Old St. Andrews’ Pink 47 Gin pushes the envelope in a couple of novel directions. Featuring 12 botanicals (including almond, cassia, nutmeg and juniper), I caught an interesting note about it which indicates that it features TWO(!) different kinds of coriander and angelica among its ingredients.
Yes, while garden angelica is the most common angelica in gin (Angelica archangelica), it’s far from the only edible kind of angelica- and the floral character can vary from species to species. Angelica Lucida is a coastal plant which is eaten as if a celery. Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) is an edible, pernicious weed, run rampant in the Canadian maritimes. There’s others two, so clearly plenty of candidates for a second angelica ingredient….
Pink 47 is based on a neutral grain spirit and bottled in a faceted pink diamond bottle.
Nice, bright juniper nose, with a modicum of leafy herbs and a some clear coriander mixed in there as well. Very classic, with the herbs and minty notes a bit lower in the mix, coming through more clearly as the spirit warms.
Overall, the spirit feels thinner than expected on the palate. Lots of crisp, juniper reveling in its herbaceous side.
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Knickerbocker hails from Holland, Michigan (just on the shores of Lake Michigan) and the bottle proudly looks backwards to those who looked forward. “Knickerbocker” was the name attributed to Dutch settlers of the American continent. As the Dutch founded New York née New Amsterdam (hence the New York Knicks), so did the Dutch found Holland, Michigan and hence the name of New Holland Brewing Company’s Knickerbocker Gin. History aside, I think this is a rather apt name for the gin. But first, the tasting.
The nose is rather clean. Warm notes of lemon rind, sharp juniper and a little bit of alcohol are present. You can tell that this gin is going to have a little bit of harshness to it. But you can also tell that this gin is going to put on a traditional dry profile. There’s a faint sweetness present, but overall you would think this in the Classic style and you would be correct.
The taste opens with warm juniper on the front of your tongue, giving way to a little bit of alcoholic heat (again, at 85 proof I found that a bit surprising. It tastes a bit stronger than it is).
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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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When that lovely, shining, splendid, peculiar, and delicious gin arrived in my mailbox I was ecstatic. Despite this technological and fast-moving world we live in- where I receive literally HUNDREDS of pieces of mail every day (most of which is electronic and useless)- a package, or even that simply piece of real physical mail with your name on it is a wonderous thing. Its like Santa Claus myth (sorry kids) for adults. And when its something you want? even better.
Like a kid on Christmas morning I wanted to play with my new gin. How would Hendrick’s hold up to the challenge that I had setup for it:
Fever Tree Bitter Lemon + Hendrick’s Gin + a dash of simple syrup = ?
Setting the Scene:
I bought a 4 pack of Fever Tree’s tonic water a while back, but silly me. I didn’t check the package to make sure that all 4 were Tonic Water. The outside said “4 tonic water,” the inside said “ha-ha! 2 Tonic waters, 1 club soda and 1 bitter lemon, good luck making use of that combination,” and then the voice disappeared into the space between my oven and the cupboards, a space where few souls dare to trade save an occasional mop or dropped candy corn.
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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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The Tom Collins is a classic standby for me when in someone’s house. Its easy to make, nearly any kitchen at any house has all of the ingredients. Its a drink I also avoid when out, because there still exists the kind of bar out there that will drown your sorrows with the dreaded yellow kool-aid better known as “sour mix.” Ugh!
So the other day reading up on my cocktails, I stumbled across the Underhill Lounge’s historical investigation of the cocktail known as “The Bees Knees.” The drink is a simple enough cocktail: replace the simple syrup in a Tom Collins with honey, shake and serve.
The honey can be rather cloying and sweet, but it lends a certain gravity to the drink. Whereas the Collins is essentially sippable, the Bees Knees tastes thicker and feels more satisfying. Its the gin drinker’s answer to “sooth your sore throat with a tea and honey.” (unless you fancy a hot gin Toddy, which in that case I’m curious to hear how well that works for you)
Another take on the Bees Knees is held by Jeffrey Morganthaler. He advocates making a simple syrup out of the honey (more Tom Collins like), but he also says that white rum makes an acceptable substitute.
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When I was young (oh so young, and foolish may I add) I thought a Tom Collins = Gin + Sour Mix. Now, for the sake of not calling any one bartender out or any one specific bar tending school whose manual spelled out a Tom Collins as such I will let them go nameless in the hope that its not too late to right their wrongs and make an honest Tom Collins.
Firstly, the drink hails from the late 19th century, first appearing in an 1876 publication by the name of The Bartender’s Guide which spelled out the recipe as followed:
Juice of One Lemon
5 to 6 dashes of Gum Syrup
1 “wine glass” of gin
Soda “until lively.”
Despite nearly a century’s worth of time passing, the drink has managed to the modern day roughly unchanged, though variations do exist. For the average kitchen, superfine sugar makes an acceptable substitute. Though most recipes specify sugar/simple syrup. Though as you’ll notice, many of these recipes call for some additional fruit. Maraschino cherries are the most commonly cited for garnish, and followed in a near second by orange slice.
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