Gin is thought to be a British adaptation of the Dutch spirit genever, though the origins of both gin and genever are subject to debate. Gin is, in essence, a flavored vodka as it is in fact a neutral spirit with certain flavorings added to it, though gin distillers won’t thank you for saying that. The key, characteristic flavor of gin must be of juniper, and historically juniper has been an overwhelming component of the spirit. In recent years, distillers have moved to tempering the impact of juniper and pumping up other flavors in the bottle, sometimes resulting in a spirit that’s closer to a flavored vodka. In the European Union and some other places gin must be at least 75 proof, while in the U.S. it must be at least 80 proof. “Navy Strength” gins are often bottled at 114 proof. Today, numerous sub-styles of gin have emerged out of the classic London Dry, including a resurgence of the archaic Old Tom gin style, Plymouth gin (which is also a famous brand), and New Western (or New American) gin, which tends to push the flavor boundaries of the spirit. Aside from Plymouth gin, which must be produced in a specific town in England, these gins have no formal, legal definitions or requirements.

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Review: Gothic Gin

By Drew Beard | September 14, 2022 |

Gothic is a recent addition to the gin world, distilled in California but with inspiration that hails all the way from gin-crazy Spain. To wit: Founder Chris Klug started traveling the world when he was nine years old. His experiences with cultures throughout the world and their approaches to food and drink led him to…

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Review: Procera Green Dot Gin and Red Dot Gin

By Robert Lublin | September 8, 2022 |

We reviewed Procera Blue Dot Gin in January and liked it so much that it found its way onto our list of top 10 gins of the year. Now, half a year later, Procera has released two new, very different follow-ups. One is made exclusively from botanicals drawn from the juniper tree, and the other…

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Review: Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka and Emulsion Gin

By Drew Beard | August 11, 2022 |

Fainting Goat Spirits in Greensboro, NC is named for, well, fainting goats. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but apparently the occasional goat is indeed myotonic, falling stiff on the ground when startled or frightened but quickly getting back up again. Their resilience and their oddity are both qualities the team at Fainting…

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Review: Gin Mare Capri

By Robert Lublin | August 10, 2022 |

We are fans of the original Gin Mare, with its unique olive character, and now the producers have released a special edition as a follow-up. Gin Mare Capri is similar in design to its precursor but has some notable differences. It is made, their website explains, “with Italian bergamot from Calabria and lemons from Capri,…

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Review: Portofino Dry Gin

By Robert Lublin | July 29, 2022 |

Made in Italy and distilled in a traditional copper pot still, Portofino boasts 21 botanicals, and although the full list remains secret, the bottle and their website mention juniper, lemon, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, sage, iris, and rose. Poured into a glass, the gin offers a very aromatic nose that includes perfumed notes of rose that…

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Review: Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin

By Drew Beard | June 29, 2022 |

We’ve explored plenty of brown spirits from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek, from their core lineup to the occasional limited-edition whiskey and even a rye made in bizarre collaboration with a heavy metal band. But it has taken us far too long to review the only clear spirit in the distillery’s portfolio, its Watershed Gin. Named for…

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Review: Fundy Gin

By Christopher Null | June 29, 2022 |

The Bay of Fundy — “one of the 7 wonders of North America” — can be found between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Its namesake gin is made in Nova Scotia, double distilled from corn and proofed with local water over local beach stones, then re-distilled a third time with eight locally sourced botanicals. These…

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Review: Tommyrotter Vodka, Gin, and Bourbon (2022)

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2022 |

We last encountered Buffalo’s minimalist Tommyrotter in 2019. It doesn’t look like a ton has changed in the last three years, except for the brand’s whiskey lineup. The old American Whiskey is gone, a new Bourbon is in its place. We’ve got fresh tastings on the white spirits and a first look at the bourbon…

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Review: Gracias a Dios Gin and Mezcal Pina

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2022 |

Recently Robert took a look at the mezcal made by Gracias a Dios, Spanish for “Thank God.” Unusually, the distillery also makes additional white spirits, including a mezcal-based gin that was developed by students at Oaxaca State University. The espadín agave mezcal is infused with 32 different botanicals and spices, some of which are indigenous…

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Review: Minke Irish Gin

By Robert Lublin | June 4, 2022 |

Minke Irish Gin is made at the Clonakilty Distillery in county Cork, Ireland, and we’ve tried their whiskey before. This gin is made with botanicals that grow wild near the distillery, including one called rock samphire, but the full list of botanicals has not been made available. Most notably, the gin’s base spirit is whey…

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