Hoxton Gin, if it were to be personified in a film, would be that kid who was born into a family of car salesman. Great grandfather sold Fords; Grandpa sold Fords; and his father sold his first Mustang a month before he could drive one. Undeterred by the specter of the family business hanging over his head and ten tons of expectations, the kid decides he wants to be a banker, an artist, a poet, or whatever. Its not the what that matters so much as the fact that he does something with his family name (still renowned for their cars) that’s as far from the auto lot as possible. Ladies and Gentleman, meet Mr. Hoxton. Hoxton gin that is.
Its reputation surely precedes it. I knew about this divisive spirit* long before I’d ever had a chance to taste it. There’s been many posts and impromptu twitter conversations that can be summed up in two words: “really? Conconut!?” To be fair, Hoxton doesn’t shy away from this. Their bottle warns you right from the outset. If you don’t like coconut and grapefruit, then you should stay away.
Bold and perfumed.
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In studying the Greyhound/Salty Dog cocktail in depth, it occurred to me that there may be a way to really accentuate the fresh grapefruit flavor by using a gin which really emphasizes grapefruit among its botanicals.
I’ve previously spoken very highly of Brecuklen Distilling’s Breucklen Gin. It has a slightly higher alcohol percentage than other gins. At 90 proof it stands mixing extremely well.
I felt based on the first time tasting it that the dominant flavor in this gin was the grapefruit. While other gins dabble in this flavor, Breucklen is the boldest that I have yet had.
So how did the cocktail work?
Grapefruit + grapefruit = grapefruit. The outcome of this rather obvious (in hindsight) equation is that the drink takes on a “one note” character. The thing that is lacking is that spicy juniper punch that normally balances the greyhound.
This is why I took the Salty Dog approach and added a bit of kosher salt to the rim. The salt takes the edge off the grapefruit a little bit, but it wasn’t enough to really balance the cocktail.
Breucklen Gin works well in so many cocktails, but in this case I think my cocktail concept suffered from a little bit too much of a good thing.
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Oxley gin holds a special place in this blog already. It was the gin we chose to take on vacation with us, which means that from the outset it met a very specific set of criteria.
Firstly, we wanted something that was classically styled, and capable of “tasting like gin” in any cocktail it was put in. Second, it had to be versatile and capable of doing many things well.Finally,we wanted a gin that was capable of keeping gin devotees interested. Oxley accomplished all of these things and was a good companion on this trip. We put it to work in many Gin and Tonics (w/ Fever Tree); we tested its mettle by making a pitcher (yes, you read me correctly: a pitcher) of Corpse Reviver #2s.
On to the Review Proper: Oxley’s story
Be prepared for a bit of science class here. So Oxley is “cold distilled,” as to not impart some of the bad notes that heat distillation can impart upon a spirit…
My Take: I want to interject and formally declare shenanigans. I don’t distill myself, but I’m not sure that I’m necessarily buying this. I think cold distillation is novel, different, and can facilitate the addition of different flavors (with different results) but I’m not buying the fact that other gin and spirits have bad flavors.
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I have been excited to try this gin since the day I read that two gin distilleries were opening in Brooklyn, NY. The New Yorker in me was thrilled that a craft, seemingly regulated out of existence in urban areas, was coming back to the city I lived in.The gates opened this past spring, and a short couple of weeks ago I finally picked up a bottle.
The first thing I noticed was the lovely bottle complete with a classy wax-sealed top. Anxious to try, I grabbed a knife, slit the wax and poured myself a gin and tonic. The first thing that I noticed was the powerful scent of citrus. The bottled smelled noticeably more of citrus than many other gins I’ve tried – but it wasn’t just the smell, it was the components of the smell, and Brecuklen is the only gin I know of where grapefruit stands so boldly.
The grapefruit is hardly a secret, nor are any of the other botanicals in this gin. Brad Estabrooke, the distiller himself, told the Village Voice that in addition to juniper and lemon, rosemary and ginger are also in there.
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