First, we detour from the world of gin to the phenomenon of “putting birds on things.” In this case, spirits. Now back to gin. Don’t be confused American drinkers, Two Birds Gin is made by Two Birds Spirits in the UK. Their eponymous gin bears their name, and comes in a couple different varieties. Now, don’t confuse this with Two Birds Artisan Spirits in Michigan who put out the quite excellent Greyling Modern Dry Gin.
I know what you’re thinking. This is more confusing than the time Watershed distillery put out a gin that competed against another gin called Watershed. Or that time we had two gins called Brooklyn: one made in Brooklyn, and another not. Or that time two gins with the word “green” in their name butted heads in court…
Okay, who am I kidding: this kind of stuff happens all the time. And as if it’s not bad enough already, it’s not like Two Birds is the only distillery in the UK that has a bird on the bottle. Maybe the folks on Portlandia were on to something when they declared “put a bird on it.”
Hopefully you’re a little less confused: Two Birds stateside makes Greyling, only available stateside; Two Birds UK makes Two Birds and is only available on the other side of the Atlantic. Let’s get down to Two Birds Countryside gin, that is the Two Birds which is only available in the UK.
Two Birds London Dry Gin boasts a relatively traditional set of botanicals: juniper, citrus fruit, coriander and orris root. The nose is strictly traditional, bright and juniper forward. Fresh, but not very piney.
The palate opens up the flavor quite a bit, revealing subtleties not normally found in strictly traditional gins. I believe it’s still traditional, but there’s some nuance in here that gives it a hint of that contemporary character we taste so much of in gins these days. Slightly acidic, citrus at first, lemon and coriander spice. Juniper in the middle with a long finish with hints of baking spices and a touch of something a little out of the ordinary: angelica, vanilla cream, and a bright candied citrus/violet note in the back. Lingering finish that is clean and a bit hot in the back of the palate.
While nothing in here is exotic, it seems a very clean and expertly executed classic formula. I like the way the ingredients express themselves clearly and articulately in here.
I found Two Birds Gin to be good in a Gin and Tonic, although nothing too unexpected: juniper, citrus, and a clean finish. I thought it worked exquisitely with tonic syrup. I found the spice notes, which were not dominant neat, came through and gave off a warm fruitcake sort of flavor.
With room enough for only one more cocktail, I decided to go with the martini. Lemon and orange were accentuated here, with the juniper kind of taking a back seat. Very interesting how the expression of a gin can vary. The essential character is still present, but you can pick out these other notes a little bit clearly. Refreshing, and very smooth. Heartily recommended. If I had more, I’d be treating myself to one after writing this review.
Two Birds Gin is a really well made classic styled gin. It works well in nearly everything I tried. My only critiques might be that if it were bottled at a slightly higher proof it could stand out more in more complex cocktails. But simply put, it’s quite nice and very well executed. Highly Recommended.