Washington Gin Showcase Part 1

Hello and welcome to post #4 for Booze Nerds. However, before we get started, stop everything and go here first Help Murray Stenson. We booze nerds stand on the shoulders of giants. Murray has been a key player in creating the Seattle cocktail scene and more than that, in bringing back real cocktails nation-wide. Please donate and help out someone who is so important to our community!

Now on to the regularly scheduled post. We here at Booze Nerds are fortunate enough to live in the great Pacific Northwest where we’re seeing an explosion in the artisan distilling field. A lot of people talk about how the artisan distillers are just biding their time until they can produce aged spirits, and perhaps for some that’s true. But while we love a good aged whiskey as much as the next nerd, we also feel that there’s plenty to like about the lovely clear spirits.

A number of our local distillers are making some really outstanding gins. As such we decided to do a showcase of some of them. You will note that this is part 1 because there are a lot! Poor us. 🙂  It was a tough choice, but we decided to start with some of our favorites. Voyager by Pacific Distillers, Big Gin by Captive Spirits, Gun Club by Sun Liquors and finally but most definitely not least Ebb + Flow by Sound Spirits. On to our findings!

  • Voyager (42% ABV)
    • Nose
      • Citrus peel,  coriander, juniper, faint allspice.
    • Palate
      • Coriander, juniper, faint toasted cumin, with a slight bitterness. Nice smooth mouth feel.
  • Big Gin (47% ABV)
    • Nose
      • Juniper, licorice or anise, a little mint.
    • Palate
      • Juniper, camphor, slight sweet licorice, very faint mint. Slightly heavier body. Sweeter than the Voyager.
  • Gun Club (50% ABV)
    • Nose
      • The most muted of the lot. Juniper, then savory garden herbs like thyme. The least sweet of the four.
    • Palate
      • Juniper, black pepper notes, caraway. Very savory compared to the others. Some faint vegetal flavor, like green olives.
  • Ebb & Flow (47% ABV)
    • Nose
      • Juniper, citrus but more lemon peel compared to Voyager orange peel, sweet almost custardy or marshmellowy aroma, faint orris root and pepper at the end.
    • Palate
      • Very smooth. Cardamom, coriander, juniper, creamy lemon (almost like lemon curd), perfume-y note on the finish. Sweetest of the four but not by a huge amount.

All four have very different noses and flavors. We tried tasting each while clearing our palates between them so we could evaluate them separately, but after that we tried tasting each without a palate cleanser in between. That transition from one to another really makes their unique components pop! For example, the Voyager compared to the Ebb + Flow really makes the toast-y cumin notes of the former pop. An interesting and illuminating experiment.

Cocktails

  • Voyager
    • Green Glass– We thought the celery bitters would blend well with the toasty notes in this gin. This cocktail recipe is courtesy of Scrappy’s Bitters (an amazing local bitters maker) and Tavern Law (an amazing local bar).
      • 2 oz gin
      • ½ oz dry vermouth
      • ½ oz St. Germain
      • 1/2 oz lime juice (adjust to taste)
      • 1 to 2 dashes of Scrappy’s celery bitters, and serve up with a lemon twist

Nice. (Doesn’t hurt that this is cocktail #4 after tasting 4 gins 😀 ) Toasty cumin notes, celery, lime. Nice sweet notes, followed by caramel-y flavor.  Savory up front followed by the sweetness.

  • Big Gin
    • Gimlet– We thought the simplicity of lime and a little sweetness of this classic drink would work with the mint-y, camphor-y notes of the Big Gin.
      • Juniper, camphor, perfume-y lime peel on the end, Nice combination. Brings out more herbal flavors with a lemon balm component at the front.
  • Gun Club
    • Vesper– Something clean to take advantage of Gun Club’s subtle savory-ness.
      • Starts with the sweetness of the Sun vodka, followed by a punch of the lemon oil from the twist, then the same savory note from the gin mixing nicely with the Lillet. (Julia said “Oooo that’s strong, *cough cough*”). Definitely accentuates the more savory notes as it warms up. Lets the lemon be bright.
      • Alternatives? This would also make a great classic Martini (with an olive) or a Gibson.
  • Ebb & Flow
    • British Holiday One of our own! We thought the citrus plus the floral notes from the St. Germain would go well with Ebb + Flow’s creamy spiciness.
      • 1 1/2 oz gin
      • 1 oz orange juice
      • 3/4 oz St. Germain
      • 1 tbsp lemon juice (adjust based on tartness of orange juice)

Lush tropical notes to start, plus brightness from the citrus. Mango fades to a woodsy sage flavor, which sounds odd but is quite delicious. Lemon curd notes from the base spirit carry through on the finish.

If you live in Seattle, go and try these gins, you’ll be well rewarded. They’re all unique expressions of the spirit, and make some really fantastic drinks. If you don’t live in Seattle, do everything you can to try these anyway 🙂 but also go and see what your local distillers are doing. And more importantly, tell us about it. We love local distillers and their products, and we still have space for a bottle or two in our liquor cabinet.

Update: Be sure to check out Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5!

Note to the distillers we haven’t mentioned: we love you too, but there’s only so much we can drink at once 🙂 We’d love to include you in parts 2, 3 or even 4. If you’re a Washington distiller who’s making gin, let us know and, more importantly, let us know where we can buy your tasty offering, as that’s often half the battle.

This entry was posted in Booze Review, Cocktail, Gin, Original Cocktail, Showcase and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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