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: Gray Whale Gin

By Christopher Null | May 12, 2020 |

Gray Whale Gin is a Sonoma, California-made spirit designed to celebrate the California gray whale. Per the producer, Golden State Distillery, “the spirit takes the drinker on a gustatory journey up the Pacific coastline along the gray whales’ 12,000-mile migration pattern from Baja California through Mendocino (terminating in the Arctic).” The company donates 1% of…

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Review: Krater Noster Gin

By Christopher Null | April 23, 2020 |

Krater Noster Dry Gin is made in Bavaria, Germany, and a small bottle of this gin — not available in the U.S. — was gifted to us by a friend of the site, visiting from overseas. The gin draws its name from its unusual source of juniper berries: The edge of a local meteorite crater,…

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Reviews: Virago Four Port Rum, Port Cask-Finished Rum, and Modern Gin

By Drew Beard | April 19, 2020 |

Virago Spirits is a very young craft distillery, opening just two years ago in the hip Scott’s Addition neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. The distillery was started by three brothers, Barry, Brad, and Bart Haneberg (seriously), with a focus seemingly on anything but whiskey, which is rare for a craft distillery but not exactly unwise given…

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Review: Bowling & Burch Gin

By Christopher Null | April 9, 2020 |

Kentucky’s Limestone Branch Distillery, best known for Yellowstone and Minor Case whiskeys, has added its first gin to its arsenal. Bowling & Burch Premium Gin “is named after Head Distiller Steve Beam’s two sides of the family who were in agriculture and also horticulture enthusiasts. ‘This new world gin was born from the passion my…

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Review: Rock Rose Gin Original and Navy Strength

By Christopher Null | March 23, 2020 |

Dunnet Bay Distillers’ Rock Rose Gin is the latest entry into the increasingly crowded Scottish gin market — where more than 170 different gins are currently in production. The brand dates back to 2014, the result of 55 experiments to find the right botanical blend. The final recipe is an exotic mix that includes juniper, rose…

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The Top 10 Gins of 2019

By Christopher Null | March 8, 2020 |

As springtime approaches, a young man’s fancy often turns to one thing: Gin, a spirit practically designed for drinking in warm weather. Whether you’re into a classic martini, an old-fashioned gin and tonic, or something more exotic, the world of gin is more varied and complex than ever. Gins are hitting the market from all…

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Review: McClintock Distilling Epiphany Vodka and Forager Gin

By Drew Beard | February 25, 2020 |

McClintock Distilling can be found in Frederick, Maryland, north of Washington, D.C. One of the younger craft distilleries, they only just began to distill in 2017 inside a historic, warehouse space on Frederick’s downtown riverwalk. Their initial portfolio, not surprisingly, focused on clear spirits with an emphasis on the quality of their ingredients. As one…

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Review: Highclere Castle Gin

By Christopher Null | February 19, 2020 |

Highclere Castle is a brand new gin line that hit the scene only a few months ago. Its striking purple bottle with an incredibly familiar castle etched into the front immediately begets curiosity. Where did this spirit come from? Here’s the official backstory: Home to the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, this exquisite country…

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Review: Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut Gin 2019

By Christopher Null | February 6, 2020 |

“Highly anticipated” and “gin” are terms that we rarely see together, but if ever a product merited the combination it’s this: Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut. For those unfamiliar, Monkey 47 is a storied German gin that includes 47 ingredients in its botanical bill. (It’s also bottled at 47% alcohol.) It’s a dazzlingly complex product, and…

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Review: Fleurette Gins and Fylleangst Aquavit

By Christopher Null | February 5, 2020 |

New Alchemy Distilling is a craft producer based in the El Dorado Hills of California, where, with nary a barrel in sight, it focuses on (mostly) white spirits — vodka, gin, white whiskey, and even aquavit. The company produces a collection of six different spirits, three of which we look at here. Let’s dig in!…

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