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

GreenHat Title

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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


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)

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