In intention, Green Hat’s year round Navy Strength gin packs a punch with not just Green Hat’s signature blend of botanicals, but some added juniper. Bottles at 114 proof, it’s designed to be your go-to cocktail gin. Like the other products from Michael Lowe and John Uselton’s New Columbia Distillers, the gin begins as Red Winter Wheat, mashed, fermented, and distilled on their traditional copper pot still, vapor infused with botanicals ranging from the traditional like lemon and juniper, to the less traditional like celery seed and grapefruit.
All Gins from Washington D C
I’d say more distillers are willing to be highly transparent about their botanical bill than their grain bill. The team at One Eight Distilling doesn’t publicly disclose much of their botanicals, but they will be even more specific than you might expect about their grains. This is interesting, as one of the major contentions of the Craft Spirits movement is that “grain to glass” is the only thing which should qualify as craft*.
The season: that is the winter, brings to mind the notions of warmth, heat, and coziness. When I think of those words in terms of spirits, I generally thing of “aged,” “warming,” a bit “hot,” and “spiced.” If I were to paint a picture of the ideal winter spirit, it might capture as many of those ideals as possible. Some gins are naturally full of warm baking spice. Some gins are a bit hot, served over 80 proof, giving a nice warm feeling when sipped. And finally some gins are aged. And then yet other gins are all of the above:
What exactly is a “Ginavit”
Technically, an Aquavit should derive its primary flavor from Caraway or Dill, but like gin the notion of “primary flavor” has a great deal of variance from one distiller to another. Additionally Aquavit is rarely solely flavored by Caraway or Dill: other botanicals (herbs and spices) are used to create each distiller’s individual recipe. You might see how there’s a lot that these two spirits have in common right from the outset. Many of the traditional gin botanicals (anise for example) are common in Aquavit as well.
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.
A couple of weekends ago I paid visit to Washington D.C.’s preeminent Gin distillery. Not only was it great to meet the people behind the operation, see their great space, but I was also amazed at the buzz of activity in their distillery on a Saturday afternoon. People were laughing loudly at a bottling party; there was a constant stream of folks coming in for tastings and tours. I’ve been in some museums that would be envious of the size of the tour group that I saw in the distillery on this Saturday. So all in all, the distillery was quite a hub of activity in what at first sight seemed like a rather out of the way location in Washington D.C.*.
Now there are two things most people want to know about this gin.
One) How does it taste. Two) Why “Green Hat.”
Well I’m only equipped to answer one of those questions. If you want to learn about the Green Hat, go to the New Columbia Distillers’ website. The come back here for the review.
About the Gin, not the Hat. The nose is very floral, very pronounced.