Bluecoat American Dry Gin launched in 2006 at the very beginning of the Gin Renaissance. Philadelphia Distilling was the first craft distillery to open in Pennsylvania since before prohibition. Ponder that for a second. Especially those of you from outside of the U.S, just what a deleterious effect prohibition had on American creativity.
So like a Revolution. Bluecoat American Dry Gin emerged with a bold flavor profile and began to stake a claim that this gin was American. American Dry.
The gin is distilled in a custom build copper pot still with organic juniper berries. As for the distinct citrus flavor they say they use American “citrus peels not found in most gins.”
Woody, slightly resinous juniper on the nose, with bitter orange, Meyer Lemon and Coriander. Coming back to this years later, the nose is more classic than I had initially thought it was. It may be a result of just how much change has happened in the gin category in the last decade.
The palate does have plenty of bright citrus. I’m getting ruby red grapefruit, a pleasant juniper note with a strong angelica component, giving it an earthy, spicy side with less pine. Mid-palate there’s a slight cardamom-like note, and then some sweet orange rind. The finish is medium length with a pleasant warmth.
Just as Hendrick’s seems less novel, Bluecoat American Dry Gin seems less citrus-bomb compared to its peers than it did ten years ago.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy Bluecoat American Dry Gin is with either blueberry jam or a tart bitter orange marmalade in a Jam and Gin or Breakfast Martini. The citrus notes absolutely sing when combined with the brightness of jam.
But for a starker contrast, try it in a Vesper or Martini for a citrus forward gin that still has a citrus touch, even if you garnish with an olive rather than a twist. It’s like the best of both worlds.
Bluecoat also I think makes a good Gin and Tonic and Gin and Juice, but adding too much citrus can overpower it. Don’t go grab a can of Hansen’s Tonic, for example with citrus flavor added, and then combine it for your G&T. It works better with Q and a slight garnish of lime.
It’s been around for awhile, but contemporary gin fans should take a closer look if they haven’t yet. Bluecoat American Dry Gin’s citrus-forward perspective has aged well, and it doesn’t seem as adventurous or unusual.
Bartenders will like Bluecoat’s versatility behind the bar as it works in a number of cocktails for contemporary gin fans. Classic gin fans may want to take a closer look if they tried it years ago and give it another chance. Time, if anything, has brought Bluecoat back to the center, and seems to be on track to be a modern classic.