Cocktails with… Junipero

The first American gin that I ever tried – even before the behemoth of Seagram’s Extra Dry – was Junipero and, with it, I experienced something a little bit different: a departure from the English Gins that I’d been used to. Since then, I’ve done my fair share of research and writing on the matter and, today, I turn to it once again, for a review.

Junipero was created in 1996 by Anchor Distilling. It is made by hand in the classic, “distilled dry gin” tradition in their distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, USA. Bottled at 49.3% ABV, Junipero is made using a mix of over 12 botanicals. It recently won Double Gold – Best Gin in Show at the 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits Competition.

1) On its own
Nose: Juniper, coriander and sweet citrus.
Taste: Strong, fresh, green piney juniper, spicy citrus, and coriander. It is surprisingly smooth for its strength (49.3% ABV) and is in a classic style, but with a slight twist that makes it smoother, vibrant and more lively.

2) Gin & Tonic
Delicious! Classic juniper and citrus with an extra, zesty sweetness. Very smooth and easy to drink. A great mix, with very good balance; quite dry, but refreshing and simply superb.

3) Martini
One of the best Martinis out there and easily one of the smoothest. It has a rich, full and silky texture. Notes of juniper, coriander and citrus, with a little residual sweetness. At risk of waxing lyrical (maybe we’re past that), this is silk in a glass and at nearly 30% ABV it is a real treat which will appeal to aficionados and new converts alike.

4) Negroni
A Negroni with an extra dose of juniper. It has a balanced flavour, slight nuttiness and, overall, is rather excellent. With its hint of sweet spice, this would satisfy any Negroni adorer. Tip-top.

In Conclusion
I’ve been a fan of Junipero ever since I first tried it (nearly 8 years ago) and so it was good to revisit it and see that it is just as good as ever. I like it in a Gin & Tonic, but, for me, it’s at its best in a Martini.

Junipero is available for around £42 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange

Many thanks to Junipero and Coe Vintners for their help in this article.