Sator Square Distillery is a small distillery co-located on a family run vineyard in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Many wineries that branch into gin often take their first steps using the one thing every winery needs to have: grapes. Sator Square American Dry Gin is no different.
The base spirit is distilled from grapes and the botanicals are added via a basket for vapor infusion. The botanicals are crushed by hand before being layered into the still.
Q: What is a Sator Square?
It is the earliest example of a 5×5 palindrome that has a sentence in its five words that can be reflected on four different axis and retain meaning. The translation of the Sator Square is apropos for a grain-to-glass distillery; it reads “The farmer uses a plough.” (more or less, see Wikipedia for more on this pretty wild palindrome).
Sator Square Gin is bright with a complex marriage of both herbal and floral notes on the nose. Musky rose lends complexity to fruity fennel seed and Meyer Lemon. All of this is beset by the tell-tale aroma of grape spirit that fills in the gaps producing a really rich and complicated aroma.
Sweet spices light up the palate with Vietnamese cinnamon and star anise adding color to a robust and intense note of dark buckwheat honey. While it’s not sweet, the honey produces an intense depth mid-palate towards the finish.
On the finish a hint of anise and crunchy vegetal juniper adds a slight piney flavor. The finish reminds me of bitter orange marmalade and honey on toast receding as a cooling mentholated hint of cucumber peeks out.
In other words, there’s a lot going on with the palate of Sator Square American Dry Gin as well.
While Sator Square Gin has a bold flavor, it works well in a surprising wide ranging number of cocktails. Perhaps a Bees Knees is too literal. But it is a pleasant and surprisingly more floral than neat Gin and Tonic.
The flavors complement Vermouth really nicely in a Martini with the added salinity of either an olive or onion seemingly amplifying this saline note in Sator Square Gin from out of nowhere.
Also try it in a Hot Toddy. (Note: Gin Wife approved!)
Overall, Sator Square American Dry Gin
One of the things I look for in a well constructed gin is a journey from start-to-end on the palate. Sator Square Gin’s botanicals segue in and out of one another, telling a long and detailed story on the palate.
While I’d love a bit more juniper in Sator Square American Dry Gin to balance out the intense floral and spice notes, overall it’s a really great example of a non-traditional base spirit like grape can carry such a diverse range of botanicals.
Classic gin fans may not find it to their liking, but contemporary gin aficionados looking for a cerebral and flexible mixing gin will find a lot to like in Sator Square American Dry Gin.