Baffert’s mint flavored gin has a wonderfully distinctive bottle at first glance. Subtle, not over-designed, it elegantly spirals, emulating the swirl of the Baffert’s logo. Given how relatively uncommon mint gin is— at least in the modern day— its not as if Baffert’s needed to do anything to stand in a not-so-crowded marketplace.
At least that’s what you think. Until you look up Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin and see what kind of user they are targeting: “Bafferts offers a refined light taste that is perfect in Martini’s or a wide variety of cocktails that you would normally use vodka in.”
Baffert’s is targeting vodka drinkers and bills its mint flavored gin as an alternative to vodka in cocktails rather than a mint flavored alternative to what you might normally use gin in.
Smells exceptionally hot. Lots of ethanol burn in the nostrils. Slight hint of juniper, surprisingly little mint at first.
But the mint is not subtle once you get to the taste. Unlike other gins which include mint among the botanicals [Cardinal Gin from North Carolina for example] Baffert’s takes their namesake gin and infuses mint after distillation. Many gins add elements post-distillation, but it is worth pointing out, any gin which does so forfeits the legal right to call itself a London Dry Gin. So although the botanical mix of Baffert’s is pretty close to the usual classic formula, keep in mind, this is not a London Dry.
The taste is surprisingly smooth. The nose was a little hot, but the palette is clean and smooth. There’s a hint of juniper in Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin— smooth and crisp but with a lot— I mean a lot— of mint. The mint is dominating here, crisp and a bit floral, the mint is definitely of the spearmint variety. The finish is long and minty, but not altogether far from what you might expect.
I’m not going to tell you which vodka cocktails you should replace vodka with this gin in. But I will suggest a couple of gin drinks where a mint flavored gin might work well. The Southside is a clear winner, and it could even add a mint flavor without having fresh mint [good for Southsides in the winter]. I think if you’re into mint, it makes a good gin and tonic, but nothing too exceptional. It tastes more like a mint vodka when mixing than a gin with mint like qualities.
As it does pitch itself as a mint-gin replacement for vodka cocktails, I don’t think its fair to be too hard on them for this. It works well and does exactly what it says it should do.
Overall, Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin
As far as a mint gin, its among the better I’ve tasted. I think a little bit more juniper or coriander might go a long way towards making this gin a more balanced and more gin-like gin.