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: ISH Non-Alcoholic Wine, Gin, and Cocktails

By Christopher Null | January 1, 2024 |

Dry January is upon us, and if you’re one of the brave souls who’s forgoing alcohol this month, know that it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to drinking tap water for 31 days. NA options are increasingly impressive, including a few of the products from ISH, a Danish/German/Austrian operation with the tagline “the…

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Review: Lighthouse Gin

By Christopher Null | December 24, 2023 |

Foley Family Wines is best known — as the name would suggest — for its wine operations, a vast empire which includes Chalk Hill, Sebastiani, Chateau St. Jean, and many more brands. Recently Foley got into the spirits game, and while we’ll review its first bourbon in short order, today we’re examining its inaugural gin,…

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Review: Mr. Pickles Gin

By Robert Lublin | December 12, 2023 |

Named after the pit bull rescued by Wolf Distillery Master Distiller Ben Green, Mr. Pickles Gin carries the adorable face of the eponymous pup on the front of the bottle, and I’ll admit it, I’m smitten. The fetching blue bottle bearing a sweet-faced dog surrounded by flowers speaks directly to my heart. But let’s check…

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Review: Dyfi Gin Pollination Edition

By Christopher Null | November 26, 2023 |

First surprise: “Dyfi,” which hails from Wales, is pronounced “Dovey.” And let me be the first to say, good luck calling for it in your martini at the bar! Made in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the gin incorporates classic gin botanicals along with hand-foraged Welsh botanicals, including “wild flowers, aromatic leaves, fruits, and conifer…

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Drinkhacker’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2023 |

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some festivities in the form of holiday revelry. Naturally, the holidays mean gift-giving time is nigh, and you’re going to want recommendations for what to wrap up and stash under the tree. As always, this year we want your gift-giving to make a statement, but we…

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Review: Purity Vodkas, Gins, and Spritz (2023)

By Christopher Null | October 16, 2023 |

Best known for its out-there bottle design, Sweden’s Purity has expanded from making a single vodka to a much wider range of products, including four(!) vodkas, three gins, and a bottled spritz. Everything has been rebranded lately, though the core recipes seem not to have changed much, starting with a distillate made of organic winter wheat…

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Reflections on a Craft: An Interview with St. George Distillery’s Lance Winters

By Drew Beard | October 13, 2023 |

Today, there are over 2300 craft distilleries operating across the country, but back in the 1980s, when St. George got its start in northern California, there were barely a handful. The distillery’s founder, Jörg Rupf, was one of the godfathers of the craft distilling movement, but his passions were initially pretty narrow, focusing on eaux-de-vie…

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Review: Bertha’s Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin

By Jonathan Glover | October 10, 2023 |

Bertha, Big Bertha to her friends, was an exquisite, whiskey-drinking, grand dame of a cow. She was a Droimeann, a now endangered Irish breed that whether black, white, or red, are typically defined by a long, pale brushstroke of a stripe that extends from neck to tail. Bertha was beautiful then, but she was also…

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Review: Eda Rhyne Pinnix Gin and Amaro Oscura

By Drew Beard | October 2, 2023 |

We last checked in on Asheville’s Eda Rhyne Distilling Company back in 2020 when their young portfolio featured only a trio of impressive herbal liqueurs. Three years and one global pandemic later, these mountain medicine makers have added to their lineup with a handful of new offerings including an RTD and a long-awaited rye whiskey…

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Review: Freeland Spirits Forest Gin

By Robert Lublin | October 1, 2023 |

While watching the development of the amazing range of new gins that have been produced in recent years, I have been particularly excited to try ones that closely highlight the specific region from which the botanicals are drawn. How fantastic that Freeland Spirits has released a new gin, its third, made with locally sourced botanicals…

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