Hailing from Arkansas, Brandon’s Gin is unique in that it is the only gin to be made in the state. As Arkansas was the 25th state to join the Union, it was the 16th that we tasted*.
Brandon’s Gin is made by the Rock Town Distillery in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to their gin, they also make Brandon’s Vodka, a River Boat Rum, a Young Bourbon, a Hickory Smoked Whisky and Arkansas Lightning, a sort of white whiskey that is also available in apple pie flavour.
Rock Town Distillery also sell an aging kit, which consists of a small barrel and a bottle of Arkansas Lightning and gives you the opportunity to have a go at aging spirit at home.
Brandon’s Gin is made in a copper pot still and uses the one-shot method. The botanicals are infused with the spirit in a botanical basket or still-hat, so this is a variation on a carter-head still. It is bottled at 46%ABV and contains a mix of 7 botanicals.
On its own
Nose: Juniper and citrus (predominantly lemon), along with some coriander.
Taste: Complex, with multiple layers and a good dose of spice. Notes of freshly cracked black peppercorns are followed by the herbal, slightly fruity spiciness of a a sweet or bell pepper. There are not a lot of gins that go down this route and it’s pleasing to see something a little different. The finish consists of leafy herbal notes and a touch of soapy coriander.
Gin & Tonic
Fresh and pretty juicy, but if the tonic is not crisp and clean enough (such as the US version of Schweppes), the gin is overpowered. My recommended tonic for this drink would be either Q or Fevertree.
This makes a relatively classic Gin Martini with a notable anise or fennel flavour. Beyond this unusual note, this cocktail is typical of the drink, being well-balanced, crisp and clean.
Sweet and spicy, with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg. Very nice, indeed. I found that a twist of orange makes a particularly good garnish for this cocktail. It’s a bit sweeter and slightly more contemporary in style than many other Negronis; the sweetness and spiciness are prominent, but the finish is long and bitter. Overall, pretty good.
Brandon’s flies a spicy standard and has a fair bit of coriander, too. The spicy nature of the gin lends itself well to making drinks that just wouldn’t be the same with any other gin and, with a bit of time and experimentation, I think some truly amazing drinks could be made. Of those that I tried, the Negroni was a particular highlight, but I’d like to improve on my serve for the Gin & Tonic.