Summertime and the living are easy. With the warm weather and long days languishing in the sun, this is the best time of year to break out the Gin and keep cool in the shade with a few G&Ts.
Thankfully for all of us who love that juniper-seasoned spirit, the craft Gin movement is not just alive and well, it’s simply booming. From across the states to across the pond and beyond, there are almost too many great Gins to choose from. Almost. Have your wallets at the ready—here are a few favorites to whet your whistle.
Pale Pink Eden
Located in St. Andrews just north of Edinburgh, Scotland, Eden Mill has quickly established itself as one of today’s top craft Gin producers. Eden Mill has a lineup of core Gins in addition to a series of wonderful limited release seasonal Gins which capture the essence of what they’re all about: bespoke, craft spirits. Traditional copper pots are used in the distillation process but the approach is all modern.
We recommend starting with their core Gins as they are not only delicious but also offer variety to the discerning Gin lover. Pale pink Gin, a hop Gin, an oak-aged Gin, and the original sea buckthorn berry Gin. The pale pink, in particular, is stunning. Getting its color from rose petals and hibiscus, it is more berry-driven than your typical Gin-tinged spirit. If you’re looking to broaden your horizons, you can enjoy their Whiskeys, beers, and even bottled cocktails—Gin-based, naturally.
Hand-Foraged Classic Botanicals
Bruichladdich of Islay Whiskey fame is the tour de force behind The Botanist. It’s the island’s first and only Gin, flavored with a whopping twenty-two hand-foraged botanicals, all found on Islay. Even the juniper used for this gorgeous Gin is local to the island. Along with classic botanicals like angelica root, coriander, orris root, and orange peel (with worldwide origins), you’ll find ingredients like bog myrtle, heather, gorse, and elderflower. Complex and floral aromas intermingled with mint and citrus, The Botanist is well worth getting acquainted with.
Evergreen Cliffside Spirits
Juniper takes a backseat in this Northern California, New World–style Gin. The distillery behind Farallon is Coastal Spirits which started out with Vodka and graduated to making Gin. Farallon comes from the Spanish word for cliffs and in so naming his line, owner Brad Plummer gives a tip of the hat to both the region where his spirits are made and the cliffside springs where he gets his water from.
Farallon Gin is proving to be a favorite of 2017 and with good reason. Leading with evergreen pine notes and the less oft-used grapefruit and lavender, Farallon rounds out with cucumber and lemongrass. This micro-craft Gin deserves a spot in your home bar, especially if you’re partial to pine in your Gin.
Floral Gin with a Female Twist
More than anything else, Gin is the quintessential spirit of England. We’d be remiss not to include one of the up-and-comers from the sceptered isle. Bloom is a London Dry with old roots, although its modern face dates back to 2009. It boasts one of the world’s few female master distillers, Joanne Moore, who has perfected what is perhaps the gold standard in craft Gin made for summer enjoyment. As its name suggests, Bloom is a floral Gin which features honeysuckle, pomelo, and chamomile while still having a strong juniper presence. It’s fresh and refreshing and balanced to boot. A must for as long as summer lingers.
Spring-Sourced Colorado Rock-y
A London-style Gin made in the wilds of Hotchkiss, Colorado, Cap Rock deviates from the standard grain base and is instead made from distilled apples. It’s also completely organic and the masterminds at Peak Spirits Farm Distillery, the visionaries behind Cap Rock, were one of the early pioneers in the world of organic Gin.
Whiskey drinkers will know that water is an important factor in how that honey-colored nectar will taste. This is no less true for Gin or any other spirit. The folks at Cap Rock take this to heart and the water used in the distillation process is sourced from a nearby spring. This spring is located under, you guessed it, a cap rock, a type of hard rock formation that covers a weaker one and gives this excellent Gin its name.
Germanic Black Forest Gin
And now for something completely different, Monkey 47 is a Gin made in the British tradition but coming to you straight out of Germany’s Black Forest. Why 47? Well, 47 different botanicals make their way into this unique Gin and the final bottling clocks in at 47 percent ABV. It packs a bit of a punch. But that’s not the only thing setting Monkey 47 apart from others on the market. They also use cranberries to help give this spectacular Gin its distinctive taste. It is as woodsy as the Schwarzwald it calls home, framed by citrus, herbs, and a touch of sweetness. But there’s spice in there, too, and Monkey 47 has a lot to offer anyone who appreciates a generous, well-rounded, and intricate spirit.
The brainchild of Chicago-based bartender Brenton Engel, Letherbee sets itself apart from so many other Gins on the market with its creative limited edition seasonal bottlings. Released twice a year (autumn/winter and spring/summer), Letherbee offers Gin-oisseurs something utterly unique.
Alas, the 2016 Autumnal is sold out on their website, however, you can still pick up a bottle or two of their outstanding Vernal. It was quite literally made for summer enjoyment. With the palest green hue, Vernal gets its flavor from an unorthodox mix of lemongrass, holy basil, and ginger, alongside more traditional Gin botanicals.
We may be getting into the final stretch of summer but there’s still plenty out there for the curious Gin-thusiast to discover. With the explosion of the craft Gin scene and the incredible talent found in so many of these distilleries, any Gin lover worth their juniper berries needs to branch out and get to know this exciting brave new world of craft Gin.