Its the holidays. Perhaps you were expecting a holiday gift guide, or maybe the construction of some elaborate gin themed holiday staple (like a gin tree? like a gin-vent calendar?). I’m sorry to disappoint, but instead- bare with me here. I thought, let’s take a look at one of the most fabulous cocktails in the gin lover’s repertoire: the Aviation cocktail.
The Aviation is a fantastic cocktail for a few reasons. One, although its a gin drink, the violet + lemon combination is such a far cry from the bitterness of Gin and Tonic, that often times people are surprised to know its a gin cocktail. Its a great entry point to gin. Secondly, its a strong cocktail. The stereotype of gently colored drinks is that they’re “easy,” “gentle,” or otherwise fauxtinis. I assure you, this is none of those things. It is a definitively boozy cocktail. Third, I think its a great way to showcase some of the key characteristics of New Western/New American Gins. The floral notes of gins like Aviation, Seneca Drums or any of the G’vine gins are highlighted in this cocktail like none other.
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Spring 44 Gin is very on point with some of the more recent trends in gin and liquor overall. It uses several locally sourced botanicals and Rocky Mountain Spring water that bring to mind Cottage Grove Distillery’s location at 9,000 feet elevation in Roosevelt National forest. Sure, the vision I get in my mind is idyllic. A road that can only be accessed by four wheel drive; seeing the milky way from the backyard, the entirely-off-the-grid production process using solar panels (see the Spring 44story from their website for more). But how does the gin actually hold up?
Firstly, the flavor profile is something directly between London Dry and New American. Unlike many gins which boast a floral and somewhat exotic profile, there is a very noticeable juniper flavor here. And unlike many gins that put the juniper prominently in the mix, there’s a floral overtone. Would I be remiss in saying that if Aviation Gin + Beefeater had a child it would be something like Spring 44? Perhaps, but only because I wouldn’t want to say that Spring 44 can’t stand its own among gins. It does. In addition to the juniper and floral notes, there are mint, lavender, and even rosemary in the mix.
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