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Give me your favorites and tell me why, please. What should I try next?

Of course I don't drink a single drop of gin, as I restrict myself to the real thing called genever (either old or new/"young" style). Most genevers made by traditional distilleries are worth trying…

I tend to spend more time studying old distillation texts so I'm definitely partial to your take on things.

 

Small excerpt on Geneva.

 

For anyone interested, there's a section I can share from my 18th Century edition of La Distillation Reduite en Principes. that discusses Geniévre.

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I'm thinking of making some orange bitters. From what I've read (unlike Absinthe) it can be made by simply macerating bitter orange peel in everclear, then removing the bitter orange peel and boiling it in water. Strain out the peel, chill the water and add it back in with the everclear.

 

Note quite. While a decent start, a proper "bitters" is going to be more complex then that.

 

You can find a simplified recipe for Orange Bitters on my site. This comes from the Charles Baker "Gentleman's Companion" book, and is pretty much an entry level recipe.

 

Gary Regan started with this recipe and then modified it several times to arrive at the version that he then submitted to the folks at Sazerac to make as a commercial product. Unfortunately ihs original submitted recipe wasn't "non-potable" enough, so they had to mung it up some more, while still a good product, I don't feel it is nearly as good as it originally was.

 

If you subscribe to the American "Imbibe" magazine (I differentiate since the UK has one too), then in the previous issue they printed my recipe for what I call "House Bitters", which is a bit more complex, but still fairly user friendly.

 

-Robert

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For anyone interested, there's a section I can share from my 18th Century edition of La Distillation Reduite en Principes. that discusses Geniévre.

Thanks Grim. I'm definitely interested. Please share.

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Very interested, as well, Grim.

 

Thanks for posting the .bmp, it was quite interesting, and written in quite a jaunty voice.

 

Mmmm... Turpentine!

 

And we accuse modern distillers of cutting corners!

 

And I know I'm always looking out for "contracting an ill smell" myself.

 

I also found it interesting that it sez the Dutch use French Brandy as a base for Geneva instead of Malt Spirit.

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So much to say here - and too much to quote.

 

I'll just start here: Normally Drinkboy and I agree on most basic cocktail postulates. I utterly diverge from his talk of master distillers changing recipes on vintage brands - most specifically those of gin. While it may have happened in the commercial business of this spirit, swapped over the years as all valued brands have been, the very people DB cited distain all that. Desmond, a dear friend, has made quite clear that he makes decisions picking the herb crops suited to the recipe, he views his job as accurately conveying to us the gin formula of James Burrough. I believe that. Maybe not so much with bitters, where certain mainstays of their composition have found themselves skewered for and by terribly unheathly effects.

 

I believe the honorable and serious gin distillers stick adamantly to the recipes that made them great.

 

New recipes occur and always have. We'll see, as long as we live, how many make the cut the classic brands we still have - have done. Miller's is good, Hendricks is wonderful. I alway come back to Beefeater, original Tanqueray, and Plymouth as seriously-produced London Dry Gins. They correctly follow a profile, but within that profile, there is much freedom, much individual character.

 

Le Gimp, you are a beloved and wonderful contributor but your manner of constructing orange bitters is akin to soaking wormwood and anise in vodka and calling it absinthe. DB is correct; correctly made, it deserves the same level of respect as absinthe.

 

Overproof gins: DB is again right. The best gins are underproof. It's entirely about the flavor. The English master distillers look at the higher proof versions as an American affectation (Navy rum notwithstanding.)

Actually "overproof" means over 100 proof. In this case what I think conversely he is trying to say is that the traditional recipe strength tends to be lower than the strength demanded by Americans.

 

Citadelle: I hate it. Same as T10, same as Rangpur and for similar reasons.

 

Bitters in a Martini: DB corners himself in a certain era when he speaks of orange bitters in a Martini. For as many years, Angostura would have been well accepted.

 

Genever: Yes, of course - I love this stuff too - especially the thing we have that is most like the ORIGINAL genever: korenwyn, especially the Bols Corenwyn. They are really two different spirits, though...not the same thing at all. We can appreciate both as different entities.

 

There it is; my take. Welcome back, Grim.

 

--Doc.

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DrCocktail, Just to clarify, for my edification, I believe most gins in the US are between 42-45% alcohol, which is slightly higher than "normal" spirits.

 

You aren't talking about those as overproof, are you?

 

I believe it is true that in England and Europe many gins and vodkas are marketed at the lowest possible ABV by law, 37.5%. You're not saying that these versions are better than the traditional strengths?

 

Beyond the Miller's Westbourne Strength, and Plymouth Navy, what "overproof" gins are there?

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Bols

Just stop it...

They are really two differnet spirits, though...not the same thing at all. We can appreciate both as different entities.

Exactly. Genever is not some "Dutch style" gin.

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From what I can gather from their website, the various herbs and spices are individually distilled to create essences, and then the essences used to flavor the neutral spirits.

 

I'm surprised to discover it uses a wheat based alcohol. I had thought it was based on grape neutral spirits.

 

In any case, I find I tend to prefer gins where all the botanicals go "in the soup" and then the whole is distilled, rather than other methods. To me, that method, combined with a distiller who knows what he (or she) is doing, results in the best flavor.

~Erik

Thanks, Erik! :cheers:

As I mentioned, I'm new at gin. I hadn't considered gin as an oil mix. And thanks too for the Aviation!

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Actually "overproof" means over 100 proof.

Yes. I guess I didn't make my point very well.

 

I could be wrong; but, as far as I know, there aren't any true "overproof" gins on the US market. Miller's Westbourne Strength (45.2%) and Anchor's Junipero (49%) are the closest we get. I haven't tried the Miller's WS; but, I enjoy Junipero.

 

There are some overproof gins on the market in the UK, Plymouth Navy among them. As far as I can tell, many people use these to make sloe gin and the like, not necessarily for drinking.

 

Just looking for further clarification from DrinkBoy and DrCocktail.

 

edit - got the proof of Junipero wrong.

Edited by ejellest

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I'll just start here: Normally Drinkboy and I agree on most basic cocktail postulates. I utterly diverge from his talk of master distillers changing recipes on vintage brands

Don't worry Doc, I think we still agree here. I'm not saying that a change of master distillers can/does mean a change in recipe, but that even following "the" recipe, different master distillers will result in slight, and perhaps imperceptable, changes in the product. The goal of course is to keep the product the same from year to year, decade to decade. But change does occur, it has no choice. Desmond follows "the" Beefeater recipe, but he also brings his own special abilities of selecting better and better products to use in it's production.

 

-Robert

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DrCocktail, Just to clarify, for my edification, I believe most gins in the US are between 42-45% alcohol, which is slightly higher than "normal" spirits.

 

You aren't talking about those as overproof, are you?

 

I believe it is true that in England and Europe many gins and vodkas are marketed at the lowest possible ABV by law, 37.5%. You're not saying that these versions are better than the traditional strengths?

 

Beyond the Miller's Westbourne Strength, and Plymouth Navy, what "overproof" gins are there?

 

 

Erik, Navy Gin notwithstanding, for some gins - like Beefeater - the traditional strength IS the lower strength. Some 90 proof gins are only 90 proof for the American market. UK Beefeater is lower proof, traditionally, and Desmond says he thinks it's better that way. The American palette may disagree but that's how the guy who makes it sees it. So yeah, I'm saying I basically want to respect the distiller's choices - unless I just happen to sincerely hate the stuff!

 

--Doc.

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Robert, I respectfully think Desmond would disagree with you about making his gin better. You are right that every batch may well differ minutely, just as herb harvests will - which is why he selects his herbs 2 years in advance - as do all major gin producers. He holds over some of the last year's botanicals and combine them with the next batch up to stabilize any flavor differential - solera-like. If one year's crop is bad, he has backup, and it's always worked. He told me point blank that he believes Beefeater tastes the same now as it did at the turn of the 20th century. :thumbup:

 

--Doc.

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It seems like I'm always talking about the harshness of alcohol, so I probably should say something the other way.

 

The thing that I enjoy about Beefeater's, compared to other gins, and especially American made gins, is the smoothness of the spirit.

 

There are no detectable "off" alcohol smells in the nose, and no harshness in the throat.

 

It is a sophisticated, well made gin. Makes a great dry martini, and is a cooperative, suave mixer.

 

Unlike a lot of the modern gins, you can put it in just about any cocktail, and it will work.

 

~Erik

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For anyone interested, there's a section I can share from my 18th Century edition of La Distillation Reduite en Principes. that discusses Geniévre.

Thanks Grim. I'm definitely interested. Please share.

Very interested, as well, Grim.
Dito Grim.
I'll reproduce the text sometime this week and either PM it or post it here. Thanks, guys.

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A good friend of ours recently took a trip to the East Coast and before he left he made arrangements to see the Bluecoat distillery. They normally don't do tours but consented to have him visit. He learned why.....it is a one-man (kid!) operation! He does every step of the process. He was given a full tour and taste comparison and had nothing but good things to report. Here are a few of the pictures he shared with us:

 

More pictures of the tank and Robert Cassell, the master distiller, bottler, etc. of Bluecoat:

post-1192-1183920172.jpg

post-1192-1183920233.jpg

post-1192-1183920458_thumb.jpg

post-1192-1183920501_thumb.jpg

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The copper was hand hammered in Scotland and Robert assembled it himself. He tested and invented the recipe, corks every bottle and applies the sticker-label thingys. Truely hand crafted product.

 

We thank MTGrayling for the introduction to this very different and excellent Gin.

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Talk about a passion! Robert Cassel has created an outstanding gin. Now if we can only see similar endeavors on the absinthe front (U.S., I mean). Calling WS members?

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We thank MTGrayling for the introduction to this very different and excellent Gin.

 

And I thank you for the trip report and great photos! I love to see from whence my booze originates. I think Robert has a great career ahead of him and I thank him for such a distinct American gin.

 

I'm tickled to think that I have a bottle on the way as I type this.

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I'd be curious to know what it cost Robert Cassell to set up his distillery, get the necessary licenses, etc... and roll out his first bottles. Perhaps as importantly, the sales volume it takes to remain viable.

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We learned he had a couple of major investors and put a lot of $ in himself.......but having a good product helps too. He is expanding sales to other parts of the U.S. as success grows. May be selling in CA now. I don't know the other answers. Apparently he even first filled all bottles by hand with a funnel but has progressed to a machine now. All the rest is still by hand so far.

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