Cocktails with… Veresk Russian Gin

The World of Gin Map (Click to enlarge) Green = We've tried a gin from that country Pink + "we're working on it"

The World of Gin Map (Click to enlarge) Green = We've tried a gin from that country Pink + "we're working on it"

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to receive a very thoughtful gift from my good friend, Mr. Pasha of Moscow: a Russian gin. I was immensely interested to try a gin from a country so well-known for its vodka. This also marks the launch of our “World of Gin” project: a simple concept, where we try gins from a variety of different countries of the world to see how they approach gin. See below for a map showing which international gins I’ve tried and countries that produce gins that I know of, but have not yet had the chance to try.


So what about the Russian gin? It is called “Veresk Dry Gin, 1898”. “Veresk” translates as “heath”, and the bottle has a traditional fox hunting scene at the top. Although on the front it says, “Distilled in England”, the back of the bottle and website make it clear that it is actually made at the Veresk Kashinskiy Distillery (liqueur and vodka plant) in Kashina town, about 130 miles north of Moscow.

The Veresk drinks company was founded in 1901 and, today, makes a variety of products, including vodka, liqueurs, creme liqueurs, brandy and bianco vermouth.

Veresk gin is wheat-based, bottled at 40% ABV, and defined as a distilled gin. It is known to contain “juniper and spices”, but it has such a strong cardamon note, both in flavour and smell, I would highly expect it to contain this, too.

1) Own: There are strong notes of juniper & coriander on the nose. The taste is defined by notes of juniper, citrus, and coriander to start, with cardamon on the finish. It is quite heavy, botanical-wise, but rather well-balanced with a touch of tongue-bite at the end.

2) Gin & Tonic: This drink tasted very fresh, with hints of cardamon;  if you like this spice you’ll probably really enjoy this. I was also pleased to find that juniper is also distinctly present.

3) Martini: Rather smooth; the vermouth comes through strognly, but isn’t overpowering. Flavourful, but crisp; pretty good.

4) Pink Gin: A subtle blend, but one that does bring out the cardamon of the gin, which is a good match for the Angostura. A herbally intense drink that will certainly wake you up.

5) Gimlet: Good but it is lack that thin crisp edge that I think a great Gimlet should have. Not bad nonetheless.

6) Gin Bump: This drink was pretty good, as the herbal elements went quite well with the ginger ale. Whilst this was a good Gin Bump, it is not the best example and I enjoyed many of the other drinks on this list more.

7) Milano: Delicious: the sweet vanilla and herbal notes work well with the botanicals of the gin, in particular the cardamon and coriander. The lemon juice gives it a slight tartness. Rather pleasant.

 8) Negroni: Quite bitter, this is good but the Campari has a tendency to slightly overpower this particular Gin, which is a shame.

9) GT Turbo:
Excellent, bitterness from the tonic syrup, matches with the citrus and any tart edge is taken off by the gin and it’s strong herbal elements. Really, very good.

10) Old Fashioned:
Another great Gin Old Fashioned, it seem that Veresk works particularly well with any cocktail containing Angostura bitters, a synergy between the herbal spiciness of the gin and the bitters I think. Lovely stuff.

In Conclusion

I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever get to try Russian Gin (I hear it’s very hard to find domestic gin in Russia) so it was really surprise when I received some yesterday. For a country that is famed for it’s vodka production Veresk Gin is a pretty decent product that mixes well and has that unusual cardamon note as a trade-mark. The Gin & Tonic was excellent as was the Milano and the GT Turbo.