The Il Gin del Professore line of gins are designed to be reminiscent of the older style of macerated gins. A collab between Antica Distilleria Quaglia (producers of Grappa and Vermouth) and the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome, it leverages Antica’s expertise in Vermouth making to create a gin that straddles the line between aperitif and gin. Botanicals are macerated directly in grape spirit, making it in an Old Tom in the bathtub/compounded style.
Gin del Professore à la Madame uses a more floral selection of botanicals and is designed to be a “feminine” counterpoint to their Gin Monsieur offering.
All the juniper is grown in Italy. The Madame variation includes a couple relatively unusual botanicals. Tansy, is a wild flower, common in Europe that was seen in 19th century cocktail manuals as a good ingredient to macerate in gin. Zedoary, or white turmeric, is native to Southeast Asia and is described as having an “aroma of mango” but the “flavor of ginger.”
Color: Marigold and transparent.
Aroma: Heavy cinnamon on the nose, almost medicinal. Vanilla and stone fruit on the edges. Very, very spicy aromatically.
Flavor: Gin del Professore à la Madame is quite spiced to the palate, with red hot, dry cinnamon dominating throughout.
Early, the gin is at its sweetest and lightest. Vanilla, custard and orange zest. Mid-palate, warm cinnamon. Ginger and cloves enhance the warmth here.
Spiced warmth persists with as bitterness comes on. It’s botanical, with a combination of tansy, dandelion and gentian.
Finish: Dull throbs of cinnamon persist along with a moderate, but lasting bitterness.
Gin del Professore à la Madame is a challenging mixer. The cinnamon and bitterness come through in almost all applications.
In a gin and tonic, the tansy bitterness combines with quinine to be even more bitter. With a regular tonic, it comes off as an Indian tonic.
I’d recommend a Hot Toddy with it. You don’t even need to add a cinnamon stick. Warmed, the spices will emerge even more powerfully. Pair it with honey and lemon juice.
For me, the cinnamon is so aggressive that Gin del Professore à la Madame doesn’t taste a lot like gin when mixed. The spice botanicals are the dominant notes; therefore, bartenders mixing with this should be advised to treat it more like a spiced botanical spirit than a gin.
Overall, Gin del Professore à la Madame
Gin del Professore à la Madame is a great example of a gin, that might be more successful if pitched as a macerated botanical spirit. It tasted a bit like the winter holidays. It’s warmed, it’s spiced, but that local juniper is absolutely obscured.