Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavor from juniper berries (Juniperus communis). From its earliest origins in the Middle Ages, gin has evolved from a herbal medicine to an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin was developed on the basis of the older jenever, and became popular in Great Britain when William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, occupied the English, Scottish and Irish thrones with his wife Mary. Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, represented by products of various origins, styles, and flavor profiles that all revolve around juniper as a common ingredient.
This summer is Gin Revival and we're participating in a number of events. Get to know the producers that are making some of the finest Gins today.
Back Label: According to Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Return of the Native, the bilberries were called, “black-hearts.” Everyone has a bit of a dark heart, but there’s always a sweet return at the smell and taste of familiar things.
Distiller Comments: Indigenous to Britain and northern Europe, the bilberry takes center stage next to a supporting cast of juniper and seven other botanicals in our gin. A cousin to the huckleberry and blueberry, the bilberry is smaller with a fuller taste and is extremely hard to grow. Thus, it is seldom cultivated. The fruit is mostly collected from wild plants growing on public lands. It is an everyman’s right to collect bilberries irrespective of land ownership. The bilberry is dark in color and usually appears black, thus the berry was commonly referred to as a black heart in 19th century southwestern England. I hope that this truly unique berry and its flavors of tart fig, pepper, and black licorice rest well on your palete.
Product Information: Juniper, bilberries and seven other botanicals are macerated and soaked in a 100% organic wheat base spirit overnight. The next day the base spirit, by now full of flavor from the botanicals, enters the still and is distilled into a refined gin. The definition of small batch, each gin run produces less than ten gallons of distillate. Bilberry Black Hearts Gin is clean, bright, and fruity with subtle hints of black licorice.
Cotswolds DRY GIN
Our Cotswolds Dry Gin has a delectable blend of nine carefully-considered botanicals.
The expression of the traditional London dry style comes from the maceration into our pure wheat spirit of juniper, coriander and angelica root, which have been left for 12 hours to allow their flavour characteristics to fully infuse.
We then add our unique botanical mix of Cotswolds lavender and bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper and cardamom seed into our bespoke Holstein pot still for distillation before finishing with naturally refined Cotswolds water.
The result is a classic well-balanced juniper-led gin with crisp citrus and spice. This gin is delicious on its own and over ice. It’s robust enough to stand up to tonic and smooth enough to craft the ultimate gin martini.
Anchor Old Tom Gin
Anchor Distillery is proud to introduce a third style of gin from the distillery, Anchor Old Tom Gin. Anchor Old Tom, like its historical predecessors, is pot-distilled with juniper berries and other botanicals, sweeter than modern London dry gin, and bottled unfiltered. But unlike any other Old Tom, its sweetness comes from a blend of two traditional botanicals, star anise and licorice root, and one untraditional one: stevia. While known for centuries by natives of Paraguay, where we source our stevia, we believe that this is stevia's first use in gin, creating a sophisticated silky-sweet complexity that makes Anchor Old Tom perfect for mixing cocktails both old and new. In 1891, Bret Harte called San Francisco "a dusty drive with a cocktail at the end of it." If that cocktail had been a Tom Collins or a Martinez, it would have been made with Old Tom, a sweet pot-distilled gin enjoyed in San Francisco from the Gold Rush to Prohibition. Old Tom's namesake may have been Thomas Chamberlain, longtime partner with Benjamin George Hodges in Hodges's Distillery, Millbank, London. In 1823, they were credited for making "Old Tom, sir-the best Gin-by the Gods denominated blue-ruin, but by men below, Hodges's max." Our rakish tomcat is a salute to Capt. Dudley Bradstreet and the vending machine he created in 18th-century London for his illicit gin. "I...purchased...the Sign of a Cat, and had it nailed to a Street Window; I then caused a Leaden Pipe...to be placed under the Paw of the Cat; the End that was within had a Funnel." Customers put money in the cat's mouth and said, "'Puss, give me two Pennyworth of Gin.' I...put my Mouth to the Tube, and bid them receive it from the Pipe under her Paw, and then...poured it into the Funnel." 45% ABV
No. 3 London Dry Gin
Just three fruits and three spices, collectively known as botanicals, are all that are deemed essential to the flavor of No.3 London Dry Gin. Juniper, from Italy, gives gin not only its name, but also the unmistakable gin taste of pine and lavender. Sweet Spanish orange peel provides freshness in the form of clean, crisp citrus. Grapefruit peel gives an extra zingy lift. Angelica root delivers an earthy quality and helps to keep the gin dry. Moroccan coriander seed releases a lemon flavor and a spicy, slightly peppery finish. And finally, cardamom pods add a spicy, aromatic, yet warm bite. 46% ABV
GOLD MEDAL, TROPHY (HIGHEST AWARD) - International Spirits Challenge, 2015
92 POINTS - Wine Enthusiast, 2013
BEST GIN OF THE YEAR
“In a year that was absolutely packed with exciting new gins, there was one that simply stood above the rest. Picture all the flavors you love about gin - the juniper, the herbaceousness, the little hints of citrus peel, the pepper, etc. - and concentrate them. Then remove the things you may not enjoy - the bitterness, the heat, the burn, etc. The result is the No.3 Gin.”
- David Driscoll, K&L Awards, 2011
"A harmonic balance opens in proper gin tradition with soft sweet pine, supported with clementine notes, a hint of chai and a very clean dry finish." - Anistatia Miller & Jared Brown, Museum of the American Cocktail
Two James Gins
Old Cockney Gin
Old Cockney Gin is carefully handcrafted from the same grains used for our 28 Island Vodka, including soft winter wheat and rye. Drawing on the London style gins of old, Two James is distilled with heavy juniper, and accompanied with select botanicals. The result is a dry, smooth gin with a unique, but harmonious balance of flavors. 82 Proof
Barrel Reserve Old Cockney Gin
Two James Barrel Reserve Old Cockney Gin starts with our earthy yet traditional style gin that is then aged just under six months in new charred American oak barrels. The oak aging gives the gin its golden straw color and builds upon Old Cockney’s complex flavor profile, transmuting the deep earthy notes into bright nutmeg and vanilla with just a hint of tannin to round out this unique offering from Two James. Truly a whiskey drinker’s gin. 91 Proof
CH Key Gin
AWARDED: GOLD MEDAL – International Review of Spirits
Our “gateway” gin. Fresh key limes add a light and refreshing citrus note. White pepper and lavender add spice and richness. Try it on the rocks with a splash of soda. This one will turn you into a gin drinker. (42% Alcohol by Volume)
CH London Dry Gin
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – Beverage Tastings Institute
Our proprietary blend of botanicals delivers a perfect balance of classic flavors – citrus peel, juniper, cardamom and pepper. Perfect for a Classic Martini and a great addition to any cocktail. (46% Alcohol by Volume) –
America's Original Craft Gin: Junípero Gin is made by hand in the classic London dry gin tradition, utilizing more than a dozen botanicals in their natural state in a small copper pot still at the small distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, making it the first post-Prohibition craft gin distilled in the United States. Junípero is not chill-filtered, allowing the botanicals to marry gently and shine through the finished gin, and the higher proof of 98.6 brings forward the flavors in cocktails. The predominant flavor and aroma of a modern gin will always come from juniper (dried berries of the "common juniper," juniperus communis), but the wonderful challenge for the distiller is in selecting and blending from a wide variety of additional, exotic botanicals in order to impart a uniquely satisfying, balanced character to the gin. To create the secret proprietary recipe for Junípero, the Anchor Distilling team applied the knowledge gained from 10 years of mixing herbs, spices and botanicals for Anchor Brewing Company's annual Christmas Ale. The result is a distinctive, intriguing complexity in Junípero Gin that is light, crisp and clean, combining a deep and mysterious spiciness with subtle delicacy. 49.3% ABV
FINALIST, 94 POINTS - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2016
GOLD MEDAL - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2016
SILVER MEDAL - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2015
"Smooth, clean and very dry with assertive, classic flavors of juniper and citrus: a martini with one eyebrow raised." - Eric Asimov, New York Times
"Arguably America's greatest gin." - Oliver Schwaner-Albright, Departures Magazine
St. Georges Spirits
An ode to the wild beauty of the Golden State.
Forest-driven and earthy, Terroir is a profoundly aromatic gin with a real sense of place. We wanted to make a spirit that conveyed what we love about the monumental groves of trees, moist and misty glens, and sun-baked chaparral of our favorite local parklands.
With Terroir Gin, we try to take you there with Douglas fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, and other evocative botanicals. Sip it and be transported.
Wildcrafted local Douglas fir and California bay laurel form Terroir’s aromatic signature—and 10 more botanicals help complete the picture.
We use a well-seasoned wok to roast the coriander seeds used in Terroir Gin. (The wok we use was Lance’s 13th birthday present. It was on his wish list. Yes, he was an unusual child.) Coriander isn’t endemic to the Bay Area, but roasted coriander has an intoxicating earthy bouquet reminiscent of the region’s chaparral. On roasting days, the entire distillery is filled with the most fantastic aromas.
We distill the fir and sage individually on a 250-liter still to minimize the impact of seasonal variation. The fresh bay laurel leaves and juniper berries are vapor-infused in a botanicals basket. The other botanicals go right in the pot of our 1,500-liter still.