River Rose Gin

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River Rose Gin includes rose and cucumber among its botanicals. Hendrick’s make a rather good gin and has probably the most enviable marketing budget of all gin brands, having gone to great lengths to make those notes their trademark.

But despite the similarities in ingredients, River Rose is not a Hendrick’s knock-off.

Mississippi River Distilling Company sources all of their grain locally from nearby the distillery. Even the cucumbers in River Rose Gin are sourced from local farms. The gins are distilled on a copper pot still.

Finally also worth noting, there has been some variation in the flavor profile of River Rose Gins over the year. This review is for the 2012 batch.

Tasting Notes

The nose is sweet and spicy. There’s a rather uncanny resemblance to a certain kind of Christmas cookie I liked as a kid. Pleasant notes of anise and a warm mild floral scent. Very mild, with no heat or alcohol scent on the nose worth mentioning.

Once we get into the taste though, this is where we begin to get a feel for the unique character of the floral element. The Rose notes in River Rose Gin are powerful and sharp— at the front of the mouth, but lingering sweetly through the finish.

There’s a warm burst of citrus, with a little bit of lemon and a healthy stab of juniper. Sipped neat, you get a bit more of the burn, but it is still remarkably smooth and very drinkable. At the tail, I get that warm and pleasant anise note again.

A brief comparison on the rose. Hendrick’s Rose is subtle, aromatic, and more strongly on the nose. This Rose is more strongly on the palette and is more a part of the mixture. It’s perhaps closer in this respect to Jack Rabbit Gin than to Hendrick’s.


River Rose Gin lends itself very nice to mixing, but it is very much a contemporary styled gin to the core. A gin and tonic with River Rose is refreshing, but almost a different type of drink altogether. It reminds me a lot of a cocktail mixed with something like hibiscus syrup. Delightful and different, but maybe not the kind of gin and tonic a real “juniper-head” may be looking for.

I mixed a wide array of cocktails up and down the canon with River Rose and came out impressed pretty much every time. I thought it made some good Aviation and Moonlight Cocktails. I was pleasantly surprised with how it worked in a Negroni. I would wholeheartedly recommend it in a Clover Club cocktail and would not be shy about making a martini with it.  Its very smooth and I found it to be pleasantly surprising.

Overall, River Rose Gin

A contemporary gin that stands out in unique ways while paying homage to the state and the region that its ingredients herald from.


3 thoughts on “River Rose Gin”

  1. This was only my third try of a small-batch gin- one of the first two was too conventional, and the other was too heavy on spices. That’s when I found this blog, and Aaron’s tremendously helpful flavor profiles. I was looking for something like Hendricks, so I looked for gins with a similar profiles. I selected River Rose, and it exceeded my wildest expectations. I would say that the rose notes are more prominent than the cucumber, but the profile is generally more complex than Hendrick’s. Some might think that there are TOO many flavors in River Rose. But if you like the complexity of wine, but appreciate the refreshing gin and tonic, this might be a good gin for you.

  2. Thank you so much for the compliment. It means a lot to me to hear that my gin reviews have been helpful to you in finding some great gins. I too am a big fan of what River Rose does, and couldn’t agree more that it might be an ideal gin for someone looking for something similar, but also something perhaps a bit more complex than the already good Hendrick’s.

    Cheers my friend, keep enjoying good gin!

  3. Great review! I live a town over from LeClaire, Iowa and have been sipping this gin since its birth, which comes from the new and delightful Mississippi River Distilling Company. Consider a visit to the distillery sometime. The free tour and tastings are done with the owners who are great guys and full of knowledge of their spirits and ingredients that come from the fine farm surroundings of Iowa. Plus the distillery sits on the Mississippi River, with sweeping views from the tasting room. Glad to see River Rose Gin is finally getting the respect it deserves. Cheers! -Sarah

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