Dear Friends & Drinkers of Graphic Bar,
As your gin-writer in residence, I am always exploring all things juniper. This August, I found myself in New York City and there was one spirit that was on my mind: GIN.
We started off early at Heathrow Terminal 5 with a mug of Bombay Sapphire’s Summer Cup. This comes at a time when this category is gathering more momentum and moving beyond Pimm’s with both Master of Malt and Chase launching new products in August.
The Bombay Sapphire Summer Cup was a mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, Red vermouth and Orange Liqueur, served with ginger ale from pitchers with a fruity garnish.
Our second day saw a trip to the liquor store to pick up “essential supplies”; our shop of choice was Park Avenue Liquor at 292 Madison Avenue. I like to think of this as New York’s Gerry’s. The family who run it were both friendly and knowledgeable, and there is a great selection of gins, as well as Scotch and American whiskies, liqueurs and other spirits.
I picked up some Comb 9 Gin from New York State, which has a honey spirit-base (essentially distilled mead). This gives the gin a smooth and silky texture, with a lot of floral notes upfront. The gin describes itself as a New York Dry Gin, which is essentially a contemporary version of the Classic London style.
Comb 9 makes a crisp and floral Martini with a decent dose of coriander, which will appeal to fans of flowery gins such as Bloom or G Vine; it produces a pretty tasty Negroni, too.
Our trip also saw us visit two distilleries, the first of which was New York Distilling in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They make a regular gin (Dorothy Parker) and a Navy Strength Gin (Perry’s Tot). Their Shanty Bar was the location of our Navy Strength Gin tasting, where we tasted five gins, all bottled at 57%ABV, including the classic Plymouth Navy and the excellent new offering from Hayman’s, Royal Dock (both of which are available at Graphic Bar). The final two were FEW’s Standard Issue (hitting UK shores soon) and Leopold’s Navy Strength.
The second distillery we visited was Breuckelin (the Dutch spelling of Brooklyn), who make a regular gin, an aged gin, and two whiskies (Rye and Wheat). In addition to a tour with distiller, Brad, we also conducted a tasting of nine Yellow Gins in a continuation of the project that we started back in London at Graphic Bar.
The weekend saw the culmination of 6 months of preparation: The United States of Gin Tasting, a taster of which was experienced at Graphic on World Gin Day 2012. The concept was a simple one: try one gin distilled in each state of the US. Not every state has a distillery that makes a gin, but we aimed to get 30 and that was exactly what we got.
The tasting was organised by the author of America’s Gin Website, The Gin Is In, and myself, and some of the highlights included Southern Gin from Georgia, Bardeney from Idaho, and, my personal favourite, BIG GIN from Washington State.
We had a rather pleasant flight home with British Airways and I had a rather lovely gin and tonic with Gordon’s at 40%ABV (much better than the 37.5 stuff).
Hopefully this has given you a taste of the gin delights that New York has to offer, but, at the same time, it’s always good to be home. Time for a Gin & Tonic, I think…
All the best, David T. Smith