From the Sunshine capital of the United States,* comes a gin which seeks to capture that in a bottle. Emblazoned with a giant sun on the bottle, Old St. Pete Tropical Gin rests on that which its namesake sunshine and tropical climate combine to produce the most of: citrus fruit**. But it’s not all sunshine and citrus. Director of Product Development Daniel Undhammer Sr. is a Londoner by birth, who moved to Florida to start his distillery. In a recent Tampa Tribune interview, Undhammer described their gin as a little bit of old meeting new.
Articles Tagged: Citrus
The Boylan Bottling company has teamed up with W&P design to elevate their line of sodas with the cocktail audience in mind. Boylan Heritage Tonic eschews the distinctive longneck bottles and throwback Boylan look and instead occupies a shorter, fatter bottle (like others, including Q Tonic in this space) and sports a simple, stylized, rustically designed bottle that looks exactly like it should belong in the cooler at your local cocktail joint. In short, they’ve hit the mark. It looks like a high end tonic. But how does it taste?
Soda like, with quinine and sweet orange zest on the nose, lemon-lime soda, the palate is clean and crisp, with a pleasant dry lemongrass and lemon-lime soda/7up sort of flavor, that gets drier and more bitter on the finish with quinine and bitter orange notes taking over.
If you’ve already picked up my book Gin: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival (available now, worldwide!), you’ve already seen my notes for Solveig Gin. But it’s such an intriguing and interesting gin (not to mention one of the most handsome bottles I’ve seen) that I’m going to talk about it again here.
What is Solveig?
First, the name itself is relatively well recognized in Scandinavian Culture. It comes from the Old Norse, for a “child of the sun,” or “the sun’s strength.”
The gin itself is grain to glass, with its base distilled of Hazlet Winter Rye, a hardy winter rye grown widely across Canada and the Northern United States where harsh, cold winters are the norm, In what’s becoming more common, each botanical is distilled individually and then blended to produce the final product.
El Guapo Bitters British Colonial Style Tonic Syrup fits squarely into the modern day trend of commercial tonic syrups. It’s also designed to be “highly concentrated” so that you only need a dash for each serving, Whereas many syrups minimum G&T serving is around 1 oz. [and therefore 8-9 servings per bottle], El Guapo suggests ¼ oz, which would give you a whopping 34 G&T’s from the 8.5 oz bottle.
The nose is dusty and thick, with aromas of clay, barbeque pit, and tart, sweet, citrus fruits: lemon and orange primarily. Ginger hovers hazily in the low notes with some wood as well.
On its own, it’s incredibly thick and viscous. Argent citrus zest aglow at first, lemongrass, tart grapefruit juice, and a wood. It has the flavor of quinine bark— you’ll especially know this if you’ve ever opened up a package of the bark yourself, you get the aroma of the bark without the bitterness, that’s what’s happening here. The finish is tart, with lemongrass, and a peculiar dustiness as well. It has some interesting flavors to be sure, but it’s lacking in that bitter quinine quality. Also, keeping in mind that this is supposed to be highly concentrated, I’d imagine not many people are drinking the syrup on its own.
The discussion around it on the internet seems to be alike “gin snobs don’t like it because of its citrus-forward approach. I’d like to dispel that notion first and foremost. The citrus-forward perspective is NOT a reason unto itself. Here at The Gin is IN we’ve prided ourselves in reviewing contemporary style gins as spirits worthy of discussion on their own merits. We don’t penalize spirits for having a different take on gin. Lacking in juniper alone is not grounds for a bad review.
This is a re-write of an earlier review I did of New Amsterdam Gin. I feel like in reading some of my writing from the beginning of the blog I didn’t give the gins as thorough of a treatment as my later ones. Given the enduring popularity of this gin, I’ve been dying to give it a proper review and treatment. The original version of this was written in 2010. So for 2015, I’m going to give New Amsterdam a second chance. A clean slate as you will. I’m going to review this gin as if I had never reviewed it. Without further ado, let’s begin as we begin every other review here.
Thirteenth Colony Distillers unsurprisingly hails from the United States’ thirteenth colony, and the nations’ fourth state. The gin is called Southern Gin and it comes from a land probably best known for its peaches and pecans. I will say that, and just to dispel the notion that just because a distiller is so proud of their heritage that their distillery is named after the place it comes from; their gin is named for the region they come from, but its not so literal as that its pecans and peaches all the way.
Instead, Southern Gin is refreshing classic styled gin. Bottle and name pays tribute to the self, but the drink itself pays tribute to something even further back in Georgia’s history, that is the place that Georgia’s founder James Oglethorpe was born: Merry Olde England.
Tasting and the Nose The nose is sweet and inviting. A fair amount of juniper. It smells mild and pleasant, with nary a trace of alcoholic burn on the nose.
The taste actually is remarkably true to the nose too. The profile is affable, sweet juniper which fades into warm citrus. Lemon up front but hints of other citrus as well, intimations of grapefruit.
Plymouth Gin was one of The Gin is In’s earliest 5 Star Gin Reviews. As part of the 50 States of Gin tasting, we had a Navy Strength Gin tasting where we compared some of the big names in the industry to some of the new offerings from U.S. microdistilleries.
Plymouth is the five hundred pound gorilla. One of the best gins out there with one of the most storied pasts, and this gin whose Navy Strength gin is perhaps most synonymous with the term Navy Strength Gin.
At 57%, its heated and intense. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
How does Plymouth’s Navy Strength Gin stand up to the lofty standards set by its forebearers?
Tasting Q. Aaron, does it taste significantly different than the regular Plymouth Gin?
A. The strength. No, rather, the lack of dilution. It emphasizes different notes. (drinks gin) Really, while the mainline gin you kind of feel this balance. (drinks gin) Here the citrus seems rather dominating. The juniper comes in on the finish.
Q. Does the 57% affects its drinkability?
A. As I’m drinking it right now. Neat. A little bit, honestly, I’d be hesitant to recommend it to someone neat.
Seagram’s Gin is the best selling gin in America; therefore it warrants a closer look. I know that immediately it embodies one American virtue: thrift. This may be the only gin I review that I can tell you with confidence, “yes, they do sell it at Walmart.” In fact, this gin could be the next entry in my “It came from the Bottom Shelf” series. But although widely available we’re interested if the taste lives up to the hype. Does it warrant being the best selling gin in America.
But first, an Experiment! At a recent party I held a blind taste test for two of my friends. Both are gin drinkers who are familiar with gin and this blog. I offered them each two plastic party cups. One contained Seagram’s Dry; the other had Oxley. I asked them both “which one do you think was the more expensive gin?” Both chose Seagram’s.
So does that mean that Seagram’s is a better gin than Oxley?!
First Scent If I did not know already the cost of this gin, I likely would have thought based on scent alone that this was a rather good gin.
Krahn has been on the lower shelf of my neighborhood liquor store for a long time. And for some reason I was always reluctant to try. It was the last gin that they stock that I bought. And once I had it at home and began mixing with it, I was not sure why I had taken so long. It was actually quite excellent. First a bit of background on DH Krahn gin. Its an upstate New York microdistillery founded by two graduates of Cornell University. They do a few things to distinguish themselves from the outset. Firstly, the user a maceration process to impart the flavors to the gin. This seems to become more and more common among gins with exotic flavors. The more unusual distinguishing notes are the single distillation. Its marketing vogue to distill things multiple times. DH Krahn Gin makes me question the purposes of these multiple distillations- if you can make something this smooth from a single pass, why go two, three, four or more times? Anyway, I digress, but this is also the only gin I know of which is put in steel for a few months before bottling.
I have covered American Dry and London Dry styles of gin at length. I’ve talked about Genever. So that really leaves Old Tom and Plymouth as the two types I haven’t covered. Today, we’re going to fill in one of these glaring omissions: Plymouth Gin.
Plymouth Gin is a combination terroir/trademark. Only one maker is permitted to use the term “Plymouth Gin” and that is the distillery Plymouth, Coates and Co. which is located on the port of Plymouth on the English Channel. Plymouth gin is one of those odd examples where the brand and the style are one and the same. So this review will talk about Plymouth, but also more generally the style.
The flavors are not out of the ordinary for gin. There’s a strong citrus element and a strong juniper element. The flavor is smooth, but astringent. It has a bit of an oily lingering, but very pleasant mouth feel. It makes for a superb martini (in fact is the gin style that Winston Churchhill preferred for his famous no-vermouth martini) and a stunning gin and tonic. The smooth citrus and predominating juniper makes it a perfect example of what a gin and tonic in its platonic ideal should be.