Probably Dorothy Parker’s best link to gin is her widely misattributed quote “‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!'”
Attributable quips aside, she was a renowned screenwriter, poet and critic. Her wit was described as “caustic,” and cost her a job with Vanity Fair in 1920 when higher-ups grew tired of her bold criticisms. She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a 1920’s association of influential New York City writers. She was a social activist, whose left-wing activities actually got her on the Hollywood Blacklist despite two academy award nominations for her work.
So it was her reputation in the New York City arts scene, her wit, and her enthusiasm for gin which led to New York Distilling Company naming one of their two flagship gins after her.
Dorothy Parker Gin itself has been a staple of the contemporary gin scene since its 2011. Distilled in Brooklyn, NY, the products are all made on site. You can catch a glimpse from the bar adjacent, The Shanty.
The nose is equal parts very classic and very contemporary. Juniper, elderberry, cinnamon and hibiscus petals on the nose; cranberry and coriander a bit underneath. Lots of juniper, but also a lot else. One of my favorite noses in all of gin. Absolutely stunning and gorgeous.
The palate as a good deal of hibiscus, but it’s hardly single-minded. Brisk, piney juniper, sharp and precise. It shines on the mid-palate all the way through the finish, There’s also a lovely combination of cinnamon, hibiscus and elderberry that is evocative of a spiced cranberry sauce [sorry, I’m thinking holiday season here!]. The finish is dry with hints of orange and lemon zest, pine, and a radiating floral warmth. Again, this is one of my favorite gins.
Dorothy Parker Gin is one of the best Gin and Tonic among all of the contemporary style gins. I especially love it for introducing new people to the drink, and those who’ve written off gin. The floral hibiscus notes add a top note and smoothness that balances the juniper and shows gin’s other side. I think its drinks like this that illustrate so well why the gin world is better off for having Dorothy Parker Gin it.
Fans of a floral hue to their Martini will love how well this one mixes with a nice dry Vermouth; it makes a good Negroni, though even better at about 1.5:1:1 to kick up the Hibiscus, which almost becomes rose hips and blueberry to me.
Dorothy Parker Gin is also great in the French 75, and the Ramos Gin Fizz. In fact if it’s not my favorite in those drinks, it’s damn near close.
Overall, it’s worth being summative at this point. It’s a great mixing gin that has a bold flavor that works well in combination with other spirits. It’s one of the most accessible and well balanced contemporary styled gins out on the market still, even nearly six years after its initial launch.
Fans of contemporary style gins who have not tried this gin should do so, because they’re missing on of the best. Fans of classic gin who want to try a contemporary gin that does it really well should also seek out a taste; it may not convince you that contemporary gins are best, but it will certainly leave you with an appreciation for the style. Bartenders will find that Dorothy Parker Gin is a great gin for cocktail-crafting, and even better, a perfect gateway gin for introducing new drinkers to the category. Highly recommended.