The United States is far from a homogeneous nation. From region to region, we have as much divergence in culture, climate, and attitude as some entire continents. But yet, often I am asked, “Which gins are the most quintessentially American?,” or “What is the most American gin?”
While I will go on the record saying, “I’m not quite sure that such a thing as the Most American Gin exists,” I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to try and compile a list.
That being said, this list is my opinion/thoughts on which gins are the most quintessentially unique American gins. You’ll notice two things: this list doesn’t correspond with my ratings [if you want that, just sort by the highest rated, find the American ones and boom!]. Second, you’ll notice my rationale isn’t always [only sometimes] about the flavor.
I’ve also set myself a couple of ground rules: 1 gin per distillery. Even if a gin makes a couple of worthy entries to this chart, I’m holding myself to just one. Two, it has to be what could somewhat be considered craft. I know this is a loaded term, but I’m excluding names like Seagram’s and Fleischmann’s [among which those two might be the biggest American distilled gins] to focus on the smaller guys.
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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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St George’s Spirits has gotten a lot of attention in the last year or so with its line of three gins. This is the first of our reviews of their gin line. We start with their Terroir Gin.
Terroir Gin might be among the strongest, most aromatic gins that I’ve encountered. Simply uncorking the bottle, one can smell the vibrant aromas of the terroir gin [note, while writing this review my wife could smell it from halfway across the room, a testament to the strong scent]. If St George’s Terroir Gin sought to emulate in gin form what I think of when I think of California, I think they’ve done a commendable job.
A lot of times when I talk about gin in the United States, I immediately begin to search my mind for memories of that place. A lot of times these memories are scenic roads, hiking in the woods, world’s largest[s], and of course good food. Some places, and in particular California, conjure up stronger, more visceral memories of what I think a place is. California for me isn’t [necessarily] the beaches and glamour of the south nor the sunny windswept dunes and rocky out crops of Mendocino.
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