19 February 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #31 – 3 Howls Old Fashioned Gin

The first curiosity that I had to overcome was to understand where the name came from. From their website, I go to know that this goes back to a Scottish folklore of a red-eyed giant wild hound (looks like a wolf) that used to howl three times before taking souls to the underworld. A similar creature is there in Irish folklore as well as some Welsh folklore. All these consider the monster as a harbinger of death.

Beyond that, the website really does not have much helpful details on the details of the gin – including the botanicals used, the iterations of distillation and all that. They do not even spell out the base alcohol but do make some tall claims about how good their products are. The gin is made in Seattle, USA (and not Scotland as you might have thought by now).

It being a very young distillery (a little over four years old) and me never have taken a liking towards American Style Gin (3 Howls position itself between London Dry and American style), my expectations were very low. Also the fact that none of the other gin reviewers I knew had ever reviewed this prepared me to expect very little.

That said – or maybe because of the low expectations – I did not find the gin to be too bad. The nose is mostly citrusy. However, it is in the palate that you notice the distinction first. It fills in the mouth very quickly. There are the citrus notes and the juniper that make their presence felt almost immediately. But more than that, there is a certain bite to it. I almost want to suggest a faint hint of spiciness (peppery might be a better description). The finish was long and very rich with the junipers.

I liked the “on the rocks” version far more than I liked the G&T. In the G&T, I felt the tonic clashed too much with the biting of the gin in the mouth.

Overall, I would say this is a good gin. Not the most memorable. But at least it got me to start respecting American style gins a little.

I will try with cocktails and report back how it goes.

4 February 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Death’s Door Rouge Martini

A Rouge Martini is a rather simple cocktail made from gin and Chambord liqueur. I used the Death’s Door Gin today. Like I was surmising yesterday, the simplicity of the gin made it pretty good for a cocktail. The raspberry was not drowned by the junipers or other botanicals. I might increase the gin to liqueur ratio next time (I used 2:1 this time) to let the raspberries be a little more understated. Overall though, for a wet and cold evening, getting ready for the Super Bowl, it was a great drink.

I am sure the experts must be wondering how does the blackberry fit into the scheme of the gin or Chambord. Well, it does not. Ideally, the right garnish would be a raspberry (or a string of raspberries with blackberries). I could swear I had some raspberries in the kitchen. Evidently not. Ergo, just blackberries 🙂 Not sure it did anything to enhance or take away from the nose of the drink but it had a good visual effect, all the same!

3 February 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #30 – Death’s Door

For such a dramatic name, the distiller’s website is fairly frank about this gin being very simple. In fact, other than the mandatory junipers, the only two other botanicals are coriander and fennel seeds. The distillers claim that you can taste all the botanicals – well that is because there are only 3 of them.

The base alcohol is more interesting though – it is made from winter wheat, corn and barley!

The distillery was established in 2006 in Washington Island in way up north Wisconsin.

For a simple gin, it is surprisingly good. While I will not claim to be an absolutely great gin but it is mild and soft enough to make it a go-to gin especially with tonic water. I tried it two days in succession and I liked it on second day more than first day. And because of that softness and not being too forward in anything, I suspect it will make a good gin for cocktails.

The juniper is predominant in the nose and I was surprised by the citrusy palate (suspect the corianders). The finish was fairly uneventful other than the remnants of the juniper.

28 January 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Ungava Vesper

People who have read the Ian Fleming’s 1953 classic “Casino Royale” or have seen the 2006 Bond movie would recognize this double agent’s name (Vesper Lynd) for whom 007 was going to give up his career; however she died… but the recipe was made famous in the movie… “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel”. Translated to Rajib’s bar who is still experimenting with the Canadian Ungava gin, that would be gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc in those proportions…

21 January 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Melon Gin

In case you are wondering, this is NOT my second cocktail of the evening. The Lychee Love is something I had made in the middle of the week and forgot to post. This is the cocktail I made for this evening – Melon Gin. It primarily accentuates ginger and melon together with gin. It has Ungava gin, muddle ginger bits, Midori melon liqueur and ginger ale.

Refreshing but a little on the stiffer side…