“The closest Caribbean island to the United States, it’s long been a haven for pirates and bootleggers, a destination for sport-fishermen and treasure hunters, and an escape for writers and artists.” [source] This is the story that Round Turn Distilling of Biddeford, Maine taps into with their Bahamas-invoking Bimini Gin.
The cold winters of the American Northeast may be one reason that Round Turn Distilling has expanded so widely in that region. After all, what keeps you warm better during a February nor’easter or Thanksgiving blizzard than dreams of the Bahamas?
Round Turn makes Bimini Gin out of an old textile mill. Their still is steel and copper, modern and ancient. To quote their their website, “The still is itself an embodiment of tradition informed by innovation.” Darren Case, Round Turn’s master distiller moved from Brooklyn back to Maine where he incorporates grapefruit, hopes and coriander into a base of grain spirit to create a gin that is as gin-like as it is usable in your standard light rum drinks.
The nose becomes almost literal once you know the botanicals in Bimini Gin. Hops and honey kissed grapefruit zest jump forth from the glass. It’s bright. It’s vibrant. But it’s also a little light on the juniper and traditional gin notes, at least at first nose.
The palate is a bit darker in flavor than the nose. Bimini Gin does begin with those same, white grapefruit flesh notes you get on the nose. Underneath that though is a bold blend of gin spice. Coriander adds an earthy touch here. But what I think is really surprising is that despite the 100% neutral grain base spirit there’s a strong note of grain on the palate. You get a bit of a genever-like note with grain, barley and malt. Combined with the hops, Bimini Gin has a finish that invokes slight comparison to something like an American-style IPA.
There’s a long finish with a moderate amount of warmth. Hops adds a grassy, green note to the finish, but malty, warm and cereal is almost the predominant finish character.
While Bimini Gin doesn’t immediately suggest to me the Caribbean, it does suggest to me centuries old American brewing tradition and a keen influence therefrom.
Bimini Gin recommends a cocktail influenced by Ernest Hemingway— the Bimini Special. While the mixture of gin and coconut water may be hydrating. The funky and coconut water flavor kind of amplifies the grain notes in Bimini Gin. I’d slightly tweak the ratios and add a bit more Angostura. But overall it’s a good drink for Bimini Gin
1 oz. gin
1 oz coconut water
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
4 dashes of Angostura Bitters.
Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with a dash of soda water
Otherwise though, Bimini works well as a spice forward gin a few other applications. I can recommend it in the Negroni or Gin Old Fashioned.
Overall, Bimini Gin
This is a good grain and citrus forward gin. Juniper is a subtle background note, but the coriander and citrus give Bimini a pleasant citrus-tinged depth, while some curious grain notes help Bimini Gin read more as a grain-to-glass gin than a dry, neutral base spirit gin. Overall though, Bimini Gin doesn’t taste like the Bahamas, but it’s worth a winter Gin and Tonic to help you wish you were— in the Bahamas.