American Gin Double Feature – Farmer’s Gin (NY) and Berkshire Mt. Ethereal #4 (MA)

In today’s update on American gin we shall look at two gins, one is organic, the other rather experimental.

Farmers

Farmers Gin is made by the Crop Harvest Earth Company in New York and the whole spirit is made from sustainably farmed grain grown in the U.S.. Both the grain and the gin, therefore, are certified organic by the USDA. The gin is called Farmers in tribute to the four farms that grow the organic crops that are essential in making the gin.

The folks behind Farmers Gin wanted it to be organic for two reasons:
1) they believe that it’s better for the Earth; and
2) they argue that organic gins should taste better, as the organic neutral spirit is cleaner and allows the botanicals to infuse more effectively. Similarly, they also suggest that organic botanicals have more flavour.

The gin was designed to have a different character to those in the Classic London-style, and be less dominant in terms of juniper. It is becoming quite typical among Craft Distillers in the US to opt for a more contemporary style of flavour rather than the Classic style of, say, Beefeater or Tanqueray.

Farmer’s Gin uses the following botanicals:
– Juniper;
– Elderflower;
– Lemongrass;
– Coriander;
– Angelica root;
– plus a number of undisclosed botanicals.

A sample of this was kindly sent to me by a benefactor in the USA.

1) Own
nose: coriander and citrus
taste:  avery smooth start followed by plenty of citrus, orange, slightly soapy coriander and then a lot of lemon grass, then a touch of dry bitter juniper and then a hint of floral and vanilla sweetness right at the end.

2) Gin & Tonic
This is the drink where I think the juniper and elderflower comes through the most, in fact to my taste the juniper is quite prominent up front this then give way to a fresh leafy citrus with elements of the lemongrass and elderflower I think it rather good.

3) Martini
A very floral and heavily citrus Martini quite perfumed and rather contemporary in style. Fresh but not as crisp as a classic martini. although it has a lot of citrus it is a more floral orange, lemon grass lemon verbena type of citrus as opposed to the zesty citrus of lemon or lime.

4) Negroni
A very complex and intense Negroni with the dry floral and perfumed citrus seems to increase the bitterness of the drink and gives it a very powerful flavour. One for the Negroni fans.


Berkshire Mountain Ethereal #4

A sample of this gin was brought back from the USA for me by my dear friend-in-gin, Dickie.

This is made by Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. They also make their standard Greylock Gin, which their distiller informed me is closer to the Classic London Dry Gin style. In the spirit of innovation, they also make a limited edition Ethereal Gin (currently on Batch #5); this uses 14 botanicals, with each release having a different selection and balance of botanicals. The idea being to give each batch of gin its own unique character.

Own
nose: coriander, citrus and a slight vegetal quality
taste: Smooth initially with a strong floral/citrus mix of flavours there is also a hint of vanilla oak on the finish. Complex and very contemporary in style.

Gin & Tonic
This was a powerfully flavourful Gin & Tonic; very floral, with star anise and coriander coming through, as well as some herbal and citrus notes. Zesty and perfumed, this was definitely a departure from a classic Gin & Tonic, but, given the experimental nature of this gin, I think that’s what Ethereal #4 is all about.

Martini
Cool, silky, herbal and piney, with a good dose of floral, as well as coriander and warm cinnamon. I also got lemongrass and a hint of coconut. I think this made a great Martini using the Diamond Method, i.e. pouring the gin straight into a chilled glass that has had a vermouth rinse. Quickly finished.

Negroni
This was superb; in addition to the dry juniper and bittersweet herbal notes that you would expect, there was liquorice and anis, a rich succulent fruitiness, dark chocolate and a hint of gingerbread. It was so smooth and silky, and with such a complex flavour profile, that it was probably one of the best Negronis that I have ever had.

Thanks to Dickie for his help with this article.