Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tuesday Tasting: In the Mood for Gin
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we taste eight gins that are perfect for summer cocktails.
From across the room a glass of vodka and a glass of gin look the same. If you are allowed to sniff the glasses, little doubt remains over which is which. The first taste will confirm the selection. The vodka drinker longs for the absence of flavor; the drink cannot be crisp or clean enough. The gin drinker wants gusto; starting with a juniper base a cacophony of flavors is anticipated with each and every sip.
Gin's flavor comes from the distiller's use of botanicals. Botanicals are a combination of various pieces of plants that offer up a wide range of flavor elements that imbue gin with aroma and taste. The combination of botanicals can range from four into the dozens. A great gin all comes down to the right botanical mix.
Here are eight gins that I sampled recently that all have a slightly different take on the use of botanicals.
Anchor Junipero Gin: Made in a small distillery in Anchor Brewing’s San Francisco facility, this 98.6 proof gin is dry and crisp. Good level of juniper, balanced citrus and a hint of spice.
Bardenay London Style Dry Gin: This 94.2 proof gin from Idaho has a slightly candied nose and a dry, long flavor profile with bits of licorice and floral notes.
Bulldog London Dry Gin: This 80 proof gin imported from England is smooth with a light juniper nose. Botanicals in the mix include poppy and dragon eye. Hint of orange and a touch of lemon essence.
New Amsterdam Straight Gin: E&J Gallo created this 80 proof gin as part of its efforts to expand beyond the wine business. Nice citrus notes, rush of juniper and spruce flavors.
Right Gin: Imported from Sweden, this 80 proof gin has a juniper nose, but more orange and citrus throughout.
Rogue Spirits Spruce Gin: This Oregon gin uses 11 botanicals, including ginger and cucumber. Intense botanical flavor in a warming 90-proof package. Solid juniper finish.
Stellar Gin: This 80 proof domestic gin uses 10 botanicals. Light juniper nose, with tart and sweet citrus flavors throughout.
Tanqueray Export Strength: This 96.4 proof British import has a smooth nose and a layered taste with citrus, nuts and juniper elements that take turns emerging.