Kansas City’s Lifted Spirits was founded by Michael Stuckey and Kyle Claypool and operates out of an old historic stable. Their Bright Gin is self-described on their website as you might expect— “bright.” But moreover, Bright Gin was designed to be an accessible entry point no matter where a drinker fits on the spectrum from newbie to pro. It’s distilled from a base spirit of grain with ten botanicals imparted through vapor distillation.
Aaron’s note: we’re reviewing a bottle from batch 3 of Lifted Spirits’ inaugural release. And this sample was shared by Natasha of St. Louis’s Natasha’s Gin Room. We’ll be partnering over the coming months as she helps guide me to some of the exciting gins being distilled in Missouri.
A touch floral at first, Bright Gin’s nose begins with hints of grape, hibiscus tea, ginger, and orange. With a few moments in the glass, Bright Gin has a greener, slightly more herbal tone. There’s quite a bit going on here, and the nose isn’t obvious— some of the notes are hard to immediately place. Pleasantly inviting.
The palate has a bit more juniper to it at first. A piney punch hits the palate early. But Lifted Spirits Bright Gin’s heart is where some of the floral, jammy botanicals reach a peak. Cardamom provides a slight back drop, while hibiscus and orange combine to suggest a more complex melange of fig jam, flamed orange rind, and a hint of wheat/corn with a gentle creamy undertone which suggests to me a base spirit including red winter wheat.
The finish has juniper and dull echoes of grain. Moderately long, it’s quite pleasant. Neat, Bright Gin is indeed quite accessible.
I also like the mouthfeel of the spirit. Though it’s somewhat quick to dissipate and has a thinness to it; it’s also quite soft on the palate. I’d like to see Bright Gin at a higher proof point than the 40% ABV it’s currently presented as.
Bright Gin punches above its weight in cocktails. It brings a strong flavor opinion even with other strong ingredients. Try it in a Negroni, Aviation, or Vesper.
I also liked Bright Gin’s profile in a Gin and Tonic. One of its strongest points is that even on the finish in a G&T, the softness of gentle grain came through. It might be blasphemy, but there’s some character here, especially on the finish that would definitely appeal to those who like vodka and tonics (but with a flavorful vodka).
The smoothness is a further asset in drinks like the Martini.
Bartenders I think would find that although Bright Gin is still a bit unusual for gins in terms of flavor profile, it’s a flexible gin that can be mixed in a wide range of cocktails and would definitely have appeal for those moving to the category. Though some of that flavor profile suggests to me that Lifted Spirits’ Bright Gin may be a great gateway gin for those who are used to drinking other white spirits like plain, grain vodka and white rum. I think it might be less accessible from a flavored vodka standpoint if only because the flavor doesn’t have a ready cognate in that space.
Nicely made and quite accessible, Lifted Spirits Bright Gin is an intriguing contemporary style gin that is sure to appeal to fans of the style and maybe even other white spirits.