While it seems like a lifesaver at times, gin won't actually save lives, until now. 1897 Quinine Gin was released this week on World Mosquito Day because every bottle that is sold pushes half of the profits towards the Malaria No More Charity. This great cause also happens to include a great gin, made with cinchona bark, a traditional source of quinine, which has been used as an antimalarial for centuries. Ten botanicals were used, including fresh citrus peels that were part cold distilled using a vacuum still to extract the freshest flavors.
The Nordic Food Lab and The Cambridge Distillery have teamed up to create a gin that is the first in the world to use red wood ants. Anty Gin actually distills the wood ants known for the formic acid that sits in their abdomens, which just happens to be a perfect reactive compound for alcohol. Each bottle is labeled using The Cambridge Distillery's 1924 typewriter and contains the essence of around 62 wood ants. And when Bulgarian juniper berries and wild springtime botanicals are added, it's a unique gin that not only fits well in a cocktail, but carries an incredible story with it as well.
Not unlike the famous Dutch spirit Genever — VL92 Gin starts with a base of Malt Wine. It's then re-distilled with a mix of 14 botanicals including fresh cilantro, juniper, orange peel, and some others that remain a secret. Made at the Van Toor Distillery in Vlaardingen, Holland, this unique gin is an ideal choice for your next G&T as the spring weather makes a few hours on the patio more and more tempting.
As the days get longer and warmer, it's time to figure out your best options for classic Gin cocktails. And Right Gin from Altamar is nothing short of a perfect candidate. Made from a grain base in Malmo, Sweden using water from a nearby protected lake, Right Gin has all the juniper and citrus flavors you'd expect from a dry gin, but also includes Sarawak Black Pepper which gives it a subtle, unique twist. Perfect for Martinis or Gin & Tonic as you celebrate Spring.
While you scan the shelves at the liquor store looking to try something new, sometimes a bottle jumps out at you. Koval's Dry Gin should, with its laser-cut label that is embossed and die-cut and then topped off with delicate gold foil circles. And the gin matches the attention to detail the label received, made from a blend of woodland spices and with a dry, citrusy nose. It's an organic, small batch gin that is a great choice for cocktails, but flavorful enough to drink straight as well.
If you're after a Gin that can take you around the world in one glass, look no further than Elephant Dry Gin. Inspired by African exploration and its spirit of adventure, Elephant Gin is distilled in Germany using 14 botanicals that include African ingredients like Devil's Claw, Baobab and Wormwood. The unique gin can be enjoyed neat or in a cocktail, and not only tastes like a well-rounded Gin, but comes in a tremendous looking bottle as well. It also stays true to its name, as 15% of the profits go to two African elephant foundations.
During the 1800's, when classic cocktails were at the peak of their powers, Old Tom Gin was an integral part of loads of classic recipes like the Tom Collins. But Prohibition brought it and many others to the brink of extinction and Old Tom Gin wasn't revived until a few years ago. Tanqueray's take on the classic spirit comes from the recipe book of Charles Tanqueray himself with notes dating back to 1835. It's a gin that is light and a bit sweet while remaining incredibly smooth and easy to sip. It's also limited to 100,000 bottles worldwide, so seek out a bottle for your next classic cocktail recipe.
If you like to enjoy a cocktail now and again, but the juniper blast in most gins is more than you prefer, Aviation American Gin might be a great match for you. Aviation intends to take a step away from some traditional gins that have saturated the market and put a unique, fresh stamp on the industry. It's a dry gin, handcrafted in the Pacific Northwest with plenty of fresh citrus flavors along with some hints of lavender and sarsaparilla — making it a fantastic mixer. Combine that with a simple, sexy new bottle and you have a gin that is clearly ready for take off.
FEW Spirits in Chicago, Illinois make drinks that are an homage to the past. And one of their first specialty spirits is no exception. While it's quite common to put a spirit like tequila or rum into oak barrels, the practice was nearly extinct in the gin world. But Few Barrel Gin ($40) is now leading a pack of new barrel aged gins. It gives off the juniper aromas you are used to with a gin, but pours an amber color instead, thanks to the four months it spent in oak barrels. The result is a light smoky smoothness that is unlike any gin you've tasted. As the bottle states, "What once was clear is now complex."
How important is the water that is used to craft gin? Downright essential, if you ask the folks at Jack Rabbit Hill Farm in Colorado. Their CapRock Organic Gin ($30) sources pure spring water from an actual Caprock for this inebriant. In fact, it's one of the only purely organic gins made in the USA. It springs forward with a complex blend of apples, juniper, and an intriguing floral bouquet. Sip on it straight, and then mix up a batch of Tom Collins or Gin & Tonics for a crisp, clean cocktail at your next summer get together.
We've heard of bathtub gin before, but luckily this Homemade Gin Kit ($40) doesn't require you to set up a distillery in your bathroom. Instead, it has you grab a bottle of vodka and let it steep with the included juniper berries and carefully selected, hand weighed spices, botanicals, flowers, and aromatics. Roughly 36 hours later you'll have your very own small batch gin, which you can keep in the included 500ml bottle for your own purposes while gifting away the other 250ml in the other included flask.
No, that's not a typo. Crafted to one-up the classic worm in a tequila bottle, English Garden Worm Gin ($30) features a common earthworm floating around in the booze, which offers up a dry flavor and a alcohol content of 37.5 percent. As for what to do with the worm when you're finished? That's totally up to you.
While the larger spirit companies are busy inventing new flavors, plenty of smaller shops are busy resurrecting classic recipes in small batches. Take Brooklyn Gin ($40) for example. Created at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery — New York's first licensed distillery since Prohibition — this crisp, smooth gin is the first Brooklyn Distilling Company product in over 100 years, and is made using hand-cracked juniper berries, freshly-cut citrus peels, and other locally-sourced ingredients that give it its simple, satisfying flavor.
Add an extra bit of oomph to your New Years martinis, long islands, and slings with Bulldog Gin ($30). Handcrafted in London using traditional copper pot stills and twelve unique botanicals, Bulldog offers fruit and citrus notes, a smooth texture, and crisp taste that make it perfect for mixing or solo sipping. As a bonus, the distinctive bottle with a spiked collar is sure to draw more than a few questions from your fellow revelers.
Made in Oregon as a historically accurate revival of Old Tom Gin from the mid-1800s, Ransom Old Tom Gin ($36) is here to fill the gap between London Dry and the sweeter Jenever. With a malted barley base, Ransom adds an infusion of botanicals like juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamon pods, and angelica root to create a flavorful spirit with herbal and citrus notes. As for the whole "Old Tom Gin" bit, the name supposedly comes from wooden cat-shaped planks — "old toms" — outside some pubs in 1700s England, into which passerby would deposit a penny, then slurp up a shot of gin poured by the bartenders inside through a tube between the cat's paws. Seriously, we couldn't make that up.
Supposedly brewed in a tub until the owners shot a hole in the side, Tub Gin ($33) comes with an interesting backstory that belies its refined taste. Infused with several different kinds of hand-picked Colorado Juniper berries, Tub also offers notes of coriander, citrus peel, oris root, and other botanicals, and is craft-distilled in small batches to best capture the flavor of the makers' original tub-brewed hooch.