food and beverage underground

By Jenny Adams

Three Genuine Gins - Brands to Watch, Stock and Sip

While gin will never know the profuse showcasing that vodka has experienced in this last decade on the back bar, the spirit has seen a well deserved, much applauded and happily continued resurgence in the cocktail scene.

Here are three unique labels you might consider. Each offers a beautiful blend competitive marketing and intrepid flavor for this generation.

Martin Miller’s Gin

I recently sat in on a Master Series small tasting class held in Reykjavik, Iceland by Martin Miller’s Gin. I won’t divulge the name brands we compared the smart and sassy Martin Miller’s to, but I will say that this brand had a far more complex taste and something no other gin can claim on earth – the purity of Icelandic water. Martin Miller’s gin is an interesting situation in that this spirit was produced without the constraints of time or money “This gin was really born of love, obsession, and some degree of madness,” says Martin Miller, “but in our determination to spare no journey and no expense to develop the consummate gin, we feel we’ve been very successful. It is a brand I enjoy and am proud to offer to anyone with a discerning palate.”

Miller's Gin, Gin, Miller's
The 2008 results of the International Review of Spirits Competition - held by the Beverage Tasting Institute – rewarded Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength London Dry Gin with a rating of 96 and a Platinum Medal. The lucky imbiber gets a hint of interesting botanicals including but not limited to violets, cucumber, herbal juniper and sweet citrus.

The Site:
The Proof: Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength London Dry Gin 90.4

Recommended Recipe: Westbourne Punch
(Created by Mixologist Jon Santer)

  • 1 1/2 ounces Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength Gin
  • 1 ounce St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Soda

Combine first four ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and shake. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with soda.

No. 209 Gin

From Gourmet magazine singing it’s praises in a 2007 issue to Simon Difford giving it his highest rating in his London Issue 5.3, No. 209 gin is putting a little sip of San Francisco on everyone’s lips. Registered Distillery No. 209 was established in St. Helena, California in 1882, and in 2005 it was recreated at Pier 50. The distillery is the only one built over water in the world,

The Site:
The Proof: 92

Recommended Recipe: The Oasis
(Created by Mixologist Jesse Narducci)

  • 4 Leaves of basil
  • 3 Slices of Parisian cucumber
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • 3 ounces No. 209 Gin
  • Splash of simple syrup

In shaker, macerate basil, cucumber, mint and lime with ice. Splash with simple syrup and add No. 209 Gin. Shake and serve up.

Aviation Gin

Aviation Gin, Gin, Aviation

Aviation Gin is a small batch New Western Dry Gin, produced at the House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon.

Aviation Gin, which takes its name from the classic Aviation Cocktail, evolved from a friendship struck in the summer of 2005, between Distillers Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad and noted northwest Bartender Ryan Magarian. After meeting for the first time, the three realized that they all shared the same passion for delivering liquid flavor experience through their own individual mediums; Lee and Christian through spirits and Ryan though hand-crafted cocktails.

Lee Medoff presides over a distillation process that begins with a maceration of botanicals that includes cardamom, lavender, coriander, anise seed, Indian Sarsaparilla, dried orange peel, and, of course, juniper, in 100% neutral rye grain spirit. Once the alcohol has soaked up all the flavor, the spirit is redistilled to arrive at the intensely flavored base product, which is then cut to 84 proof with de-ionized, de-mineralized, and desalinized water which affords these gentlemen the perfect “blank canvas” from which to paint the “flavor portrait” upon.

This spirit’s complexity and mixability are not that surprising when the team dynamic behind it is considered.

“Aviation Gin is thought to be the first true partnership between distiller and bartender in American history … ” says Co-owner Ryan Magarian. This means that Aviation distillers had a golden opportunity to gain firsthand insight on how it might work on the palate and in cocktails as the gin was being produced.

The Site:
The Proof: 84

Recommended Recipe: Pepper Delicious
(Created by Ryan Magarian)

  • 2 thin red bell pepper rings
  • Loose third pint full of mint
  • 2 ounces Aviation Gin
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice or 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

Muddle ingredients and shake. Serve up with a red bell pepper slice and mint sprig garnish.

From Genuine Gins to Gin

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