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Three Cocktails that Will Change Your Mind About Gin

by Jacob Brower, Wine & Spirits Professional


People who think they don’t like gin often associate the word with low-quality spirits that taste—quite frankly—like Pine-Sol and rubbing alcohol. Maybe you had a bad college experience with one of those gins in plastic jugs, or maybe you had a family member with dubious taste in gin, but hear me out: you shouldn’t let these misconceptions color your understanding of what ‘gin’ tastes like, or how it should be enjoyed! 


In fact, one of the most interesting developments of craft spirits becoming more popular is the explosion not only in different producers of gin, but different styles. It’s a versatile spirit that can be tailored extensively by a creative distiller. After all, juniper may be a required botanical in gin, but it doesn’t have to be the only one or even the most present, most obvious part of the blend. If you step away from the major brands, most of whom are making indistinguishable London Dry styles, you’ll find that there are some really fun, delicious, contemporary gins that will even please cocktail fans who don’t like the taste of juniper!


Here are three unusual (but delicious) modern gins & a cocktail recipe that will beautifully showcase the unique qualities of each…happy mixing!


1. Breuckelen Distilling ‘Glorious Gin’
Distilled in Sunset Park, Brooklyn by the borough’s first distillery to receive a craft distillation license, this is a truly handcrafted gin—using a base of grain farmed in NY’s Finger Lakes and fresh New York State produce, the unique botanical profile of fresh grapefruit peel, lemon peel, rosemary, ginger, and subdued juniper results in a very crisp, citrusy, refreshing spirit that is clearly gin, but doesn’t taste like sucking on a pine tree. And it’s a LOT of fun in summer cocktails.

The cocktail: The Sunset Park
A delicious cocktail of my own invention, this is incredibly simple to measure out and make, and the clean, easy ratio can be scaled easily to make larger quantities if you want to offer this refreshingly tart, citrus-based cocktail at your next BBQ, dinner party, or outdoor gathering. Inspired by the unique botanicals in Breuckelen Distilling ‘Glorious Gin,’ this is going to be my go-to gin cocktail all summer long.

1.5 oz Breuckelen Distilling ‘Glorious Gin
1.5 oz Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur
Juice of half a lemon
Sprig of rosemary

Combine gin, liqueur, and lemon juice in cocktail shaker over ice. Add a few rosemary leaves and shake until the shaker is cold and perspiring to the touch. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, garnish with a lemon twist and the rosemary spring.


2. Caledonia Spirits ‘Barr Hill, Tom Cat’ Gin
Fans of darker spirits like bourbon, scotch, and brandy would do well to try this delicious barrel-aged gin distilled in Vermont from only two simple ingredients: raw honey (from Caledonia’s own apiary) and juniper. To make this ‘Old Tom’-inspired gin, the spirit is then aged in American oak barrels to achieve a smooth, rich, whiskey-like flavor that is lifted by the fresh, piney gin base. It makes an outstanding sipping spirit during warmer months, when whiskey can get a little heavy, but is also a lot of fun for cocktail experimentation.

The cocktail: Barrel-Aged Negroni
Few cocktails are as classic, classy…and boozy…as the Negroni. Popular again with the resurgence in classic, simple cocktails and balanced bitter-sweet flavor profiles that make for beautiful aperitifs or digestifs, the Negroni is delicious as-is, but for a richer version that will appeal to those who think they don’t like clear spirits, try this barrel-aged twist.

1 part Caledonia Spirits ‘Barr Hill, Tom Cat’ Gin
1 part Casa Mariol ‘Vermut Negre’
1 part Contratto ‘Bitter
Orange twist, for garnish

Stir or shake all three ingredients with ice, according to preference. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice, or a martini glass neat. Squeeze orange twist over the drink & rub the twist around the rim of the glass, then drop it in for garnish and enjoy!


3. Principe de los Apostoles ‘Mate’ Gin
Conceived of and designed by Tato Giovannoni, the most influential and exciting mixologist in Buenos Aires, this gin is truly unlike any I’d ever tasted before—I’m not sure I’d even guess it was gin if I tasted it blind, as the unique botanical profile of yerba mate, pink grapefruit, and peppermint (in addition, of course, to juniper) make for a completely different experience than what you normally think of with a gin. It’s minty, rich, and somehow almost chocolate-y, and should probably be looked at as a unique ingredient when it comes to cocktails, rather than just dumping it into a glass with tonic water.

The cocktail: The Southside
This delicious and under-appreciated cocktail is like a cross between a gimlet & a mojito—and it’s citrusy, minty flavors are a perfect match with the unique ‘Mate’ Gin!

2 oz Principe de los Apostoles ‘Mate’ Gin
1 oz lime juice
¾ oz simple syrup
1 sprig mint
1 fresh mint leaf, for garnish

Combine gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and mint sprig in a shaker over ice. Shake until shaker is cold and perspiring to the touch, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Rub the additional mint leaf between your fingers to release its oils, then float it on top of the cocktail for garnish. Enjoy!


I hope you’ll enjoy experimenting with these refreshing cocktails all summer long—they’re cooling, calming, and incredibly delicious, and each of these three ‘modern’ gins offers a completely different take on the spirit. If you think all gin has to taste like rubbing alcohol and Pine-Sol, think again! Add a bottle to your bar and start mixing up some amazing cocktails!



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Casa Mariol - 'Vermut Negre' NV (1000)
Casa Mariol - 'Vermut Negre' (1L)

Beautifully balanced and delicately sweet. Perfect in a Negroni, Manhattan, Americano, or on its own. Superb value!

Our price  $29.99
Contratto Bitter NV (1000)
Contratto Bitter (1L)

Contratto is one of the oldest historic producers of wines and aperitivos in Italy, and still makes them traditionally and organically. A more traditional, natural alternative to larger producers of bitter aperitivos. Perfect... Read More

Our price  $29.99
Giffard - Crème de Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur NV (750)
Giffard - Crème de Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur (750ml)
Fruit liqueur made from pink grapefruit and grapefruit natural extracts (essential oils).
Our price  $29.99
Principe de los Apostoles - Mate Gin NV (750)
Principe de los Apostoles - Mate Gin (750ml)

A distinctly New World take on a classic Old World spirit. Citrusy, bright, fresh, herbaceous, and surpisingly earthy, with hints of fresh mint. Delicious and unique!

Our price  $34.99
All sizes are 750mL unless otherwise noted.
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