The gin renaissance is in full swing. Here’s how to imbibe with style
Spring is the season of gin. While we hunker down in the wool sweater months with our favorite browns, keeping the soul toasty via a steady collection of Scotch, cognac and bourbon, when the sun finally returns it’s time to clear things up. Literally. We look for spirits that are crisp, light, and refreshing as the days warm up, and no spirit has the clarity and brightness of gin. Thank the juniper and countless other botanicals that can be used for its production — the resulting eruption of tastes and scents allow the best gins to leap from the glass to your nose and palate.
We can thank the explosion in craft distilling for the windfall of new gins, with some 6,000 varieties of the pleasantly astringent spirit now in existence. From Holland, where some of the earliest gins were distilled, all the way to Japan, we surveyed several stellar examples for this drink-as-you-go guide. We’ve included classics, brand new varietals of our home bar standards, big-ticket limited edition expressions and even one aged in wooden casks to get your gin education off to a proper start.
AVIATION AMERICAN GIN
While many first heard of Aviation thanks to its acquisition by Marvel superhero/merry prankster Ryan Reynolds, the truth is the spirit was something special long before Deadpool got his bloody gloves on it. Portland, Oregon-based master distiller and bartender team Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian carefully developed the blend. A proprietary maceration produces a unique medley of botanical flavors.
The technique is credited with imbuing the brand with its incomparably soft and smooth profile, with juniper in the background and both citrus and floral notes up front, helping it earn it a 97-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, which Aviation says makes it the world’s highest-rated gin.
CITADELLE NO MISTAKE OLD TOM GIN
Boutique French spirits producer Maison Ferrand’s master blender, Alexandre Gabriel, built a reputation on pushing experimentation to extreme places. Specifically, Gabriel is known to play with production, blending and aging techniques to create new and fresh twists on long forgotten liquors. More than two decades ago Gabriel launched Citadelle Gin, employing 19 botanicals and aromatics in pot stills over an open flame. Next, he aged the spirit in five types of wooden barrels to create Citadelle Réserve. Now for the Citadelle Extrême collection, he’s testing the limits of the spirit.
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