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.