We already talked about the history of the Gin 1495 in our previous entry on the Verbatim recreation of the gin. But now we’re going to try their modern interpretation, the one they designed to appeal to modern sensibilities, including a few more modern botanical additions.
Much quieter when compared side-by-side. Minty, menthol notes present, with ginger, nutmeg, grains of paradise and a slight, but present citrus lift with lemon and orange notes.
Bright green juniper present on the palate, with ginger and cinnamon jumping out, hints of cardamom as well, but they are much more restrained. An almost waxy juniper finish, with clove oil coming out again, fading gently with a sharp, warm ginger note.
Loud and contemporary, and clearly related to the first one. You can taste the similarities, but this is the superior gin [not the superior experiment! I’m only talking about the actual thing I’m drinking here]. There might be ⅓ the amount of ginger in here when compared to the first one, but that’s a good thing. It gives a rounder, more balanced approach. It shows you just what this gin could be.
In short, I’m not sure I would go out and buy this gin if it were on the shelf.
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Cocktail Historians [yes that’s a thing, apparently] have long been seeking out the origins of the drink we call “gin.”
The criteria for something to be a proto-gin are vague, though it is generally thought to be some combination of the below:
Distilled is important because gin is a spirit, and it represents a departure from the decoctions and juniper berry flavored beers and wines that were fairly common from the medieval era forward.
Grain based was important because it sought to represent a shift from the brandies, distilled wines, Steinhagers, Schnapps, and other spirits of the time which used juniper in other ways.
And finally, recreational was important because distilled juniper berry waters were once quite common, and although prone to abuse they were designed to be drank as medicine. Yes. people used their medicine for recreation, but the step towards gin was the intentionality of distilled a spirit strictly for enjoyment, with no pretense.
The 1495 Story in < 100 Words
Buried in the Sloane Manuscripts, Phillip Duff discovered the recipe calling for a mixture of several exotic spices and the word gorsbeyn, which depending on your translation could mean “frog” or it could be a corruption of the word for “juniper.” Assuming this is a correct reading of the word on the page, there’s no mistaking based on context that this wasn’t a medicine.
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Whenever I hear something like “it’s not possible to do something!” [particularly in the kitchen], it sounds to me like a challenge.
With carbonated liqueurs making appearances now in liquor stores, the most logical next step in my opinion is carbonated spirits. The logic in this is clear: it seems that more serious cocktail craft is here to stay. And with that, more folks drinking “neat” or heady drinks made mostly of alcohol with a single block of ice in it. Cocktail craft is about emphasis of the spirits and high quality ingredients. Diluting your spirit with extra ice, water, or worse soda water is something best left to dive bars and amateur night. Carbonating spirits seems the perfect way to get that burst of fizz that makes effervescent drinks such a pleasure to enjoy without shifting attention away from the alcohol. You see where I’m going with this?
I recently got two refills for my soda stream carbonator. So it was time to go to work.
On Process and some misunderstandings
First and foremost, yes it is possible to carbonate spirits but “The solubility of CO2 in all of the alcohol…decreases as temperature increases and pressure decreases”* There is less surface tension in alcohol than in water, so the higher the proof of your spirit, the quicker the carbonation will dissipate; therefore there are a couple of key things to consider when making a carbonate spirit.
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