Buffalo’s Lockhouse Distillery and Bar has quickly become Buffalo, New York’s center for gin-related creativity. Lockhouse Distillery currently produces four gins, including their seasonal Sakura Gin. The Cherry blossoms are harvested locally during Buffalo’s annual spring Cherry Blossom Festival.
Sakura Gin is a limited edition run, produced only in the spring— it’s been a hot product in its first couple years, often selling out within a short few weeks after launch.
For more, check out Gin Magazine— from the makers of Whisky Magazine where we did a full interview with Lockhouse Distillery’s Cory Muscato.
The nose is bright and floral. Sakura Gin opens with notes of cherry blossom, blueberry jam and fresh lemon zest. It’s literally a breath of spring.
The palate is creamy and rich, with custard notes accompanying the floral brightness. Juniper, citrus and some hints of Douglas fir typify the more traditional gin notes of Sakura Gin. Shortly thereafter, the cherry blossoms merry beautifully with hints of Creme Anglaise, fresh blueberry jam, and raspberries. The finish surprises with hints of smoky cubeb and white pepper.
Moderately-long in terms of finish, the peppery notes stick with you. Beautifully dry, Sakura Gin perfectly combines the bright berry-like floral nuance from the cherry blossoms with the earthier, pinier, more traditional gin touches.
On its own, Sakura Gin is absolutely exquisite. I love drinking it neat.
Aside from Sakura just being good on its own, it’s also very able mixer behind the bar. It’s delightfully fruit-forward in a Gin and Tonic, though adding a touch of citrus— lime particularly— really allows Sakura Gin to come into its own. Though some might say May is too early for Gin and Tonic season (who?), it captures the season perfectly.
I prefer Sakura Gin in lighter, more floral cocktails. Given that the cherry blossom is so light and so fresh, it doesn’t get lost when combined with other florals. Works great in an Aviation. I’d love to try this in a Ramos Gin Fizz or Violet Fizz, shaken up with cream it may be like a sundae— cherry already included. Additionally, it combines nicely with Elderflower liqueurs and makes for one wonderful Mother’s Day brunch French 75. I know, this post is written in November, but if you keep it in mind until May, you’ll thank me.
Sakura Gin is one of the best gins I’ve tried this year. Fans of floral-forward contemporary gins will find a lot to love here. There’s plenty of juniper, citrus, and spice to go around, but it’s certainly a contemporary gin.
Bartenders who get their hand on a bottle will love its versatility in a number of spring and summer cocktails. But I’d be surprised if home gin drinkers leave enough for it to get behind the bar.
Highly Recommended both in its class and overall.