New American Craft Gins
There are some exciting newcomers on the gin shelf behind the bar. We have been big supporters of the new American craft-distilling movement since we opened, featuring gins from Aviation, No. 209, Sarticious and Junipero next to the more traditional London Drys. The past few months though, have brought a new crop deserving some attention as well.
First up is North Shore from Chicago. We met the couple behind these bottles, Sonja and Derek Kassenbaum, a few years before they were in this market. They came to town for a spirits tasting and had dinner at the bar afterwards. We had a good time hosting them and they reciprocated by dropping off a box of samples on their way to the airport the next day. Those bottles didn't last too long but now we have almost their full line, with 3 gins (the American style #6, the classic London dry #11 and a limited release ginfusion) as well as an absinthe. Their flagship spirit, the Distiller's No. 6 gin is definitely its parents' child. Sonja is gregarious, disarming and funny, which you can taste immediately in the gin. It smiles at you and wants to play. Derek is reserved, quite and thoughtful (we love you man, but you are quiet,) which is the sturdy back-bone and cleanness of the spirit. Sonja was also very kind in including us in their yearly limited release infusion, letting us have 6 of the 500 bottles of Mole Poblano Gin. Muy complicado.
Also from the Midwest, Death's Door brings us a gin and un-aged white whiskey. Quite literally the Spirit of Washington Island, Wisconsin, these bottles hold the distillation of both the place and the people of the island. We have had Leah Caplan, the Chef who worked on the flavor end of the gin, and Brian Ellison, the business manager, in the restaurant and the passion they both hold for their island and its people is beautiful. Each cocktail we make with these bottles supports the family farmers, the ferrymen and Innkeepers of the island in a very direct way, our small community clearly touching another with the same values. Very exciting.
Coming from London, Beefeater has a new expression called '24'. This bottle is the brainchild of Desmond Payne, the former master distiller at Plymouth (another of our favorites) who moved to Beefeater a few years ago. 24 is the standard Beefeater recipe with the addition of grapefruit peel, Japanese sencha and Chinese black tea. The bottle and launching campaign are fairly produced which usually makes me very wary of a new product. In this case however, I am quite happy to report that the gin is tremendous. Our good friend Jacques Bezhuidenhout brought both Desmond and Sean Harrison, his successor at Plymouth, in for dinner a few weeks ago and our newest barman Yanni had some gin-spinning good times with them at the bar. It is inspiring to have two members of the elite English distillers' community sitting next to each other, sharing in ours.
Posted June 9, 2009 • Filed under Spirits
Photo by Neyah White
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Bar Manager, nopa
Neyah White… a man with a spoon. A spoon and a dream.
He is the former Bar Manager of nopa, now working with Suntory Whiskys.
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