was impressed with.

The GTD boys poured a splash of their offering into a red plastic party cup, and also served up some samples of Beefeater London Dry and Tanqueray for comparison. Sure enough, the Brits were hot on the nose with a big slice of pine, and tasted the same. Wire Works nosed sweet and smooth. The pine/juniper essence is there, but very balanced and tempered. It was a much lighter aroma than the sickly perfumed London styles. The taste? My notes read “WOW. TASTY!” There’s pine, but with a sweetness, different from an Old Tom or genever. There’s almost some mint or spruce in there, and leaves a very pleasant tingle on the tongue, rather than the usual hot alcohol burn. It has an excellent mouthfeel, smooth but without being too coating. This is due to a somewhat unique (for gin) ingredient: cranberries. Spencer, a PhD-level chemist by the way, explained that the cranberries were used for their acidity, which creates a smoother mouthfeel. None of the cranberry flavors make it through the distillation, but that semi-gloss mouthfeel is great. As I’ve said before, gin is not my favorite spirit. I’m getting there, but it’s a slow process. I think Wire Works is my new favorite, even better than the Rehorst. It’s that good. Amazing.


Next, I tasted a test batch of their Fire Puncher Vodka, whose namesake, South Boston firefighter Tommy Maguire, attacked flames with such vigor that it was said he punched the fire with his bare fists. Fire Puncher is a flavored, infused vodka, so don’t expect a neutral spirit here. GTD has no interest in making flavorless spirits. Their goal with this one is to make it taste like a campfire, infusing hickory smoke, and two kinds of Chipotle peppers. On the nose, it smells like Mexican food: spicy, but with a smooth sweetness underneath. The taste starts with a smooth green pepper flavor, which moves to a bitter campfire smokiness in the middle. The pepper’s spice kicks in, and lingers throughout the finish. It’s a spirit that stays with you, but that’s not a bad thing. Though this test batch was a bit spicier than they wanted, I thought it was EXCELLENT. There’s so much flavor going on that you don’t notice the 90 proof alcohol, yet it’s not TOO hot and spicy, but rather an almost savory medium hot pepper. This one is going to make a FANTASTIC mixer, though would likely be a great sipper over rocks.


As a special offering, there was a taste of almond cordial that was still in the test phases. At 80 proof, it’s made from an almond distillate aged for 4 weeks on toasted oak spirals. This is no sugary amaretto or orgeat syrup: it’s the real deal. Pure almond flavors without all the sugar syrup. It noses with a nutty pasta quality and some slight alcoholic heat. The taste is, well, almondy. Mmmmm. Slightly syrupy, but there’s no indication of the 80 proof booze. It would also be excellent over ice, or as a sweetener in cocktails. Perfect, as Spencer described their products as being “very cocktail driven.” These guys know what they’re doing.


Finally, there was a taste of their Medford Rum coming straight off of the still. It was all at once sugary, molasses, and wonderful. Very much akin to Bully Boy’s White Rum, though GTD will be selling only an aged version. A lot of New England distilleries are going the way of blackstrap molasses rums, such as Turkey Shore’s Ipswich Rum, another craft distiller on my list to visit. There’s a rich history of these rums in the area, as rum was the spirit of Colonial America, until the Brits imposed taxes and the drink of choice shifted to whiskey. Medford Rum is named for the original Medford Rum, which dates back to the early days of Massachusetts. GTD’s version, right off the still, was incredibly flavorful, and should be phenomenal once it’s aged.


GTD is purposefully naming each of their spirits and delving a bit more into a back story for each one, rather than pushing their distillery as an overall brand offering a gin, a vodka, a rum, etc. It’s an interesting approach, and they believe the spirits should stand on their own, appealing to a wider audience. You don’t necessarily go looking for GTD gin, but when you see Wire Works on the shelf with the big London gins, it’ll be quite a bit more distinctive and unique.


Public tours and tastings will begin sometime later this summer, once their retail and tasting area is constructed. Matt described it as basically being a second business within the distillery, so they’ll need some time to get it up and running. And built. They’re doing the construction by themselves (there was freshly-laid tile when I visited), but it should be a great attraction once completed.


In case you were wondering about the name, as I was, yes there’s a story there too. Matt and Spencer’s grandfather (they’re cousins… did I not mention that?) was a hardworking guy who enjoyed his cocktails, especially gin. Family gatherings were rousing affairs where the booze flowed freely. Since he had nine grandchildren, they decided to name their distillery GrandTen, as they think he would look upon the business as his “tenth” grandchild, and love the gin it produced. I think it’s a great namesake, and with the quality spirits they’re making, GrandTen should make the old man proud. Keep an eye out for these guys and buy their booze.




Rule 37: The Fitzgerald

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This week’s Bacchanalian bounty comes courtesy of 12 Bottle Bar, a post from about two years ago. The Fitzgerald is, essentially, a gin sour. Apparently created by legend Dale DeGroff, 12 Bottle got the recipe from DeGroff’s OTHER cocktail book, The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks. If I owned that particular tome, I likely would have made this one long ago, as I am generally a fan of sours. Sours are a certain family of cocktails, like slings, cobblers, flips and collinseses. The sour is a mixture of spirit, sugar, and citrus juice, usually in similar ratios, and is one of the most popular styles of mixed drinks. Here’s a few examples:

Whiskey Sour: whiskey, simple syrup, lemon juice

Daiquiri (Rum Sour): rum, simple syrup, lime juice

Margarita (Tequila Sour): tequila, triple sec, lime juice

Sidecar (Brandy Sour): brandy or cognac, triple sec, lemon juice

Kamikaze (Vodka Sour): vodka, triple sec, lime juice.

Pisco Sour: pisco, simple syrup, lime juice, egg white, Angostura bitters

Traditionally, a whiskey sour also contained egg white, which gives the drink a frothier, creamier mouthfeel, though I don’t really care for it.


So, the Fitzgerald is a gin sour, with some Angostura bitters added in. Here’s how to make it:


The Fitzgerald

- 1 1/2 oz gin (Bombay London Dry used)
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice, strain, and serve in a cocktail glass. Float a lemon wheel as garnish. Sip quietly among the violets whilst contemplating the Violet Hour.








The two dashes of Angostura give the liquid an orange hue, rather than the usual pale lemon yellow sour. The nose is rather gin-y, with a botanical perfume wafting up from the surface, despite the lemon wheel lazily drifting about the coupe. There is a slight Pledge quality from the citrus, though the gin certainly dominates the aroma.


The taste is a lovely floral mixture of gin and lemon, but sweet. After being spoiled by tasty Rehorst Gin, I find the Bombay London Dry to be a bit on the perfumey side, like funeral homes and plug-in air fresheners. It’s certainly a lemony drink, and the Angostura lends a much-needed dark spice to the background. Without the bitters, this would likely be too sickly-sweet, but the cinnamon clove zest of the Angostura certainly livens up the party. It’s quite nice, but I’d like it better with a different gin and an extra dash of bitters.



Mil-wacky in March, Part 3: Great Lakes Distillery

Yet another travel series that I never seem to finish. This one tells the tales of our Milwaukee adventures in late March of 2012. We went there to do some serious drinking. Oh, and also Trevtastic got married. Yeah, some girl actually married that boy. But still, it was a good excuse to show the Lady Friend the various drinking landmarks of Milwaukee, so that’s what we did. Wistful wanderings in Wisco. Part 1 is here.
Yah dere hey.



Here we go.

This is one of the reasons I wanted the Lady Friend to come to Milwaukee.

Well, this and Trev’s wedding.

But this is also awesome.


Great Lakes Distillery. Yes, they make booze in there.



I think I visit here every time I come to Milwaukee. It used to be that you’d enter around the back, right into the warehouse portion of the building, where the actual distillery is set up, but these days they’ve got a brand spankin’ new retail shop and tasting room up front. It’s pretty snazzy. Still, on larger tours, the “old” tasting room down on the production floor is used. We entered the new tasting room, and thankfully the paint-and-drywall smell had faded since my last visit, though there was a mural still in progress. The Lady Friend and I sidled up to the bar and ordered a cocktail. GLD highly encourages having a cocktail along on the tour. It helps you pay attention. Since the Kinnickinnic Whiskey was back in stock (they were completely drained last time) I led off with a simple Whiskey Sour. I have no idea what the Lady Friend went with, though I suspect it had grapefruit juice. There are a number of cocktails available across most of their spirit lineup for about $5-$7 if I recall, though they might make you one off-menu if you’re super nice and they know how to make it. Michael led off as our tour guide this time, and the Lady Friend and I, along with one older couple, grabbed our drinks and headed down the stairs to the production floor.


I hate saying “this is where the magic happens” but a lot of good stuff is born here.



First, the history. GLD was officially started back in 2004 by a video-tech guy named, well, Guy. Guy Rehorst. He realized that there were NO distilleries in the state of Wisconsin, so he started his own. Due to licensing, permits, and just building the place, it took until October of 2006 to get their first bottle out the door (it was vodka). Since GLD began, eight more distilleries have sprung up in Wisconsin, with eleven more on the way. The craft distillery market is starting the same sort of building boom that craft beer had about 10-15 years ago, and currently they’re growing at the rate of about one new distillery in the US every month. By 2015, it’s projected that there will be 500 distilleries in the country, which means like craft beer, there’s going to be a lot more choices on the shelves. Which is awesome.

Distilling itself is fairly simple. You take, well, ANYTHING that ferments, and boil it. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so the alcohol turns to vapor. Then you cool and condense it back down into a liquid, and you’ve got booze. Probably some pretty rough and firey stuff, but still booze. As Michael said “A child could do it. It’s also a felony.” Depending on what you make, there are at least a few rules in place. Vodka must be distilled at a minimum of 95% abv (right out of the still… it gets diluted down to usually about 40% abv/ 80 proof). Whiskey must be made from 100% cereal grain (wheat, rye, barley, corn… you get the picture). Brandy must be made from 100% fermented fruit (usually grapes, but also apple, pear, peach, cherry… lots of choices). Gin must have juniper berries in it somewhere. Rum must be made from 100% sugar cane (cane sugar or molasses).

Once you’ve got your spirit, sometimes you need to age it. For that you need a bonded warehouse, as described in my Ryan & Wood Distillery post. The government technically owns this part of your distillery, and you have to pay them excise tax when you take liquor out of there. It costs GLD about $3 per bottle to take their own liquor out of the warehouse to sell. This factors in to “you get what you pay for” when it comes to cheap booze. If a bottle of cheap vodka costs $6, you know $3 is automatically going towards the government for excise tax. Another $1 goes to distribution costs, another $1 to the retailer, and prob about $1.50 for the cost of the bottle. What’s left for the cost of actual ingredients? (Actually, in this scenario, it adds up to -50 cents.) The point is, a lot of smaller, craft distilleries have higher prices due to better ingredients, among other overhead costs, and the government always gets their cut.





Now that we know how to make booze (and pay the government to make it nice and legal) it was time to go taste the stuff. Since there were only four of us in the tour, we went back upstairs to one of the tables in the tasting room. Michael went through each spirit, and we got a pour in a nice little Glencairn tasting glass, a very classy touch. We tasted the year-round spirits, though there are several smaller batches produced, including a unique Pumpkin Spirit, made from Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager, and a line of brandies (Grappa, Kirschwasser, Pear/ Eau-de-vie, and Apple).


Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Vodka Red Wheat Vodka
Nose: Sweetish. Medium heat in the nose. Very neutral.
Taste: Medium heat in the taste. Good mouthfeel with decent smoothness. Neutral and pleasing.

Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Citrus & Honey Vodka Flavored Vodka
I hesitate to call this “flavored vodka” due to the mess of cotton candy, blue raspberry, whipped cream, and other silly flavored vodkas out there. This one is made with actual lemons (the distillery staff gets to zest endless piles of lemons by hand) and Wisconsin-sourced honey. GLD actually distills the flavors together, rather than simply adding them to the spirit. No sugar is added after distillation.
Nose: Lemon Pledge and honey sweet. Very aromatic.
Taste: A tad hot, but perfectly nice. Sickly lemon, like cleaning fluid. Not overly sweet.

Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin “Milwaukee Gin”
GLD thinks that their gin doesn’t fit into either the London Dry or Dutch Genever categories, and calls it simply “Milwaukee Gin.” They use a very mild juniper berry, and add cinnamon, anise seed, coriander, orange peel, lemon peel, Saigon cassis, cardamon into their botanical mix. Then the twist: sweet basil, and Wisconsin ginseng. I think it’s an excellent gin. You can read more about my thoughts here.
Nose: Mild pine, sweet spruce. Sugary pine smell, with a mildly hot nose.
Taste: Sweet pine, with spiciness. Very nice. Has a little zing to it, but in an interesting way.

Kinnickinnic Whiskey Blended Whiskey
The Ojibwe word “Kinnickinnic” means “mixed” or “blended” usually referring to tobacco, but in this case is a blended whiskey made from a straight bourbon, and a 4-year-old malt whiskey produced at the distillery. They were out of this on my last visit, but Guy was incredibly gracious and got his last bottle out of his car to give us a taste. Since then, they bottled another batch, so I got another taste this time around.
Nose: Hot alcohol on the nose (it’s 86 proof and unfiltered). Mild sweet bourbon lingers below the heat.
Taste: Hot, with a slight spice. Rye? Smooth vanilla from the aging. Very Scotch-like, but lighter like an Irish whiskey.

Roaring Dan’s Rum Maple Rum
All rums need a pirate mascot, and GLD’s is no exception. “Roaring” Dan Seavey was a pirate on the Great Lakes with all kinds of adventurous shenanigans. The color varies batch-to-batch, as it’s a single barrel product (they don’t mix the barrels together). Wisconsin-sourced maple syrup used, and bottled at 90 proof. This was the first bottle I bought from GLD.
Nose: Sweet, sugar maple. Hot in the nose. Sugar cookies.
Taste: Warm burn, then sweet maple washes over. Finishes hot and alcoholic, which keeps it from getting overly-sweet. Yum.

Amerique 1912 Absinthe
GLD is one of the few domestic distilleries I can think of that makes an absinthe. I won’t get into the troubled history of the spirit here, but it was banned in the US in 1912 for various reasons, and has started to make a comeback with legalizations and the cocktail craze. It’s an interesting liquor, with a crazy story, and GLD makes two versions: Verte (green) and Rouge (red). I brought back a bottle of the Rouge after this trip.
Absinthe Verte (diluted with water, no added sugar)
All-natural color from chlorophyll.
Nose: Licorice. Black Twizzlers. The Lady Friend recalls Good n’ Plenty. A lingering sweetness.
Taste: Very pleasant. Anise taste, but drinkable after the louche. Very light alcohol kick.
Absinthe Rouge (diluted with water, no added sugar)
All-natural color from hibiscus.
Nose: Sambuca-like anise aroma. Hot alcohol, but with much more sweetness.
Taste: Licorice, but much sweeter. Almost a touch spicy. Very nice, if you like licorice (I don’t). Very drinkable even if you don’t particularly like anise flavor. It impressed me enough to buy a bottle.

BONUS!
Guy had suggested that we try their new Apple Brandy, though it wasn’t on the tasting. We went over to the bar and Michael totally hooked us up with a sample.
Apple Brandy
Made from 100% Wisconsin-sourced Heirloom apples. Spends 3 years in aged bourbon barrels so that GLD can “put bold flavors in cups.” Well said.
Nose: HOT alcohol nose with a tart apple aroma.
Taste: HOT. Sweet apple, obviously, but complex. There are layers of both sweet and tart that flow underneath. But this is one of the more alcoholic tasting of the spirits. Still, quite tasty. The Lady Friend even bought a bottle of it.

Then he made us a Jack Rose! And yes, GLD does make their own grenadine. I asked. The drink nosed a bit hot, more so than a Laird’s applejack version, but had an amazing flavor. Very apple-y, with a tart cider start, sweet sugary mid and tasty clean apple finish. Wonderful.


Retail area where you can buy bottles and bottles of awesomeness.



We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting at the bar, sipping cocktails, and chatting with owner Guy Rehorst, whom I had met on my last visit. He’s a really nice guy, and will tell you basically anything you could want to know about the distillery, or just the industry in general. I’ve been a big fan of the spirits he’s made for the past several years, and make it a point to stop by every time I’m in town. It’s great to see a craft distillery making some great products. I like a lot of variety with my drinking, and largely gloss over the big brands, as I do with beer. Instead of Bud/ Miller/ Coors, the liquor industry has Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, and Diageo. Heavy hitters. The good news? GLD is in the works to enter the Massachusetts market, and hopes to be in Boston-area shelves by the end of the year. Keep an eye out for some more tasty choices. Highly recommended.




Rule 37: White Lady

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.


Whoa. That seems kind of racist. But it’s totally the name of the drink.
Plus, you totally have to say it like this.

It’s actually the first recipe in the book Classic Cocktails from Around the World, which was given to me this past Xmas by Aunt Linda of the Lady Friend clan. Pretty sweet book, but with a lot of vodka recipes. It chronicles a variety of drinks from specific bars around the world, though the Boston offering, a bar called Tonic, is closed. The book dates from 2004, so I have to wonder how many of these bars are now defunct. In any case, the recipes are still in the book.


White Lady

From The American Bar at the Savoy London. This one was invented by the legend himself, Harry Craddock, author of the famed Savoy Cocktail Book, which is pretty much the Bible of cocktails.

- 1.5 oz gin (GLD Rehorst)
- 1.5 oz triple sec
- 1.5 oz lemon juice

Shake/ strain/ serve. Cocktail glass. Add a lemon twist. It doesn’t have to be as big as mine, though you wish you could be this cool. Or just have enough patience to peel an entire lemon.


Ok. In all fairness, this is basically a Sidecar, with gin instead of brandy. I’m totally French School on this one, with equal parts of each ingredient. English School goes anywhere from 2:1:1 up to a whopping 8 parts spirit. An alternative name for the White Lady is the Chelsea Sidecar. Knowledge!

Nose: Well, it’s certainly lemony. I’m getting a bit of a sour smell in there, though I suspect that’s the gin making strange stink babies with the fragrant lemon peel that’s in there. Certainly a hint of orange as well. The taste is actually QUITE nice. My first impression is of lemonade… very lemony but with a sweetness from the triple sec. The gin is in there too, like an ADULT lemonade. I don’t get that triple sec dryness, as I generally do with triple sec-heavy drinks, but there’s a distinct orange essence in there.

The Lady Friend had a taste and tossed in her two cents: “I can taste the gin, but it’s reasonably balanced. I think having that particular gin (Great Lakes Distillery’s Rehorst Gin) helps it out.”

I agree. The Rehorst is particularly tasty, and since I’m not a big fan of STRONG gins, this one mixes very well. For a juniper fan, you could certainly use something beefier, like a Beefeater (see what I did there?) but for me this was excellent. Very simple, very tasty. Might have benefited from a dash of orange bitters, but that’s about all. Tasty and fun. Have one.

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