It seems like there’s a few hot trends among gin distillers. One of them definitely is the creation of “seasonal” or “limited edition” runs. Green Hat Distilled Gin from New Columbia Distillers in Washington D.C. burst onto the scene just late last year, and in addition to their rather excellent, in this reviewer’s opinion, Green Hat Gin, they’ve released their first seasonal selection for this year’s spring and summer.
As it’s a seasonal gin for spring and summer, I’m heavily assuming this is a gin built for the official drink of summer: the Gin and Tonic. I’m going to factor that heavily into my review of this drink. In my opinion, if you’re putting out a seasonal gin for summer, you’ve got to be able to handle lazy days in the yard -being combined all willy-nilly with lemonade, tonic, or whatever else might be sitting in the cooler. But fear not, I’ll test it in some proper cocktails too, because although I like the idyllic vision of pulling a bottle gin out of the cooler on the beach, I know that properly made bar cocktails deserve a little bit of summer love too.
Green Hat Gin was bright, floral, and contemporary styled. Naturally, you might be expecting that here as well. If you did guess that, 10 points to you and your house. Now on to that tasting.
Nose and Palate
The nose immediately calls to mind a fresh field of flowers and cool homemade strawberry jam. It still has that citrusy, slight hint of spice nose that their main gin has as well. But overwhelmingly floral, but very nice. The taste starts out with a tinge of spice, leading with bright citrus. Lime and orange, but not entirely distinct. A bit of heat rises and that’s when the floral notes start to hit you, rose and lavender, and unusually sweet. There’s some juniper in the close, along with a peppery earthiness. Nice balance and a lot of distinct unique flavors.
Unusual Botanical Alert!
Green Hat’s seasonal gin features a botanical which I can’t say I’ve ever seen before in a gin: Fresh Cherry Blossoms. For those of you are who really into the idea that a gin’s unique botanicals should contribute a sense of place, there is a connection between Cherry Blossoms and Washington D.C.
Every spring Washington D.C. plays hosts to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The trees were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912, and the festival is a huge annual event attracting over 700,000+ people to Washington every year, with articles in all the major papers of when the Cherry Blossoms are in peak bloom.
In a way, the Cherry Blossoms are special to Washington, but also a note which pays homage to Japan. It’s an annual reminder that spring is official upon us.
And now back to your regularly scheduled tasting.
First, in a gin and tonic. The floral notes up front are kind of hidden and it puts a bit of emphasis on the tail notes of juniper and warm spice. Good, still somewhat floral, but perhaps not as overwhelmingly so as you might have expected. That touch of bitterness competes with the florals just a touch. To really highlight this drink, I think that it was best in the Gin Rickey, with an honorable mention to the South Side. It even mixed well with a batch of multi-citrus lemonade I had in the fridge [my lemonade used a mix of lime, orange, and lemon, perhaps the perfect counterpart to a gin which also uses three citrus fruits in it...].
I found that it actually made a rather good Negroni, the floral coming through nicely, but a mellow, almost cinnamon like sweetness on the close. I think that the best aspect of this summer gin is that at its slightly higher proof than regular Green Hat Gin, you’re getting a bit more of the gin character in some more complex mixed drinks. But oddly enough, I think that on its own the main Green Hat Gin is the perfect summer gin as well. Both work well in summer drinks, I’d take the main Green Hat over the Spring/Summer version in a Gin and Tonic by just smidge, but for those of you looking for a slightly different take on the floral bouquet from the standard offering, or just looking for something unique/novel for this spring, I recommend Green Hat’s seasonal offering.
Price: $34/ 750 mL
Origin: District of Columbia, United States
Best consumed: Executes several summer classics with utter precision: Southside and Gin Rickey among the standouts.
Availability: At the distillery and bars in Washington D.C. [very limited edition though]
Rating: Bright, floral and a great spring/summer gin to make those spring/summer cocktails. Love the increase in proof over the main Green Hat Gin, but its a tall order to compete as a spring/summer gin when the main offering already is a quintessential summer gin. For the season, I don’t think you can go wrong with either Green Hat in your cooler. That is if you’re the kind of guy or gal that packs a bottle of gin in your cooler.