8 April 2018

One of the better Perky Goths!!!

A great advantages of going to the same watering hole every Sunday with Sharmila after dinner is that you get to know the folks who work at the bar intimately. Over the years you get to know their background, their aspirations and their difficulties. We have seen some deal with a lot of challenges in life. Frankly, I have always thought that I and my family live an advantaged life and have only a modicum of understanding of how most Americans lead their lives. These folks at the bar with their life stories have kept me grounded on the struggles of many young men and women. Driving back from the bar, many a time I have remarked to Sharmila that we live a blessed life and we need to do something for the younger generation.

On the other hand, we have also shared with these folks some of their most joyous moments. We have seen some of them get engaged, get married and some of them move on to great careers. Over the years we have missed them – Joe, Alexis, Michael…. and so many more – but have been glad that they got some great breaks in life.

The other mundane upside of getting to know everybody at the bar, of course, is that I can ask them to make any drink I want. Real example…

“Can you make me a Perky Goth?”
“What is that?”, would have been a legitimate and somewhat expected response. Not too many people would know a Perky Goth – certainly not in the cocktail form.
And that is what precisely Caroline asked – who was rather startled with my request – right in the middle of giving us an update on her son and daughter.
“Gin, Ginger Liqueur, Absinthe, Blood Orange Bitters and Simple Syrup”

She was rather happy with the output once she was done carefully making it. It actually tastes pretty good – if you have not tried it out, I would recommend it. She also had the portions perfect.

It was good enough that I wanted to keep the moment for posterity with a picture of the drink and the creator!!

8 April 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Green House Negroni

Following up with my last two write ups on the Green House gin – unique gin but felt can’t go well with most cocktails. The citrusy one I tried – Lime Rickey – did not work well. Tried one where the gin does not have to carry most of the character – a Negroni. And this one turned out to be far better. Of course the palate and the nose of Campari and somewhat that of the Sweet Vermouth took the dominance out of the Gin.

5 April 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Gin #35: Green House Gin

You probably would not expect much from distilleries in Texas. Although there is that Tito’s vodka from Austin that is definitely top notch. This gin, while not in the same class as a Hendricks or Malfy has enough uniqueness that makes it worth a try. First, I tried it thinking it would be one more of the so-called “hand crafted”, “artisan”, “small batch” etc etc gins. All the adjectives used to try to position the uniqueness. I expected it to be very juniper forward and not expect much more.

Quite to the contrary, the juniper is subdued. Unlike some other reviewers, I would not call this as a traditional gin. This is more in the American Style gin to me.

Now comes the frustrating part… there is a overwhelming aroma of something in this gin – which is very pronounced when you exhale – but for the life of me, I cannot pinpoint what it is. I do not think it is any of the berries (like the açaí berry in it) – it is definitely a mix of citrus (probe the Sicilian bergamot – something that I have never had in my life) and something else – more flowery. Kind of like lavender but less pronounced.

I had Sharmila try it – who is far better in pin pointing the components than me, but between us, we are still struggling. If any one of you can nail it, please let me know.

You definitely want to have the first one neat. Take in small sips and let it sit on your tongue for a while. The nose has that flowery aroma that I talked about. But as you let the gin sit on your tongue and breathe in and out for the first time, it breaks down into a very rich mixture of that citrusy-flowery smell. You can quickly smell the juniper right after it. On the palate, it has a buttery feel to it. The length is very long and sweet.

I am still not sure how this will go in a cocktail or even with tonic water. I have a feeling the character of the gin might get totally killed with some of the stronger components. I will try it and see how it comes out.

From the distiller’s notes, the following are some of the botanicals – but not the complete list, they insist:  juniper berries, cardamom, coriander, Sicilian bergamot, lemon, lime, orange, açai berry, and cucumber.

30 March 2018

From the bartender’s corner – The Greenhat Gimlet

It is probably still not proper season to make Gimlets – but what the heck?, the sun has been out for a few hours here in Milton. This very old cocktail (some of the early mentions of this drink goes back to 1920s) has somewhat of a contested view on the origin of the name. The more common one was that this was named after Surgeon General Sir Thomas Gimlette who is said to have added lime cordial to the daily ration of gin for the British shipmen to fight scurvy that used to afflict many a sailor on long voyages.

Greenhat Gin, fresh lime juice and some simple syrup.

28 March 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #34 – Green Hat Gin

This gin bottle came to me as a gift from a friend – Julio – who lives in the DC area. Unsurprisingly, he chose a local distillery. I finally got around to opening the bottle last night for Sharmila and myself.

The name Greenhat is pretty interesting. Once you read the history, it is even more intriguing. I researched their website to understand the reason behind the naming. Apparently, there was a gentleman – George Cassiday – who had come back from the first world war and then built a business to supply alcohol to the House representatives in DC. In case you have not figured this out – this was during Prohibition and it was these same representatives who had voted Prohibition into a law!! The story goes that he was eventually caught by the Feds inside the govt premises where he had set up his shop. But he simply moved his “shop” to where the Senators were and continued with his business. He was nabbed later again by the Feds but never did any time after 10 years of a very profitable business! Eventually, he wrote a tell-all expose in Washington Post.

Well, this gentleman was called the “Man in a Green Hat” – since his distinguishing characteristic was that he always wore a green hat (fedora style)!

That was the inspiration behind the name of the gin. A gin made in the New Columbia Distillery started by a brother and sister and their respective spouses in the DC area.

In terms of content, the base alcohol is made from winter wheat. The botanicals – other than the standard juniper are pine, fennel seeds, coriander, ruby red grapefruit, sage, pepper and cassia. The distillation process is done in a copper still (remember the picture I had posted from a visit to the distillery in Oregon which bills itself as the first woman-run distillery? – the still look almost identical). The infusion happens through the vapor process which is reasonably standard.

In terms of the gin itself, the nose is pretty strong in pine and juniper. Some of the reviews talk about strong citrus in the nose but frankly, I could get only a faint hint. Either I have not figured out how to discern citruses more strongly or my nose reacts to pine and juniper more strongly than for others. On that note, one reviewer suggested that the citrus is so much stronger than the juniper, it cannot be called a London Dry. I felt after the first glass that the pine and juniper were the stronger components and therefore this was far more London Dry than American Style.

The palate was a little more biting (in the sense of sharp spiciness) than I was expecting and the finish was pretty middle of the road with nothing other than the remaining traces of juniper making it any the more unique.

While this would go quite well in a few cocktails, I liked it enough that I would suggest having it neat or with a good tonic.

17 March 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #33 – New World Gin

I was gifted this bottle about a year back by a friend in Florida. Folks outside of USA might not be aware that St. Augustine in Florida is the oldest city in this country. Its roots go back to the very early 1500s. This gin is actually made in that city.

One more of those small batch distilleries that seem to be sprouting up all over the country, this one too has focused on the American Style Gins (and not the London Dry style) and the stress on local botanicals. To add a twist to it (perhaps as a throw back to the old habits of many centuries back), the distillery advertises how their botanicals are not ground by machine but by hand. The distillery is situated in an old power and ice building that is over a hundred years old.

Coming to the gin itself, as I mentioned, this is American Style – so the focus on juniper is less. Once I opened the bottle earlier this week, out of of sheer habit I held the bottle to my nose. I was not sure whether to expect anything from a Florida gin. (The week before the Georgia gin was not something to write home about). But I was pleasantly surprised by the floral aroma and the lemony nose that came right after that. I believe the base is cane. The botanicals (and this is not an exhaustive list) includes juniper, cassia bark, angelica, lemon and orange (my guess is peels although from the research I could not find out the details), coriander and cinnamon.

As mentioned, the nose is very smooth with the floral and citrus notes. The palate is distinctly citrusy – a mix of both the zingy lemony side as well as the softer orange-y part followed by the junipers. The finish is not very long but you can feel the traces of the spicy elements (coriander, for example).

Overall, I would give this a thumbs up. I had it neat the first evening and then with tonic water the next. I have not made any cocktails yet with it but intend to fix that problem this week 🙂

5 March 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #32 – Old Fourth Distillery gin

This one is a local one. Made right here in East Atlanta. I have not visited their distillery but I want to. The distillery was opened by five friends in 2014. The first product was vodka. Gin came later. So, the gin production cannot be more than 2 or 3 years.

The most interesting aspect of the gin is the base. Remember how I had featured a Colombian Gin that used sugarcane as the base (instead of corn and all that). Well, this one uses cane sugar sourced from an organic provider in Louisiana.

There are nine herbs and botanicals including juniper. At least some of them are vapor infused – like the pink peppermint. The other botanicals include grapefruit, lemon & orange Peel, cardamom, angelica root and coriander

The nose is that of a typical gin – juniper forward. The palate is mostly citrusy and the faint traces of coriander is decipherable in the end. The finish was short and rather abrupt.

This gin might go better in cocktails rather than with tonic water.