From the bartender’s corner: Gin #18: Barr Hill Gin
A very unique gin. And while I am not easy to use superlative words when it comes to any gin, this one absolutely ranks as Best in America for me. Unless there is some other American Gin that I have not tasted yet that might top this. And I have had quite a few …
First, just the uniqueness in its simplicity. While most gins vie with each other to compete with all sort of esoteric herbs and botanicals, this one simply has two that are added to the base that is made from corn. First is juniper of course – else it technically cannot be called gin. The other one – and this is really really unique – honey.
The honey is not actually put during the distillation – it is added after. And the distillation is done in a still directly heated by fire. Which is relatively uncommon. For efficiency purposes, steam heated stills are far more common today.
Did I mention this is made in Vermont? Hardwick, Vermont. Where a beekeeper (Todd Hardee) and a career distiller (Ryan Christiansen) put this idea together. Actually, it was Todd’s idea (who by then owned a lot of farm and beehives). He hired Ryan. And then many years later, Ryan bought out Todd. Todd simply bought more land with that and makes all the herbs and botanicals and corn today that go to make the alcohols in Ryan’s distillery.
Here is one kicker about this gin. You are not going to find a lot of consistency. In fact, bottle to bottle, the colors might be slightly different as well as the nose and the palette. You wonder why, right? Think about it – what is honey made of? The nectar that the bees collect from the flowers. And it all depends upon which flowers they collect it from. So, if you harvest the honey in summer, you will get very different floral nose than if you take a batch of gin that has honey harvested in fall or spring!!
In any case, because of the honey, the viscosity of this gin is very different than other gins and you will see a distinct white cloudy color to the gin when you put ice – or even tonic water to it.
That alone made it very cool and unique to me. If you have not tried this gin before, I would highly recommend it.