Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin throws around a new term, “Alpine Dry Gin.” There has been something of a major movement within the gin world for gins to lay claim to some sort of terroir, and there’s been some support for the designation Alpine, as referring to a gin which is very pine forward and borrows heavily from the region’s herbal spirits tradition. I’d like to reserve judgement on whether or not there is a distinct “Alpine Style” until a later time, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s once again in play here.
Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin uses two herbs which are rare in gin, but very common in bitter liqueurs. Take for one, Gentian root— one of the chief bittering agents in many aperitifs and bitters. You might have heard of a few such as Suze, Aveze and Salers Aperitif. These spirits are generally alpine in origin; therefore the use of it here is apt.
The next one is a plant called Masterwort, which was an important medicinal herb in Austrian history. It’s a flowering plant, closely related to celery, carrot and parsley, which has been used for its bitter flavoring in both beer and spirits.
Sweet and floral, with notes of Gentian a la Suze on the nose, pine-forward juniper and bitter orange zest.
The palate of Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin begins with a peppery, almost spicy entry. Gentian, and juniper come on mid-palate. There’s a noticeable strength and power to the base spirit here. There was a hint of berry on the nose, but here it comes on later more intensely. Rowan Berries (along with other berries) tend to impart a slightly sour, jammy note. I’d consider it in the ballpark of tart cranberries and elderberry jam.
The finish is lovely with a clean, almost aperitif inspired finish. The gentian influence is clear all throughout; however, certainly the other botanicals are working with it. There’s a gentle spice behind the gentian finish.
The digestif/aperitif influence manifests in cocktails. I find it works well with wormwood and spice in a relatively wet Martini, with a twist specifically. It also is delightful in a Negroni, absolutely kicking up the bitterness and palate cleansing portion.
I was less of a fan of it with the Gin and Tonic, vastly preferring it in the style of a Suze and Soda, served stirred over ice and garnished with an orange. Or adding a bit of Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin to your next Aperol Spritz.
Fans of aperitifs and bitters will likely be quite a fan of what Keunz Naturbrennerei have done here. But regular gin fans will be too, as long as they come ready for a more contemporary herbal take on gin.
Bartenders might be advised to be judicious about using Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin behind the bar. It’s unusual take certainly does transform cocktails, and especially in bars which cater to that bitter, amaro-loving taste, it will definitely elevate them to new heights.
I think Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin is best on its own though. Try it neat or on the rocks. It’s incredibly well made, and whether or not the Alpine Style is actually a style, Roter Turm Alpine Dry Gin should be somewhere on your “need to try list.”
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