Cocktails with… Myer Farm Gin

MyerFarm Gin

Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Myer Farm Gin is made by Myer Farm Distillers, who take pride in the fact that they are a field-to-flask  (grain-to-glass) producer. This means that they use organic grain from their own farm to distill the base spirit for their products, including their gin.

MyerFarmGin

Myer Farm Gin is bottled at 40%ABV and is made with a combination of organic wheat-base spirit and a mix of ten botanicals, including juniper, coriander, cinnamon and citrus. The botanicals are distilled using the vapour infusion method, also known as the gin basket or gin hat method.

In addition to their gin, Myer Farm also make a plain vodka, ginger vodka, blueberry-orange vodka, white dog corn whiskey, white dog wheat spirit and Darlene’s Delight, which is a strawberry and mint flavoured spirit. In addition, they are currently laying down their whiskies, including a wheat whiskey, bourbon, rye whiskey and a four-grain whiskey.

1) On its own
Nose: Creamy juniper, vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of buttercream icing/frosting.
Taste: Very smooth, with a lot of the dry cinnamon upfront, followed by a little raisin and vanilla; I’m reminded of cinnamon swirls, but this gin is definitely not sickly-sweet. Citrus and juniper follow on the finish.

2) Gin & Tonic
Spice and citrus, alongside plenty of cinnamon, cassia and jammy lemon curd, which creates a tangy finish. This is rather unusual, with a slight, confectionery quality.

3) Martini
Cassia heavy, rather spicy but not too sugar, reminds me of Knickerbocker pr Portobello Road gins although it is less sweet. Long cinnamon finish.

4) Negroni
Lots of pleasant, sweet, confectionery spice and some herbal and bitter notes. This is almost like a dessert-version of a Negroni. It’s a well-rounded cocktail, with a good balance and “plump” taste.

In Conclusion
There are quite a few spicy (cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, ginger) gins out there but none are as dry as this one which I think makes it more versatile. I think the confectionary spicy gins tend to lend themselves more winter drink. Myer Farm gin has a bold and lasting flavour and has plenty of cocktail potential.

Cocktails with.. Greyling Gin

Greyling Gin Header

I like gin from Michigan; mostly because I’ve never had a bad one and so, now, whenever I see a mention of the Great Lakes state on a bottle, as  with Two Bird Artisan Spirit’s Greyling Gin, my expectations are raised.

That said, I soon discovered that this particular gin is currently being made by experienced distillers Yahara Bay in Madison, Wisconsin. They also make Yahara Bay Gin and used to make Death’s Door. I’m sure that, if all goes well, like with Death’s Door, Greyling may fly the roost and set up shop on their own.

For clarity’s sake, I think that it’s great that there is such a range of variety options for people who want to make good quality gin. The tens of thousands of dollars (or pounds) of investment, not to mention the time, needed makes making spirits from scratch out of the reach of many individuals. As always, the most important point is that you design/produce a product that tastes great.

Greyling Modern Dry Gin c/o TheGinIsIn.com

Greyling Modern Dry Gin c/o TheGinIsIn.com

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Classic and straightforward: bright, green, sappy juniper to start, which then softens to a less sharp citrus – lemon and grapefruit mainly, with a hint of lemon pith in particular.
Taste: Pretty classic, rather vibrant, some spicy coriander notes upfront as well as anise or maybe fennel. A citrus (grapefruit, orange) and coriander middle and the a dry juniper finish. Some sweetness throughout almost reminiscent of a fine orange liqueur. Most sippable.

Gin & Tonic
Greyling makes a crisp, citrusy and flavourful Gin & Tonic. There’s also a little vanilla, combined with notes of lemon curd, as well as some dry pine. Overall, this is a very accessible and tasty drink and exceptionally refreshing.

Martini
Great – another clean and crisp drink, with clean, pine-y juniper followed by some lovely rounded-out notes of sweet rose, somewhat reminiscent of Turkish Delight. Classic, but with a twist – very good, indeed. This cocktail also has a lovely texture and is something that I would happily drink again.

Negroni
A fine Negroni if ever there was one; a great bitter-sweet balance and quite a thick texture, as well as juniper and citrus notes. Nothing outrageous or out-of-the-box; just a good, solid drink.

 

Greyling Gin is available for around $28  for 750ml from InternetWines.com

Cocktails with… Aria Gin from Oregon, USA!

AriaGinTitle

When a gin makes a name for itself well beyond the shore of its production, then you need to sit up and take notice and the biggest gin that I had heard people talking about (that I hadn’t tried) recently has been Aria. As a result, I was delighted when, on a recent trip to the USA, I got the chance to try some.

Aria, hailing from Portland Oregon is made at the Bull Run distillery by the Martin Ryan Distilling Company. On their website, they say:

Aria Portland Dry Gin is a Classic Gin the bridges the gap between London Dry and Plymouth Styles.” *

Tasting the gin, it certainly has a lot of classic elements going on: juniper upfront and some coriander, but there’s also a really pleasant softness that’s somewhat reminiscent of Plymouth English Gin.

AriaGin

Bottled at 45% ABV, Aria uses a mix of 10 botanicals:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Lemon
Orange
Orris
Cardamom
Cassia
Grains of Paradise
Cubeb Berries

On it’s own
Nose: Coriander with some floral notes and some savoury, herbal notes.
Taste: Juniper upfront, followed by spicy coriander and the some floral elements like violet or lavender. There’s also a long, piney citrus note with a little orange. This gin has a lovely texture, with a smooth sweetness throughout.

Gin & Tonic
A great, spicy nose is followed by some good spicy and herbal notes on the taste. It’s very smooth and has hints of cardamom and some nuttiness, as well as a citrus vanilla note towards the end. Rich, but not sickly. Choosing the right garnish, for me, would be tricky, but – overall – I think it has enough character to stand without one.

Martini
Some sweetness to start. This is very intense and herbal, with fresh pine needles coming through, along with the juicy juniper. This makes the way for hints of dark liquorice and anise. There are some good herbal and spicy elements, but plenty of juniper, too. Very well-balanced.

Negroni
A rich and viscous Negroni with a delightful bitter edge on the finish. The taste is bold, with citrus and floral flavours. It’s easy to drink, with hints of wood and pine mixed amongst those of the Campari and vermouth. Really excellent; one for the aficionado.

In Conclusion
I’ve wanted to try Aria Gin for a while and, to my mind, it was well worth the wait. I’m a big fan of contemporary styles of gin, which US Craft Distillers seem to excel at producing, but it’s nice to see that there are still some craftsmen making delicious gins in a more Classical style. Aria can hold its own against Britain’s finest, in my opinion. My favourite drink was the Negroni.

Check out Aria Gin:
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* Some may disagree, but I don’t think that Plymouth should be considered a style, because its categorization is simply a legal anomaly (a GI status, which would be unlikely to be granted today) and its distinction from other gins has nothing to do with how it tastes. The only impact that being made at its location has that makes a difference is the fact that it uses soft water from Dartmoor (although you could source this and ship it anywhere; your gin wouldn’t have to be made in Plymouth). The sweet and earthy flavour of Plymouth Gin, which I think is excellent, is to do with the choice and mix of its botanicals.

Cocktails with… Corsair Gin (from Kentucky)

CorsairTitle This gin should be of particular interest to anyone who is familiar with the excellent book, “Alt Whiskeys” by Darek Bell, as it is made by the author himself. The exact botanical make-up of Corsair remains undisclosed, but it does include the six stalwarts of gin botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Lemon, Orange and Orris. The spirit base of the gin is neutral grain spirit and the gin is make at Corsair’s Kentucky distillery (not the one in Tennessee). In addition to this American Gin, they make an Aged Gin and a Genever. CorsairGinBottle On its own

Nose: Buttery and herbal, with hints of gazpacho. In addition to pine, there are some herbal notes, such as thyme.

Taste: Really complex; a whole array of notes, including: tea, rosemary, mint, thyme, pickles, cucumber, broth, celery, vegetables, salad, soft bread. It is generally savoury, with a soup-like quality and juniper at the end.

Gin & Tonic

Juniper to start with, followed by a yeasty, bready finish. This is quite nice; a Gin & Tonic, but slightly reminiscent of a combination of white whiskey and tonic. There’s a good amount of bitterness and green, herbal notes.

Martini

This is probably the best way to drink the gin. It’s relatively clean and neutral, with some cardamom, as well a hint of tea and rosemary towards the end. This has the levels of smoothness usually associated with a Vodka Martini.

Negroni

OK, but the gin is less pronounced and almost lost in the mixture. The cocktail as a whole has a good balance and is pretty tasty all the same; it’s just that you can’t really appreciate the gin. A little  sweetness appears towards the end.

In Conclusion

Corsair Gin has a some interesting herbal and savoury notes to it, resulting in a spirit that lends itself well to certain cocktails (a Red Snapper seems an obvious example). Of those I tried, the Martini was my favourite drink.

United States of Gin will return in… Cocktails with… Ridge Distillery Silvertip American Gin from Montana

Cocktails with.. Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier Gin – from West Virginia USA!

SmoothAmblerTitle

Hailing from Maxwelton, West Virginia Greenbrier Gin (40.0%ABV) is just one of Smooth Ambler‘s variety of products, other include a vodka (Whitewater) a white whisky, two bourbons and a rather excellent aged gin.

Greenbrier Gin spirit base is Smooth ambler’s Whitewater Vodka (a blend of  corn, wheat & barley) and contains a mix of seven botanicals:

SmoothAmblerBots

1) On its own
Nose: Juniper, supported by warm, savoury spice and a light, warm, sweet yeasty note.
Taste: Smooth, with a very dry, clean taste; almost a hint of soda water to start with. As the flavour progresses, the bitterness increases. There’s spice upfront, along with some juniper and that long, earthy bitter note of a good soda water on the finish.

2) Gin & Tonic
Not bad; some yeast/bread/grain notes, followed by a fruity jamminess. Other than this luscious boost of succulent sweetness, the drink is actually quite dry and a bit spicy at the end. Sadly, with Schweppes, the finish is slightly cloying.

SmoothAmblerBottle

3) Martini
This cocktail has lots of floral spiciness, which I really like. There’s also a touch of malt and a sweet breadiness. For a Martini, this has some pleasant fruity notes; this fruity aspect reminds me of gins made from potato-based spirit.

4) Negroni
Nutty, with hint of freshly ground coffee beans. There is also a touch of salted peanuts and a pinch of popcorn, which are followed by some deeper herbal notes. Well-balanced, with a juicy fruitiness on the finish. I like this a lot – it was a pleasure to drink.

In Conclusion
Smooth Ambler is a good example of how the base you use for your gin can be just important as your botanical mix. In fact it would be good fun to try the same botanical mix with different spirits bases.

The Negroni was outstanding I really liked the nutty-coffee aspect of the drink and it is something I could enjoy over and over again.

us gin tag
Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Lemon, Orange, Cardamom, Black Pepper

Cocktails with… Green Hat Gin from Washington D.C.

GreenHat Title

I’ve got a little gin research project going on that is due the end of February. The survey is simple and takes 90 seconds please help us out by completing the survey.

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There are few distilleries whose progress – from construction to production – I have followed as closely one over 3,660 miles away in Washington DC. I was hoping it would be part of our United States of Gin Tasting, as it would have been fun to have had a gin from a district in addition to those from the states, but it was not to be.

I have, however, been able to get hold of some recently, thanks to my good friend, Michael Vachon of Ginuine Spirits.

GreenHat Gin is made by New Columbia Distillers and the first batch was released in the second half of 2012. This distillery is the first in the Capital since Prohibition. They use a new-make spirit base of red winter wheat (made by the distillery themselves) and a mix of 12 botanicals:

Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Lemon Peel, Grapefruit Peel, Cassia Bark, Fennel, Sage, Grains of Paradise, Lemongrass, Celery Seed.

Celery Seed is a rather rare botanical to use; I know of only one other gin that uses it (St. Georges Botanivore).

GreenHat Gin Bottle

THE TASTE

1) On its own
Nose: Creamy with herbal lemon, pine, orris and liquorice root. Interesting but quite soft.
Taste: Smooth is a building warmth. Complex with plenty of herbal notes, anise and liquorice followed by some more savoury herbal notes like celery salt and sage then a little juniper and a long finish which included a hint of maple pecan. Engaging and good to drink on it’s own or on the rocks.

2) Gin & Tonic
Fascinating: the first flavour I get is a hint of chocolate chip cookie dough, followed by a touch of pine and coriander. This followed by a mix of citrus and floral notes, and a hint of herbal sage. This is fresh, crisp and a departure from the classic style; that said, it is still dry and very refreshing.

UPDATE: we usually try our gin and tonic with UK Schweppes which is what I used above. I did however try some of the gin with Q and it was even better. Lovely rich nutty notes of pecan and maple come through from the gin as well as a little sweetness which is finely balance by the dry earth finish of Q – very elegant.

3) Martini
Strong, both in terms of flavour and perceived alcoholic strength, but also flavourful, with an earthy dryness running through it alongside some savoury notes. There’s some anise towards the end and the slight saltiness of celery seed. Herbal and spicy, this is a great drink to rouse your appetite.

4) Negroni
A very rich and complex Negroni, with a strong “pow!” of bitterness followed by notes of anise and dark chocolate. This has some great herbal and floral notes and the vermouth is surprisingly forward, providing a good opportunity to showcase a special fortified wine.

In Conclusion
I was very excited to try GreenHat Gin and, thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. It has herbal and spice notes and, in certain drinks, distinct hints of maple and pecan also come through, which I really like. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.

GreenHat Gin (40.7% ABV)
www.greenhatgin.com

us gin tag

Cocktails with… Rehorst Gin from Wisconsin

There are a whole host of Gins made in the 30th state to join the Union and many of them are excellent. In fact, Wisconsin is one of the Gin distilling hotspots in the USA*. Other Gins that I have tried from this state include Death’s Door and Yahara Bay, both of which are from Madison. For our United States of Gin Tasting, however, we decided to try something new and different.

Rehorst Gin is made by Great Lakes Distillery in the heart of Milwaukee, which was founded by Guy Rehorst. It was designed to be a Gin that gave a nod to the classic style, whilst having a contemporary twist.

Bottled at 44%ABV, Rehorst Gin contains a mix of 9 botanicals, which includes Sweet Basil and Wisconsin Ginseng.

1) On its own
Nose: A “quiet” nose, with just a hint of citrus and the faintest touch of mint.
Taste: Mainly juniper and coriander to start. This is rather earthy, but pretty classic in style, being not dissimilar to many British Gins, albeit being a little heavier on the floral side. All of the classic Gin flavours are there: juniper, coriander, angelica and citrus, which should make this pleasing to the traditionalists of the Gin World. This Gin is very fresh and I especially like how the flavours build to a crescendo, before finishing in a finish of leafy basil.

2) Gin & Tonic
As you might expect, this produces a classic Gin & Tonic, full of dry, piney juniper that’s followed by a touch of sweetness and a clean, refreshing finish. In addition, there’s a hint of vanilla marzipan towards the end. This is a crisp cooler that I could happily sip all afternoon.

3) Martini
A tasty tipple. Full of flavour and lots of character, it’s also very well-balanced. There is a lovely splash of citrus and spice in the middle (coriander and cardamom) and a tiny savoury hint on the finish. Superb, superb, superb!

4) Negroni
Wow! So much flavour, this is succulent and full of juicy fruitness, whilst, at the same time, maintaining the herbal depth and bitter-sweet equilibrium that you’d expect from this cocktail. There’s a touch of anise and some nutty notes, too, all wrapping up with a beautiful crisp and bitter finish.

In Conclusion
Rehorst is certainly in the Classic style of Gin, but with a little Wisconsin flair; its mid-Atlantic accent makes this a Cary Grant of the Gin World. Like Junipero and BIG Gin, I think it will please both traditionalist and revolutionaries alike and is in good company in terms of flavour and quality.

us gin tag

Cocktails with… River Rose Gin from Iowa

Image from TheGinIsIn.com

Image from TheGinIsIn.com

If you are looking for a gin from Iowa (the the state to join the Union), then I suggest you take a trip to LeClaire on the Mississippi River, where, fittingly, the Mississippi River Distilling Company make not only a gin, but River Pilot Vodka and River Baron White Whiskey. They also make a bourbon and a rye whiskey.

River Rose is a fictional 1920s lady who is the granddaughter of the River Baron (whom the bourbon is named after).

River Rose Gin is made from a corn-based spirit and contains 12 botanicals.

1) On its own
Nose: A touch of caraway, lots of orange, coriander seed and a leafy hint of lemon.
Taste: Caraway and creamy lemon, followed by a more floral citrus. Bitter and dry juniper pops up at the end, rather than the beginning, with a final fresh finish. This is a very pleasant drink to sip neat on its own.

2) Gin & Tonic
Grainy, with a fair bit of anise and cardamom, followed by a sweet breadiness and sweet liquorice. This is a very different sort of Gin & Tonic, mostly because of its sweetness; I think that a tonic like East India would work well with it, counteracting this. Not a bad Gin & Tonic, but your choice of mixer and garnish would make all the difference.

3) Martini
Lots of flavour: mostly caraway and lemon, it reminds me somewhat of a caraway vodka I had once from France. Delightfully smooth and rather raising to the appetite (I had to have a little nibble of something afterwards), making it perfect for the cocktail hour.

4) Negroni
Initially, there’s a lot of anise, as if the Negroni glass had been given an absinthe rinse (now there’s an idea!). In addition to this spice, there was also some cardamom. This is a very well-balanced drink and gained the greatest endorsement of all – Mrs. B. (usually a loather of Campari) was rather keen on it. River Rose, you have outdone yourself!

In Conclusion
this was really great gin, it brought a lot of character to each oft he drinks. Some pleasant floral and herbal notes and it makes a fantastic Negroni, if you can find a bottle of this I would recommend it.

us gin tag

Cocktails with… FEW American gin from Illinois, USA

FewTitle

There are a lot of Gins made in the US and there are lot of Gins made in the UK, but, sadly, there are relatively few US gins available in the UK; most come through the lovely folks at Eaux de Vie, but there is a new US spirits importer intown: Ginuine Spirits, headed up by Michael Vachon.

Ginuine Spirits have just brought five excellent products over to the UK: a Bourbon, a Rye Whiskey, a White Whiskey, a Gin and a  Navy-Strength Gin. Given its imminent landing on British soil, FEW American Gin seemed to be the perfect choice for the Illinois Gin in our United States of Gin Tasting.

FEW Distillery is based in Evanston, Illinois and the Master Distiller is Paul Hletko. As mentioned above, they make a variety of products and, additionally, produce limited editions of a rather tasty yellow/cask/aged Gin, which we tasted [here].

FEWGinBottle

FEW American Gin is rather unusual in that the spirit base is the same as their high corn white whiskey. 70% corn, 20% wheat, 10% 2 row malt. It is bottled at 40%ABV.

The Taste

1) On its own
Nose: Wheat, grain and bread (the base of the gin really comes through), followed by some pine, citrus and a touch of coriander.
Taste: Very soft and smooth initially and also quite sweet, with some liquorice. This is followed by pine and some floral notes, chocolate and coriander towards the end. This Gin has a very long finish, full of anise and liquorice. It’s something very different, but very tasty, too.

2) Gin & Tonic
A juicy and citrusy Gin & Tonic, with a fair hint of White Whiskey and corn coming through, but less juniper than many. It has a touch of sweetness, too, alongside some more liquorice. It’s definitely different, but well-liked by Mrs. B.

3) Martini
Crisp and powerful (given only 40%ABV), this is grainy, with just a hint of vanilla and a dry juniper finish. This is very different; unlike any Martini that I’ve had before, but excellent.

4) Negroni
The FEW American Gin made quite a sweet Negroni, with a long, lingering herbal bitterness, liquorice, anise and a touch of the bitterness of treacle. It’s something different, with the whole flavour of the drink lasting for a long time. The base spirit of the Gin also comes through, adding grainy notes. A different breed of Negroni, but very good, nonetheless.

5) Old Fashioned
The sweet creamy vanilla notes of the gin really comes through and the base really lends itself to the drink (the FEW white whiskey makes an exception Old Fashioned). Flavourful with those familiar gin characteristics of juniper and coriander alongside some floral elements. Pleasantly the drink is well balanced and a chord is struck between the various tastes. Very good indeed.

In Conclusion
FEW American Gin is rather different to most other gins; a lot of this is down to the unique use of White Whisky as its base. This adds a light, grainy maltiness that adds a different dimension to the gin. In fairness, it may not be for everyone, but I think many will love it and it is certainly worth trying. My favourite drink (which was very difficult to choose) was the Old Fashioned and Mrs. B liked the Gin & Tonic.

FEW American Gin is available for around £32 for 750ml from The Whisky Exchange.

Cocktails with… Waterloo Gin (from Texas)

I know what you are thinking, “They make gin in TEXAS?”. Well, yes, they do, and pretty fine stuff it is, too. Waterloo Gin is made by the Treaty Oak Distilling Company of Austin, Texas. They started off their range by making a Plantation Rum and, in November 2011, they released a Gin, Waterloo Gin, which is described as:

“stay(ing) true to the traditional London Dry Gin style, while still making the gin’s Texas roots evident”.

Waterloo Gin is bottled at 47%ABV and contains 11 botanicals:

1) On its own
Nose: A sweet spiciness and juniper upfront, followed by a slight medicinal note and a fresh citrus towards the end.
Taste: Crammed full of flavours, with a little bit of sweetness. Fresh, fruity citrus and sarsaparilla (maybe sassafras) root are quite noticeable, but there is also some cardamom toward the end and a slightly bitter finish. Overall, this is sweet, spicy and generally delicious.

2) Gin & Tonic
This drink is pleasant, indeed; some juniper is followed by cinnamon and cardamom. There is also a little sweetness, which is accompanied by a hint of root beer. Pretty well-balanced and refreshing.

Waterloo Gin (Austin, Texas) at Waterloo Train Station (London, UK)

Waterloo Gin (Austin, Texas) at Waterloo Train Station (London, UK)

3) Martini
Bitter dark chocolate notes are accompanied by a strong burst of cardamom and then a clean citrus, with juniper being present throughout. This is superb and exactly my sort of Martini (I am a self-confessed sucker for cardamom*). The finish also has a zesty edge, which signs the drink off nicely.

4) Negroni
This cocktail was okay, but, sadly, the Gin seems a bit lost. The bitter-sweet balance is good, producing a good, standard drink, but it’s not outstanding. There’s a little sweetness towards the end. I would say that there are much better ways to appreciate this spirit.

In Conclusion
Waterloo Gin really does show that the Texans make excellent Gin and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. This Gin combines excellent flavours with traditional characteristics and a contemporary twist. I really like the addition of pecans in the botanical mix – it adds a unique character.