Chief Distiller Andy McLain does not sound like he grew up in the United Kingdom. His accent is unmistakably from “can’t put your finger on it” Middle America. Andy’s dream of bringing the deep-seated spirits culture he grew up with across the pond is imbued into every aspect of the Royal Foundry Craft Spirits distillery, its brand, and its cocktail room (recipes are represented in metric, bless them). Growing up, Andy’s Dad did not regale him sports patter; rather, father-son lessons were soaked with the finer points of brewing, malts, and what made a good drink. After Andy moved to Minnesota, he sought to continue the tradition with the good people of Minneapolis, bringing “British flavour” to the Twin Cities.
This gin would be excellent sipped with an ice cube and a lemon peel expressed over the top. With its heavy lemon notes, it goes very well with anything peppery or lemony. I tried it neat, on ice, and in a gin and tonic with a few pink peppercorns. Though many may argue such a product doesn’t exist, Wonderbird is a great sipping gin. For this one, keep presentation simple, as too many added layers will veil the delicate layering of the base botanicals.
I am Whiskeyfellow. I am not Ginfellow, and despite the fact that, at the time of this review, there are two hilarious videos of me drinking Malort, I am most definitely not Malortfellow. I review whiskey, it is what I know, it is what I enjoy, and it is my niche. However, there’s this whole damned #DrinkCurious lifestyle that I’ve honestly embraced.
Before I even pour Treaty Oak’s Waterloo Antique Gin in my glass, I’m going to be perfectly transparent. I don’t just dislike gin, I hate it. Gin was my dad’s drink. He loved Gibson martinis, straight up, with a hint of vermouth. My hating gin has nothing to do with my father, I’m just saying this because I’ve been around gin much of my life. I’ve tried many gins from many distillers and I’m going on record stating that I have never found one that I like. To me, they all taste like grabbing a Christmas tree branch and brushing my teeth with it.
To me, summer is gin season. There is nothing like a tall, ice-cold gin and tonic on a hot, humid day. The botanicals bring a brightness to the palate that provide just as much of a cooling sensation as the ice. With summer weather just around the corner (and for many of us it’s already arrived), here’s my suggestion on how to drink curious this gin season.
I am very much a gin enthusiast, with multiple selections in my bunker. I sampled the Loch & Union in a Glen Cairn glass neat, with a drop of water and with ice. I prefer it full strength since the lightness of flavor comes out best on its own. I also tried it in a martini (made properly as below). I enjoyed it and recommend a twist over an olive to enhance the citrus notes.
Genever? That’s not the brand name, that’s the actual spirit itself. Now I know, what is this doing in the Gin reviews? Well, Genever is basically the ancestor to all the Gin we know and love today. Still, however, it is not technically Gin. Genever is a spirit made from at least 50% malt wine and the remainder comes from neutral spirits with blends of botanicals mixed in, including, you guessed it, juniper. The malt wine is a combination of wheat, corn and rye that is triple distilled in copper pot stills, much the same way you would start a whisky. Only it will get fermented a few days longer, giving it a more funky and distinct flavor.
Old Bakery Gin grew out of an argument. When Ian Puddick bought a mothballed bakery in 2012, he intended to convert the premises into an office for his plumbing business. A 60-foot-tall brick chimney was attached to the building, so, out of a concern for safety, he had it removed. In 2014, this upset one of his neighbours, who claimed the chimney belonged to him! While gathering evidence to support his actions, Ian discovered that the legitimate bakery had been distilling and selling gin illegally! It seems that fermenting the flour and producing gin was more profitable than producing baked goods. By 2016 the dispute was settled and after various meetings with the surviving family members of Miss M’s bakery, Ian had the illicit recipe! As a person who likes a challenge and a true Brit, he decided to give it a go.
Let me just get this out in the open: I like gin. Like, really like gin. I come from a long line of Tanqueray drinkers. I love gin so much I named my Dungeons & Dragons character “Juniper.” I’ve endured so many jokes about drinking pine trees that I can roast myself better than you can, and frankly, someone has to go for the unloved, underappreciated member of the spirits family.
Primarily I drink gin-and-tonics, especially during the muggy hot Indiana summers, but on occasion I run into a gin that stands fine alone, without the aid of a mixer. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in St George Terroir Gin.
It should not be a surprise that I am primarily a bourbon guy, while I do enjoy gin on occasion. In fact, I was drinking gin before I started on bourbon. So began my tale of heading down the rabbit hole of craft gin. And to paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, if you don’t care where you are going, then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
My preference in gin is fairly routine, London dry gin and almost always in the form of a martini. To quote Bobby Finan, Partner and co- founder with Sean Insalaco of Tommyrotter, their gin is “a far cry from London dry”. The experience with Tommyrotter was quite an eye opener and one that I must admit took some time.