When I was in college, I studied Urban Planning. My senior year studio was in Newark, a mysterious place a PATH trip outside of New York— a place where millennials retired to have kids or live in sterile skyscrapers on the edge of the Hudson. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I just didn’t know Newark. The Ironbound neighborhood was a beautiful mess of diverse cultures, great food, interesting architecture— and now home of All Points West Distillery, makers of Cathouse Gin and Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin.
All Points West Distillery picks up where a once rich culture of immigrant industry made some of the best beers in the U.S. Those 20+ breweries (and distilleries) are gone now. But All Points carries their legacy.
Cathouse Gin aims to be a “mid-Atlantic” style gin, which aims to bring the botanical-forward approach of American gin distillers and blend it with the standard of London Dry Gin production.
Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin builds on it with an infusion of hibiscus and pink peppercorn.
Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin has a faint carnation hue suggestive of pink peppercorn.
Poured from the bottle, the nose absolutely screams pink peppercorn. It’s rich, creamy, unctuous with facets of fresh grated white peppercorns and rose flavored marzipan. It smells decadent and almost like a dessert right from the bottle.
The palate begins of Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin is far more than a single-note spirit. In fact, the flavor evolves and goes through maybe four distinct phases of flavor.
At first, there’s a black peppery blush of fruit with balsamic overtones. Perhaps like strawberries dressed with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Then jammy, dry rose hips and piquant, juniper.
Some of the pepper notes take over. I get a lot more fine white pepper and black peppercorn here. A faint floral hint begins emerging too— it’s a bit more of a dusty rose than it is a hibiscus; however, the overall affect comes together.
The finish is exceptionally long with juniper adding piquancy. It’s not overly hot either, it’s a nice balance of botanical strength without an overwhelming ABV.
I find that when mixing with Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin the pink peppercorn and hibiscus notes becomes a bit more literal. The Gin and Tonic is light and floral. Don’t mix it with a flavored tonic water. A modicum of sweetness is also helpful for amplifying these notes. I like it best with a full-on sweet tonic water like Canada Dry or Scnweppes.
Bartenders mixing with Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin will need to keep in mind the color— in translucent cocktails with citrus it can appear muddy. Shaken with egg it creates a bit of an unappealing hue. Which is tough (for well lit bars at least) because in a lot of cases, the flavor is there. It’s a delicious shaken Gin Sour.
Overall, Cathouse Pink Pepper Gin
Pink Peppercorn is in vogue. It’s certainly one of the hot botanicals in 2018 and 2019; however, don’t write Cathouse as a hopping on the bandwagon. The Hibiscus adds uniqueness and the underlying botanicals are bold and balanced.
Overall, it’s a fun but niche gin. If you’re going straight up Gin Tonica style and garnishing with pink peppercorns, it’s a treat with a beautiful color. For more complex mixing applications, bartenders should be aware of the color, but the flavor lends itself to traditional gin cocktails more readily than a lot of other macerated/infused gins.
Recommended in its category.