Metropologin is a “Minnesota Organic Gin,” which as the side of the bottle describes an evocative portrait, that it is designed to be enjoyed with the sun shining on your face at a lake [which is notable, given that Minnesota has 15,291 lakes*, 7 of which are named Elbow Lake and 14 Named Eagle Lake, but I digress]. Loon Liquors was the first distillery in Southern Minnesota in nearly a century. The base spirit is distilled from locally sourced Wheat and Barley, and the label reveals several hints that we might have a less than traditional botanical blend, indicating Black Currant, Rosemary and Cardamom. Though I mostly keep it to the product, let me just say: this is a beautifully designed bottle, with an Art Deco motif that suggests a prohibition era link that also, in the more recent cultural consciousness, strongly suggests the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie adaptation’s cover art.
All Gins containing: Black Currant
From the Boreal Plains comes Boreal Gin, from Duluth’s Vikre Distillery. The team at Vikre sought to capture something truly Minnesotan in culture and heritage with their line of gins. I spoke with Emily Vikre in my most recent book Gin: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival (available now!), so check out the book to learn more about the genesis of their distillery, their gins, and why Minnesota.
Vikre’s gins are made on a base of 100% Malted Barley, and though distilled several times so that the taste itself is clean, there’s a certain sweetness/heaviness that belies the team’s choice in base spirit. With Smoked Cedar, Sumac and Currant, their Boreal Cedar Gin might be the one that most jumps off the beaten path.
Let it be known that I am a fan of interesting flavors in my gin. I don’t shy away from a fruit or obscure herb here and there. That’s why I was ecstatic to try the Beefeater Summer Gin which boasts the power of “elderflower, black currant, and hibiscus.”
The tasting notes are decidedly floral, but the combination of flavors remind me more strongly of pomegranate than of Hibiscus and Elderflower. Elderflower might have been included only as a mixing hint (as in “hint hint: this would be great with St. Germain’s Elderflower Liqueur”). Fans of Beefeater’s classic London Dry Gin will not be disappointed as it is unmistakably Beefeater in taste and mouth feel. At first I could tell immediately that this was Beefeater, and then the fruit/floral notes come in at the end, finishing in a bit more crowd-pleasing fashion.
I would classify this as one of the “gateway” gins for non-gin-drinkers. It would probably mix well with Pama or St. Germain’s. The floral quality makes it a complimentary addition to an Aviation, and a satisfying, if unspectacular gin and tonic. Overall, its refreshing to see Beefeater expanding its reach with craft gins such as summer gin and Beefeater 24, but I would say for just a few dollars more you can find a gin that is much more satisfying and one that won’t be leaving shelves in a few short weeks.