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: Rosemary
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.
This limited edition Advent Calendar treat is brought to you through a partnership of the outstanding Southwestern Distillery and the folks at Gin Foundry. This exclusive run of only 250 bottles begins with the same 12 botanicals underlying their Tarquin’s Cornish Gin.
The Hedgerow Gin is a tribute to the 30,000 miles of its namesake which spread across the countryside, and play host to many herbs, flowers and weeds, which are familiar to the gin drinker: thistle? rose? sloes? Hedgerows were often a source of autumn fruit for residents of the British countryside. You can see evidence of this in the long tradition of Sloes [harvested after frost, mind you] and their addition to the world of gin.
Revolution Spirits you say? Yes, the revolution is certainly in the glass here. Only six botanicals are present: juniper, rosemary, lemongrass, grapefruit, lavender and pink peppercorn, built on a base spirit of Missouri corn and bottled at an assertive, but not overdone 100 proof, Austin Reserve Gin is confident, refined, and like the name might indicate, pushing the envelope just a tad.
Revolution Spirits is just one name in a burgeoning Austin, Texas Gin distilling scene, which already includes Genius Gin () and Treaty Oak Distilling whose Waterloo () and Waterloo Antique () have already set a high bar for Texas Gin.
While the Rosemary is the first thing you pick up on the nose, there’s more in the background to reward the careful noser/sniffer/soon-to-be-sipper. Lavender and grapefruit zest hover on the fringes as well, with a resiny juniper note a little further back.
The palate is clear and crisp juniper at first dancing with fresh garden picked juniper. There’s a floral hint in the background as well where orris meets lavender, and tart citrus rinds make themselves known as well— imparting a slight pithy bitterness which lingers through the medium long finish rife with resiny juniper, dried rosemary, and basil/sage notes as well.
If you asked me, “what is the hottest place for innovation in the gin spirit category,” I would obviously reply “The United States.” But suppose you asked me, “what would be the next hottest place for innovation in gin?” I wouldn’t even hesitate to say it is definitely Spain.
The contemporary gin movement is not limited to the states. It is alive and well on the Iberian peninsula, and as we’ll see with Gin Mare, this Mediterranean gin is wholly unlike anything I think I’ve had thus far.
I find that “sense of place” is among the most important things that affect the way people perceive something new. Considering that so many new microdistilled gins proudly advertise their place on the label; so many gins proudly source their botanicals locally [Waterloo Gin is no exception there], it makes sense that we’re not just talking about a drink: we’re talking about a drink and a place.
First, a Gin is In informal perception survey conducted on friends™ The other night my friends and I were enjoying some Adult Beverages™ containing everyone’s favorite [my favorite, and perhaps the only liquor that I have in quantities large enough to share at a party] liquor mixed with tonic. Because I’m a gin-geek, I love to ask people what they think of the gin. So, Waterloos and Tonic, all-around. My friends were positive, and they enjoyed it. I asked “where did you think it was from?” No one came up with Texas.
But once I told them it was from Texas, the characterization of the gin’s flavor changed:
G&T sipping friend A: I thought so, it tasted a bit ‘cactus-y’ G&T sipping friend B: I detected notes of ‘BBQ’
Of course this was all in good fun.