Barrel to Bottle: Local Gins

Longtime listener and first-time guest Greg 2.0 joins the Barrel to Bottle Crew. Greg is a category manager at Binny’s and around the office he’s sometimes known as Good Greg or The Greg We Like.

When we asked him what topic he would want to cover on the podcast, he immediately jumped on the chance to share his passion about gin. Particularly local gins in the Modern American style. What does that mean? Generally, gins are juniper forward and dry, in the London Dry style. The Modern American style tends to be more citrusy with more interesting, experimental botanicals.

We’re going to sample five gins today on their own, then mixed with tonic water. After that we’ll determine which gins would work best in classic gin cocktails like the Negroni and Martinez.

The first gin on the docket today is Finn’s Gin from Chicago Distilling. This will be the most traditional gin of the day, although Roger objects to the use of the word “traditional” since it’s not very juniper forward.

Gin number two today is FEW Breakfast Gin, which has tea in it. You might not know this, but Roger is a big tea guy. It’s a different take on gin with the tea, but it still has juniper and citrus in it. It’s very floral though, so Roger is a fan. It’s a mild gin though, so it might get drowned out in a more complicated cocktail. It might work best in a Gin & Tonic.

North Shore Gin no. 6 is a traditional London Dry style. Just because North Shore has a number 6 and number 11, doesn’t mean they have 11 different gins. It just means they rejected some recipes, which you like to see. It means they made something and then didn’t like it and moved on. Breweries should try doing the same thing instead of releasing every integer. If Roger had to sum it up, he’d say it was floral, like those old timey violet candies that only he knows about.

Maplewood Spruce Gin is a newer gin that’s finally getting into most of our locations. This one pays more homage to Maplewood’s brewing chops, as the base comes from barley spirit fermented with ale yeast. It’s not a hazy gin though. It does have Rooibos Tea, although it’s not real tea and Roger doesn’t care for it.

Letherbee Gin is Greg 2.0’s house gin. The label is boring, but it has a lot of interesting botanicals in it. It’s spicy and savory and reminds original Greg of the spices he puts in his chili.

That’s five gins, now it’s time to mix some cocktails. For the first cocktail, Greg 2.0 mixed up the FEW Breakfast Gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Dolin Sweet Vermouth and Regan’s Bitters for a Martinez. Roger has put together a Negroni with Maplewood Spruce Gin, Dolin Sweet Vermouth and Gran Classico by Tempest Fugit. It’s very bitter.

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