From the makers of Two Birds Gin comes their specialty cocktail edition. Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin features the same five botanicals as their standard Two Birds Gin, but with the juniper dialed up.
The nose is definitely bigger in terms of the juniper. I notice it as being pinier when compared to their standard London Dry Gin, with a slight hint of rosemary, coriander, and dill.
Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin hits some of the traditional marks on the palate. Juniper represents steadily throughout. Fresh lemon flesh comes on mid-palate as well, with the spice from the coriander hitting in the background. The coriander note is a dry, slightly citrus tinged, peppery note. Towards the finish again, along with some green juniper notes, I get that slight hint of dill again.
The finish is moderately long with a slightly herb-forward, but very classic gin profile. Union Distillers— as they did with their flagship gin— again hit the mark as far as creating a modern, craft distillery classic gin in the London Dry tradition.
Given that it says right in the name— Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin— this is where you’d expect Two Birds to fly. Clean, refreshingly brisk juniper comes off in a Gin and Tonic, while the Martini is similarly outstanding. If you’re looking for an alternative to some of the big names that was created this millennium, this may be the gin you want to turn to. So for a lot of the gin-centered classics, Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin works well. The big juniper is exactly as promised.
In mixing it more widely, Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin is prone to get lost. The big juniper isn’t as big as one might hope. The Negroni, Ramos Gin Fizz, or even the Alexander. It’s just not as bold as you might want a cocktail gin to be.
I find that a lot of that has to do with the curious choice to make a cocktail gin only 40% ABV. Whereas some of the best mixing gins have stronger botanical presences owing to their higher alcohol content— for example Navy Strength Gins.
That doesn’t mean that a lower proof gin can’t make good cocktails. And certainly, Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin does. But it seems that my expectations based on the label doesn’t quite deliver on the promise. Union Distillers’ cocktail offering might be just aptly called an even-more “juniper-forward” tweak of the original formula, rather than a bold cocktail mixer.
So this is where I’m a bit torn on Two Birds Specialty Cocktail Gin. It’s a good classic style juniper-forward gin. On that mark alone, I easily recommend this to fans of classic style gins.
However, on the other hand, you can’t completely ignore the promise of the labeling. If it’s designed to be a cocktail mixing gin, I’d expect more than just increased botanical flavor— I’m also hoping for the spirit to be assertive enough to carry those flavors through. If you want to improve this as a cocktail gin, up the strength to 47%. The botanical blend is solid.
And it’s still a good gin. It’s just that the expectation set by the label had me expecting something a bit bolder.