Tea is hard to distill. Like, really hard to distill. Coit Spirits isn’t the first to try— their Earl Grey Gin is one of many who’ve tried. Here are some who’ve tried Black Tea. Green tea has become quite common as of late also.
But what impresses me about Coit Spirits’ Early Grey Gin is how unmistakably “Earl Grey” it is. I think that the closest to actual fresh brewed tea flavor I’ve tasted in gin before this one was in a homemade, infused gin.
It’s not only bergamot flavored black tea that is in Early Grey Gin. There’s another nine botanicals (juniper included) and it took nearly a year to perfect the tea flavor in a distilled product. Moreover, because it’s distilled the tea flavor is there, but it lacks the tannin astringency of fresh brewed black tea.
Bright black tea leaves greet the nose right away. Hints of citrus and lavender take a more prominent billing, while juniper sits squarely present in the background.
The palate (IMHO) is something quite special. It’s as bright as tea can possible taste. Lemon black tea notes are present at first. Mid-palate, its the flavor of black tea aroma. Fresh and slightly roasty, it’s really the best moment on this gin’s palate.
Piney juniper occupies a prominent space on the fringes. Towards the finish, bergamot, lemon rind, and a hint of green, mentholic lavender round things out. The finish is moderately long with tea and mentholic notes.
In short, if you like Earl Grey tea, Early Grey Gin is absolutely the gin for you.
Earl Grey Gin doesn’t lend itself to all cocktails applications. There’s some more fruit-forward cocktails where the tea note may be jarring.
However, I find that pairing fresh lemon with Earl Grey Gin is marvellous. I love the way it works in a Tom Collins or a Bees Knees. It works well in a light Vermouth Martini garnished with a twist.
This might be the best Hot Toddy gin ever made.
Overall, Earl Grey Gin
First, the technical feat of getting such a great tea flavor needs to be recognized. But secondly, the gin is designed so well around that note that although the juniper is clear and present, you could be mistaken for thinking that the whole of the ten botanicals are present in every cup of Earl Grey Tea.