A bargain brand from a name that probably calls to mind vodka before it does gin. In fact, the Pinnacle Brand holds over forty flavored vodkas ranging from citrus to whipped cream. In the tradition of flavoring neutral grain spirit (which for the vodkas comes from a distillery in France), you might not be surprised they take their hand at a gin; however, it’s worth noting that the bottle says it is “distilled in England,” “distilled four times,” and bears the name “London Dry Gin.” So it is in fact something better than the brand itself might otherwise suggest. The botanicals are added via distilliation, and then the final product is cut with water from Wales. Beam Suntory bought the brand from the Maine based White Rock Distilleries a couple years ago, and although inexpensive, I find it a bit of a harder-to-find gin for a national brand.
From a distillery that’s been in operation since the 1980’s, formally known for their Eau De Vie, the team of Jörg Rupf, Lance Winters and Dave Smith have helped propel the same distillery the frontline of the gin world, making a line of gins that is as well-respected as it is imaginative: the Dry Rye which wears the Rye base on its sleeve, the legendary Faultline Gin, and their “it tastes like Redwood trees, but in a good way” Terroir Gin.
Russet in hue, Haber’s Hibiscus Spicy Hibiscus Tonic is the more floral offering to complement their primary offering Haber’s Tonic. Crafted in my very neighborhood, I’ve seen Haber’s locally at a few bars and small local stores. I included their tonic in my tonic syrup giveaway this past fall, and when I did, they sent me a preview of their forthcoming Hibiscus tonic.
On the nose, the syrup has a lot of ginger, hibiscus flower and vegetal, peppery notes underneath. Sipping it, you realize that the note of hot pepper and the label “spicy” doesn’t refer to an abundance of spice as much as it serves a note: there’s hot pepper in here.
In intention, Green Hat’s year round Navy Strength gin packs a punch with not just Green Hat’s signature blend of botanicals, but some added juniper. Bottles at 114 proof, it’s designed to be your go-to cocktail gin. Like the other products from Michael Lowe and John Uselton’s New Columbia Distillers, the gin begins as Red Winter Wheat, mashed, fermented, and distilled on their traditional copper pot still, vapor infused with botanicals ranging from the traditional like lemon and juniper, to the less traditional like celery seed and grapefruit.
We’ve previously covered Durham Distillery’s Conniption American Dry Gin, and much is similar. Distilled via a two step process in a German built pot-still, Conniption Navy Strength Gin still splits the botanicals into two batches for distillation (vacuum, and traditional) to maximize the aromatics expressed in the final product.
Like other Navy Strength gins, this one is bottled at 57%, giving it a bracing on its own character that is well suited to cocktail mixing. But more on that in a bit.
On the nose, coriander, resinous juniper, a touch of English cucumber and a delicate hint of caraway towards the back end.
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