This is our annual look at our top 10 favorite gins of all time for the year 2012.
Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
Its going to be hard to displace this gin from the top perch of my chart, but let me say, in this past year there were a lot of worthy competitors for this title. I still love the blend of juniper, citrus and the subtle sweetness that cucumber brings to this gin. Refreshing, invigorating and it works in every cocktail.Quote from review: “Miller’s gin balances a crisp clean Juniper flavor with a hint of Citrus sweetness. These two flavors are in such perfect harmony, that Miller’s is the epitome of versatility in gin.“
St. George’s Terroir Gin
Those of you going straight off of my “ratings” may be surprised to see a gin that I gave 4.5 stars to rising above others that I gave five to, but let me offer you this. The way that this flavor sticks with you, vividly in your memory long after the bottle is finished is exactly why this gin ranks so highly in my book.
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This review is only for the 55% ABV version of Old Raj.I have not had the 46% version. Though the 55% shares much in common with its lower ABV sister, they are different products. This one is the blue one, the other one is red. Now that we’ve cleared that up….
Old Raj begins with a classic set of botanicals among which are juniper, citrus, coriander, cassia, and other classics. But what really sets it apart is is slight golden tint, which is a result of the post-distillation addition of saffron.
In some Saffron gins, I’ve felt that the balance in favor of the Saffron was too one-sided
This isn’t the first saffron-infused gin that we’ve reviewed. Most notably, Gabriel Boudier’s with its vivid tangerine hue (sure to stand out in any bar). I was critical of saffron gin previously as I felt that the prominent stage that was given to the saffron- a definitively non-traditional gin flavor- made it a difficult sell in most gin cocktails. This is where I think Old Raj excels: it puts the balance back into the gin and makes a gin which excels in mixing as a normal gin, but one that has enough saffron to make a difference.
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Dolin’s Rouge is one of my favorite varieties of sweet Vermouth. It tastes thicker than Martini & Rossi. It is lighter than most other Vermouths, and I think makes it an excellent counterpoint to the a thick full bodied Campari (but more on that later). Dolin has a strong bouquet reminiscent of caramel and dried fruit, but unlike many sweet Vermouths it isn’t exceptionally sweet. Its well balanced with sufficient complexity as a good dessert wine ought to have. It has a palette cleansing bitterness at the end, which makes it ideal as an aperitif and a Vermouth in true aperitif fashion (and perhaps ideal for an aperitif cocktail). Although I’ve expressed preference for Vya in the past, I want to say that Dolin Rouge is a very near second.
Old Raj’s 110 proof is a strong and flavorful gin. Warm, Silky, and almost luxurious tasting as a result of the Safron that has been added to the mix. I tend to be biased towards stronger gins in the Negroni, because of the opinionated and strong co-stars in this cocktail.
For this Negroni, as the Dolin Rouge brings flavor, but not the thickness of some other Vermouths, the trick is to thicken up the Campari.
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