Sneak Preview: Varuna Cocktail


I’m excited today to share with you a second sneak preview from my forthcoming book Gin: the Art and Craft or the Artisan Revival. 

One of the biggest challenges I’ve found facing the recent explosion in quite excellent Aged Gins is the lack of cocktails to make with them. I partnered with friend and cocktail creator Justin (follow him on Twitter @thetoptippler) to help engineer some novel creations that highlight these new spirits. One which I’m really proud to share with you today is called the Varuna Cocktail and it is an unlikely pairing of aged gin and coconut rum that is absolutely sublime and unique. You’re going to love this drink as much as I do, I promise. And you can get a head-start on making one of these new aged gin cocktails today.

The Aged Gin!

I was playing around with Aged Gins and Justin’s cocktail. Roundhouse Spirits in Colorado makes a fantastic Imperial Barrel Aged Gin (). In the Varuna, Justin’s drink uses this gin to showcase the chamomile, floral, caramelized notes and marries them perfectly with the slight coconut note from the dash of rum, all in a rich, frothy texture.

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Tonic Water

Ruby D Extra Bitter Quinine Tonic

Extra bitter. Two words that are music to my ears (-1 pt, mixed metaphor) when it comes to food. Yes, I love the bitter and the challenging. And the folks at Ruby D have been doing some experimenting. They have a original, spice, citrus, and this one- the extra bitter. All are small (very small) batch, made by hand with organic agave and all natural ingredients.

Tasting Notes

This variation arrived with a LOT of sediment on the bottom, and the color of almost packed clay.

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Gin Reviews

Buss No. 509 Raspberry Gin

Buss No 509 Raspberry

We’ve reviewed some Gins from Buss Spirits before. This past June we took a look at their White Rain Gin (), but the Raspberry was the flagship entry in their Author Collection. Founder Serge Buss, best known for founding Bar Bounce in Antwerp, has since expanded the product range to include the aforementioned White Rain, but also a Peach variation as well. Bottled at a relatively low 37.5 ABV, first impressions have me thinking to expect a spirit with some liqueur like sweetness. The color is vivid, dark rose, with red hues that evoke the simultaneously the notions of fruit punch, but also [and unsurprisingly] raspberries. Let’s get past this book’s cover and get down to bussiness (ha! get it?)


Tart berry, cucumber, and faint intimations of banana as well in the background.

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Other Thoughts

Pre-order Gin! and Win a Tonic-lovers gift pack!


Pre-order GIN: the Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival and win a tonic lovers’ gift pack! I’ve selected five tonic syrups that cover the range from the popular to the obscure, so you can have a perfect accompaniment to your gin all fall and winter.

I know, I know, there’s only three in the picture, but here’s what you can win. 

Here’s How it Works:

Step 1: Pre-order the book at: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes and Noble, Indigo/Chapters, Waterstones or Book Depository. Will also be available at Bookstores everywhere! Support your local bookstores and find my book on Indie Bound.

Step 2: E-mail Me your proof of purchase/receipt:

I’ll be drawing the winner on September 10th, 2015! I’ll contact the winner randomly from all entries received. I will contact the winner via e-mail and I will ship you a box full to the brim with tonic-y goodness, and some other surprises!

Step 3: Read my book!

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Exciting News!

My book! comes out September 17th!

Find out more about the project, check out some previews, or subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest updates.

Pre-order the book at:
Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes and Noble, Indigo/Chapters, Waterstones or Book Depository.

Will also be available at Bookstores everywhere! Support your local bookstores and find my book on Indie Bound.

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