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Gins
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Gins

The word “gin” derives from “genever,” the Dutch word for juniper and the original style of what we know today as gin. Gin is created by redistilling a neutral white spirit with herbs and botanicals, which must include juniper. Usually, the botanicals are added directly into the “mash” that is then distilled. Sometimes, however, as is the case with some of the most expensive gins in the world, the botanicals are hung in packs within the column still. As each level of distillation occurs, more and more flavors and aromas are added to the finished product.



Distiller's Gin No. 11 PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Gins

North Shore Distiller's Gin No. 11
North Shore Distillery
Lake Bluff, IL
90 proof


North Shore Distillery is owned and operated by husband and wife team Derek and Sonja Kassebaum. While Sonja is out spreading the gospel about their amazing spirits, Derek, as master distiller, spends most of his time with another woman: their still, Ethel. North Shore is becoming increasingly well-known for their extremely high-quality products, which include vodka, Sol (an incredible chamomile and citrus vodka), an absinthe, an aquavit, some limited-edition products and three—yes, three—gins: Distiller’s Gin No. 6, No. 11 and the new Mighty Gin (an overproof version of their No. 6, available only to bars and restaurants).

While their No. 6 gin seems to get most of the attention, we decided to focus on the No. 11. Created in the classic London Dry style (meaning more pronounced juniper), this is a gin-lovers’ gin. The aroma, beyond an obvious alcohol presence, contains distinct juniper and citrus notes. It has a beautifully rounded flavor of juniper, lime, cardamom and anise. No.11 leaves you with a lingering sweetness with an almost spearmint, cool finish. It is another masterpiece by North Shore!

northshoredistillery.com

 
Death’s Door Gin PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Gins

Death's Door Gin
Death's Door Spirits
Middleton, WI
94 proof


Death’s Door Spirits was founded by Brian Ellison, in part, as an effort to help sustain small- and medium-sized Wisconsin farms by purchasing their crops for use in his spirits. Virtually every ingredient in Death’s Door spirits is sourced locally in Wisconsin, usually from Washington Island. For years, Brian was the sole employee of Death’s Door (and is still one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met), trucking around the country hand-selling his then contract-distilled products. All his hard work seems to be paying off, as they recently signed a deal with Serralles (Don Q rum) for distribution partnership, helping to grow his brand nationally and furthering the cause of supporting small Wisconsin farms. This also helped to move Death’s Door from a contract-distilled product to having their own official distillery, currently under construction.

Death’s Door gin has long been a favorite among bartenders, partly due to its uniqueness and simplicity. Unlike most gins, Death’s Door uses only three (3) botanicals: juniper, fennel and coriander. This elegance allows each botanical to shine through and be identified by the nose and on the palate. The aroma is a canopy of fennel with rays of juniper shining through. Such is also the case on the taste, but rounded by the coriander which, when distilled, provides delicate floral notes. This gin finishes sweet, with light fennel that lingers a good long while.

deathsdoorspirits.com

 
Yahara Bay Extra Dry Gin PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Gins

Yahara Bay Extra Dry Gin
Yahara Bay Distillers
Madison, WI
80 proof


Distiller and founder Nick Quint came out of retirement to start Madison’s first distillery (and one of Wisconsin’s first) back in 2007. Today, he and his step-son Lars operate the distillery together, creating at least a dozen unique spirits and liqueurs! These products include vodka, gin (of course), both a white and an aged rum, Holtz’s Apple Crisp Liqueur, an apple brandy, a kirschwasser, a cocoa liqueur and more. Somehow, they also find the time to contract distill a few products for others.

Yahara Bay’s Extra Dry Gin is done in the London Dry style, meaning more juniper-forward. But rather than a “piney” juniper you can find in some London Dry gins, the juniper is delicate and beautiful—with an emphasis, perhaps, on the “berry” part of juniper berry. This characteristic is present in the aroma, along with some light citrus and pepper. The flavor has a full-bodied juniper berry presence, but it’s not overwhelming. Rather, it is balanced by citrus and light floral notes, as well some sweeter spice, like cardamom. This is a classic gin with great balance while staying true to the London Dry style. It would be excellent in most classic gin cocktails.

yaharabay.com

 
Midwest Gin PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Gins

45th Parallel Midwest Gin
45th Parallel Spirits
New Richmond, WI
80 proof


45th Parallel Spirits, owned and operated by Paul Werni, is currently Wisconsin’s only “grain to glass” distillery. While this currently only refers to their vodka, this means that the distillery sources the grain from a local farmer, produces a mash from that grain, ferments it into a “beer,” then distills it. Every step of the process is done in the distillery and absolutely no neutral grain spirits are purchased and used in the making of their vodka. This is pretty damn cool.

In addition to their vodka, they also produce Midwest Gin. Like every other distillery in Wisconsin, this gin does use some purchased neutral grain spirits. Still, it is an exceptional craft gin that shows what Paul and 45th Parallel can do with “flavored” spirits. The aroma of Midwest Gin is subtle citrus and floral (lavender?) with very faint black pepper, rosemary and juniper. The taste, also very light, is grassy and floral with only hints of juniper. This delicate gin would have a hard time holding up in many cocktails, but served on its own or with just a bit of seltzer or soda, it is very enjoyable. Of particular note, 45th Parallel will soon be releasing a gin under their 45th Parallel label (entirely grain to glass) that we’re extremely excited about!

45thparallelspirits.com/products

 
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