Making gin is like painting a blank canvas. It’s a collage of flavors. And some new micro distillers, I‘ve found, are painting with a colorful palette.
Recently, I discovered some new flavorful renditions of this spirit, whose origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages, at Elixirs & Eats: Bacon, Beer, Booze, and Burlesque, an event at Hudson Terrace put on by food and beverage promoter Jimmy Carbone, who owns Jimmy’s No, 43 bar in Manhattan and Food Karma Projects, an event company. He received assistance from Gregg Glaser, editor of Modern Distillery Age.
● Bluecoat American Dry Gin, from the Philadelphia Distilling Co., Sold in a cobalt blue bottle, this gin is far from the typical London dry gin. It’s made with wheat, organic juniper berries, citrus and botanicals. The taste is firmly focused on the spicy juniper and citrus.
● Brooklyn Gin, produced under contract for Jose Santo’s Brooklyn Distilling Co. by the Hudson Valley-based Warwick Winery and Distillery. Santo’s recipe includes hand-cracked juniper berries, 11 botanicals, five types of citrus peels, lavender and cocoa nibs. It’s floral and citrus forward.
I’ve always found gin much more interesting than vodka, largely because of its complex flavors. To me, a martini is tastier with gin than it is with vodka. And nothing beats a gin and tonic on a hot summer day, though a gin greyhound cocktail may come close. Or, perhaps, this gin punch recipe from Brooklyn Distilling’s Jose Santos:I must lament that it’s difficult to find these distinctive gins outside of New York City. You’ll find retailers listed on the producers’ respective web sites.
Adopted from a recipe from Brooklyn Distilling
1 bottle of Brooklyn Gin or other small batch gin
3 Earl Grey tea bags
12 oz. agave syrup
12 oz. pear purée
20 oz. water
10 oz. lemon juice (12 fresh lemons)
Pour the gin into another a pitcher or jug and add the three Earl Grey tea bags. Stir/shake occasionally for up to 20 minutes, tasting along the way to ensure that it doesn’t get you too bitter for you.
Remove the tea bags.
Pour the infused gin into a punch bowl.
Add all other ingredients (except the nutmeg) and stir.
Add some ice to the bowl.
To serve, add some ice to a glass, pour punch in glass, and sprinkle some ground nutmeg on the top.
Agave syrup is available in most supermarkets
If commercial pear purée is unavailable make it yourself using 6 pears. Peel and core the peers and then puree with a little water in a food processor.