Articles Tagged: New York

Gin Reviews

Averell Damson Gin Liqueur

averell-damson

Another New York take on Sloe Gin, Averell Damson Gin has two things going for it: The Damson is another local specialty, and upstate farms are known for their Damson harvests. The second thing is, for a cordial gin, it’s bottled at a relatively high proof: 66. Because of that you get a strong, spirit that holds up to drinking neat and in cocktails. Let’s take a closer look.

Tasting Notes

The color is a deep burgandy red, bole/terra rosa, with a rich brown note.

Neat, the nose is spicy with hints if cinnamon and ginger. Cherry jam in the middles notes with sweet raspberry with a tart edge in lows. Touch or orange and citrus highlights as well.

On the palate, starts with a beautiful flourish of spice and fruit up front, rising in unison with a sharp and bright rise. Little bit of gin notes in the background, what tastes like a hint of juniper, with some spice again. Definitely taste some gin in here. Possibly owing to the proof of the spirit, the base character comes through quite sharply.

Cocktails

First, in the Sloe Gin Fizz it has a sweet and surprisingly subtle character.

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Gin Reviews

Comb 9 Gin

comb 9 bottle

[Image from SummerFruitCup.com]

I’ve made a lot over the base spirit that distillers use to build their gin upon. We’ve seen apple, potato, rye, molasses, corn, and any other manner of grains. But until today, we haven’t seen a gin that uses honey. And to be very specific, orange blossom honey.

Oranges? Orange Blossom Honey is a monofloral honey, which means that it is predominantly the honey produced by bees pollinating a single species of plant. Orange Blossom Honey is highly regarded since at the time bees are pollinating orange flowers, not much else is in bloom. Therefore, Orange Blossom Honey is rather pure, and has a unique bright floral qualities.

StilltheOne Distillery takes advantage of these floral properties and distills a base that is wholly unique and maintains hints of those floral qualities in the end products [which include a vodka and a brandy in addition to their gin].

Nose? Sweet and rich, but simultaneously not that strong. Softly floral. It doesn’t scream out gin on the nose.

Taste? While the nose is rather mild, the taste is vivid. Lots of juniper up front, floral with hints of citrus. Some of the floral notes intimate notes of elderflower and lavender.

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Top 10s

Top 10 NYC Bars for Ginlovers

# Last Year 2 Years Title —

1 1 1 Dutch Kills    My enduring favorite happens to be in my home borough. But one visit and you’ll see that this isn’t just blatant homerism. Good cocktails and the well educated bartenders have a seemingly endless list of “boozy gin cocktails without dairy, saved straight up.” 2 2 2 Amor Y Amargo  Though not really a “gin bar” and not really just a bar as much as also a “bitters showroom,” good gins often play a key role in Amor y Amargo’s cocktail concoctions. 3 3 – Madame Geneva  Though recently enduring a lot more competition in New York city for the title “best gin selection,” Madame Geneva’s nearly 50 gins are if not the city’s biggest, definitely in the top 5. Combine that with one of the best feels and largest sitting areas, its one of the city’s best gin dens. 4 – – The Gin Palace  Though some of you might get me for having the two places which specialize in gin at 3 and 4, it should hardly be considered a check against these places. Though the selection is slightly smaller than Madame Geneva’s, and has slightly fewer American made gins, it had a few more obscure entries.

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Gin Reviews

Dorothy Parker Gin

dorothy-parker-bottle

Who is Dorothy Parker? First and foremost, who is Dorothy Parker? and why is a gin named after her?

Probably her best link to gin is her widely known quote “‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!'”

 Attributable quips aside, she was a renowned screenwriter, poet and critic. Her wit was described as “caustic,” and cost her a job with Vanity Fair in 1920 when higher-ups grew tired of  her bold criticisms. She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a 1920’s association of influential New York City writers. She was a social activist, whose  left-wing activities actually got her on the Hollywood Blacklist despite two academy award nominations for her work.

So it was her reputation in the New York City arts scene, her wit, and her enthusiasm for gin which led to New York Distilling Company naming one of their two flagship gins after her.

And on to the Gin: The nose is sweet and floral. Hibiscus and fruit. It smells sweet. In my initial notes I had written ‘reminds me of Starbucks’ passion fruit ice tea.’ Bright, refreshing, inviting and somewhat unique.

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Cocktails

50 States of Gin: The Winners of Each Round

Naturally, when there’s 30+ gins to be tasted it cannot be done all at once. As much as we’d like to try, to do a proper tasting our livers and mental capacities just couldn’t take it. So in order to give every gin a proper tasting and a fair shot, we spread it out into 6 mini tastings over the course of a long day. So as promised, here’s a recap of what we tasted side by side and with what–  and I’ll share with you my top two from each heat.

For full gin reviews of every gin covered in the 50 States of Gin tasting, you’ll have to stay tuned to the Gin is In this fall. If my first post was the 10 miles high overview, this is the one from 50,000 feet. The full reviews will be on the ground: up close and personal.

Heat #1 ///

The Participants: Dogfish Head Jin from Delaware [the nation’s first state, I’m sure you see where we’re going with this], Pennsylvania’s Bluecoat Gin, Southern Gin from Georgia, Gale Force Gin from Masscahussetts and finally, New Hampshire’s Karner Blue gin.

Overall a strong opening.

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Gin Reviews

Greenhook Ginsmiths’ American Dry Gin

greenhook-bottle

You’ll have to excuse me, if at first I seemed a bit skeptical of “vacuum distillation.” My previous experience with a gin extolling the virtues of its lower temperature distillation process was the estimable Oxley Classic Dry Gin. And although Oxley was an alright gin, I thought that the emphasis on process was disproportionately to justify what I felt was a rather exorbitant cost (~60 dollars).

So naturally, when Greenhook Ginsmiths’ American Dry Gin hit the market at half the price of the market’s biggest name in vaccum distillation, I was intrigued. When I saw the botanical list, I was even more intrigued.

What are We Looking For? Of course there’s going to be some juniper, but it was the supporting cast which caught my eye.  Ceylon Cinnamon [also sometimes referred to as “True Cinnamon” which I think is a bit sweeter and brighter. This may be a cinnamon-geek note here, but I think it makes a difference], along with Elderflower [the trend is alive!] and Chamomile [my favorite kind of tea and a rather unique note]. But another thing caught my eye- Tuscan Juniper. Like I said, I know my types of cinnamon, but origin-specific juniper is actually rather rare in botanical lists.

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Gin Reviews

Carnaby’s Gin

carnaby gin

I wanted to title this feature “IT CAME FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF.” You know, give it a bit of a “B-Movie” sort of feel. But in retrospect I was uncertain whether or not that may be fair. I want to be a neutral reviewer of gin and give all gin an equal chance. There’s a whole lot more than just quality that goes into shelf position. Sometimes the big brand names get the prime real estate. Sometimes its simply about price. Other times it alphabetical, promotional, capricious, etc. There’s no reason, so I want to come and approach Carnaby’s gin with an open mind. So here we are Carnaby. You and your plastic bottle. What do you have to offer us gin drinkers of the world?

First Impressions The scent of Carnaby’s gin remarkably unoffensive and neutral. There’s a faint hint of juniper, but not much else. There’s not even a strong scent indicating that this is alcohol from the outset.

What’s Supposed to be in Here/What were you expecting? I try and go in cold most of the time. I try not to know what the botanicals are when I go into a review.

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Gin Reviews

Seneca Drums Gin

seneca drums

New Years Resolution: Maybe a bit more personal photography. At left, we have a lovely picture of Seneca Drums gin, a bottle that I purchased while in Buffalo celebrating the holiday season with family. I bought it because it was “local:” the Finger Lakes Distillery is about 45 minutes south of Rochester near Burdett. NY. I’d never seen it at my usual liquor store favorites in New York City, so I gave it a shot. I’d never had a gin from upstate, but considering how good the one from downstate was, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.

The first thing I noticed about Seneca Drums was the floral scent. Upon opening the bottle, I immediately drew a parallel to G’vine’s Floraison. Both use a grape spirit base in addition to neutral spirits to create a more unique and distinctly American style gin.

The juniper is subtly there, as is the citrus- perhaps a bit of orange and lemon, in addition to an assortment of herbs. Seneca Drums claims there are 11 different herbs in their gin. There were hints of clove and coriander, but none truly stood out above all the others.

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